The Omega Museum in Biel reopened on May 3, following several months of renovation. Originally opened in January, 1984, the museum is the oldest dedicated to a single watch brand. Located just opposite Omega’s headquarters in Biel, it features items representing the brand’s entire history, from Louis Brandt’s 160-year-old watchmaker’s bench to the Olympics, moon landings, James Bond, and beyond.
Omega president Stephen Urquhart likened the period of renovation to an archaeological dig. “Not only did we renovate the whole museum but we also restored many of the period features of this listed building. The project gave us a chance to review our entire collection. Some of the objects displayed are being presented to the public for the first time, including things which we didn’t even know were hidden in the archives.”
Displays vividly recreate Omega’s history, presenting the brand’s most important stories. Visitors can examine equipment Omega developed and used in its role as official Olympic timekeeper, dating back to 1932. The brand is also closely associated with NASA and the manned space program – Omega Speedmasters were worn on all six lunar landings. The exhibit highlighting the role of the Speedmaster in space features four watches worn on or near the moon.
One of the museum’s new sections is dedicated to prototypes – watches developed by OMEGA but, for various reasons, never introduced into commercial production.
Visitors can also view Omega timepieces owned by prominent figures in history, including the wristwatch worn by author/adventurer/spy T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), the watch worn by John F. Kennedy at his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States, and a pocket watch used by Albert Einstein, whose work is closely identified with time.
The museum is open Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. except on pubic holidays. Entrance is free of charge and guided visits are available in English, French and German. Additional information is available at the museum’s official website.
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