James Bond, Kennedy and NASA: The Omega Adventure at the Museum
It is becoming more and more common for houses – whether watchmakers or not – to have their own museum. A setting dedicated to a brand story, especially when it closely follows major communities or historical moments. This is the case of Omega, which has invested in a large 900-meter building a few meters away from its headquarters in Biel (Switzerland).2 given to the cry. In the year Inaugurated in 2019 – the museum has been around since 1983 but has been completely renovated – this building with its large bay windows invites curiosity and takes place in the City of Time designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban (where there is a special museum for Swatch, christened “Planet Swatch”).
“We welcome many schools from the area.”, we are told in the introduction. There is no doubt that children and adults will appreciate this immersive tour, which begins by diving into a large black and round box, which, once the doors are closed, turns into a huge 360 degree cinema screen. An audio and visual experience that transports the viewer into the fascinating history of the time scale. From clepsydras to sun dials, from the discoveries of explorers to the Egyptians, the passage of time is divided there.
Then there are many displays that describe the history of the house from 1848 until today. The first diver’s watch designed by professional divers in 1932, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s “Slimline” watch – which was given to him by a friend in 1960 and bought by the brand during a sale – has several digs. Tender – or certificate issued by NASA in 1965 “Speedmaster” guarantees reliability during space travel.
In the form of the Olympics
The history of Omega is linked to the history of the Olympic Games. Since 1932, the brand has been the official timekeeper of events, both summer and winter editions. For the Tokyo Games in 2021, the teams went there with about 450 tons of equipment. To demonstrate the scale of this movement, a 9 meter long athletics track will be run in the museum. So we learn that the timing of the champions is taken from the starting blocks, sensors designed by Omega and calculating false starts. The same principle applies to swimming pools.
Finally, it is impossible not to examine the relationship between Omega and the most famous British spy, James Bond. The last part of the museum Since 1995, it has been modeled on various models worn by 007 on screen, in the form of Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig. We’ve been delighted to see film adaptations that often serve as gadgets in their own right, with timelines hiding lasers, explosives or grappling hooks on their screens. Proving, if necessary, that luxury watches continue to fuel the fantasy machine like never before.