In late spring 2019, the traditional Swatch
Gold & Pioneer Event took place in the capital of Switzerland, the
beautiful city of Berne. 104 Club Members (thereof ~75 Gold &
Pioneer members) from 16 countries received a subscription confirmation
(nobody cancelled, a first!). They arrived on Friday (31-MAY) at
around noon at the superb ***** Hotel Schweizerhof
in the heart of the city, next to the train station. So again, it
was like a big family reunion. Lots of hugs, smiles, "Hello Again"
A huge salon had been prepared for the check-in and the welcome desk.
Viktoria Bays (head of Swatch Club International) held a short welcome speech and presented the theme of the event, together with Adele and Alexandra from the Club International: The four seasons.
And as an even much bigger surprise, Swatch boss Nick Hayek said "Hello" to all arriving club members, patiently shaking hands with everybody. He even found time for a little small talk here and there.
Say "Hello" to one of the youngest club members!
Nick Hayek held a short speech and he
introduced us to the new spectacular Swatch HQ building (designed by Shigaru
Ban from Japan), constructed with a lot of Swiss
wood. It took about five years to complete the building, a
little bit longer than expected.
Afterwards, three groups of about 35 club members each went out to explore three different sections of the area:
Nick Hayek took some time to explore all the little details: How to order, how to pay, and how to actually get your specially packaged Swatch... Thanks a lot for the explanations and the store was quite busy afterwards as you can see below.
I think that the two ladies were never part of the official first collection (these are protos!)
Zaugg prototype from 1981
Some of the "holy grail" watches:
how low can you go? (they also had Lookseasy #001/999!)
The third part and the next highlight of our visit was the new Swatch HQ itself. We got a nice impression of the workplace of the Swatch employees.
In the cafeteria area, the Baselworld 2013 Swatch vitrines have found a new home:
Each meeting room has a nice name :-)
Some special items on the shelf...
Some prototype artwork for Sexy Thing :-)
After the three groups had completed their tours, it was time for a drink in the entrance lobby of Swatch HQ.
Finally, Viktoria presented the Gold & Pioneer special 2019: The New Gent special Happy Nessie (SUOZ310S), released in a limited and numbered edition of 200 pcs. The name of the watch is the inofficial name of the new Swatch HQ building. And the special packaging resembles the wooden construction of the building very well. Even better: Some real wood used for the construction of the Swatch HQ is contained in the loop of the watch!
After every participant had received a watch, we drove back with the buses to Berne.
Click here to read part 2 ("Winter Welcome Dinner at Schweizerhof") of my Berne Gold & Pioneer Event report.