Swatch Gold & Pioneer Event Berne 2019

31-MAY to 02-JUN-2019, Berne, Switzerland

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" etc.

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.

After a few drinks and some small snacks, we had the first surprise activity of the event:  A visit to the new Swatch HQ in Biel.

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: 

  1. The new official Swatch museum called Planet Swatch at the new Cité Du Temps next to the new Swatch HQ
  2. The interior of Swatch HQ (how and where does a Swatch employee actually work? :-)
  3. ...and our group was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the new Swatch Drive-thru store with Nick Hayek himself...

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.

The next of our visit took us to the new official Swatch museum called Planet Swatch (Free admission until further notice!) at the new Cité Du Temps (this building will also host the new Omega Museum).  Planet Swatch is a collector's dream come true!  A HUGE floor, dedicated to Swatch watches only, with several thousand watches on display.  Below, you can get an impression of the watches shown in the museum:  From the first prototypes via the first collection to art specials, sport specials, collector specials and so on and so on.  Even the most rare watches such as Puff, Andrew Logan, Kiki Picasso etc.etc. are on display and you can touch most of them with your own hands....

I was told that the Swatch staff literally worked until the last minute before (pre-)opening the museum exclusively for the Gold & Pioneer Club members.  The official opening was one day later, so we were the first to visit the museum.

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.

Back to Stay tuned to Swatch.