Swatch Brussels Destination Watch Launch Event, 10-MAR-2016, Brussels, Belgium

Swatch Brussels Destination Watch Launch Event

10-MAR-2016, Brussels, Belgium

Swatch Club invited 20 Gold & Pioneer members from the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium(?) for a day with chocolate, beer and food in Brussels.  The reason was the presentation of the new Club watch Silverscape and the launch of Ketje From Brussels, the new Brussels Destination watch, the first in a series of Destination city watches.

We met for lunch at the nice restaurant Madame Chapeau in the Stalingrad area in the city center of Brussels.

After a nice lunch, we met our tour guide from Brussels Walking Tours for a Brussels Walking Tour and a Chocolate Workshop.  He had lots of entertaining stories to tell. 

Eglise Notre Dame Du Bon Secours next to the restaurant

After a short walk, we started with the chocolate workshop.  Everything was already prepared for us, the chocolate was heated up to 35°C.

So we first started to produce our own cookies with chocolate decoration and some additional almonds, sesame, marzipan, ...

Run out of space?

Afterwards, we learned about the secrets of chocolate manufacturing, essentially, a lot of time is required for slow cooling of the chocolate.

As it was a workshop, it was time to produce some hand manufactured chocolates.  Ellen showed some experience and did an excellent job.

The final result, produced by another group on the day before

The workshop took about one hour and it was a lot of fun (and we could take some chocolates home :-)  Afterwards, it was time for the city tour.

Beautiful view from the Mont des Arts

The Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in the in the former Old England department store,
a beautiful building in the art nouveau style

Oops, wrong city!

The walking tour finished with three highlights:  We visited three of the best chocolatiers / pastry chefs in Brussel.  We started at Pierre Marcolini.

Next stop at Frederic Blondeel who is specialized in roasting cacoa beans with the Santos Palace Coffee Roaster, a device from his grandfather and dating back to 1953.

We tasted the colorful pralinés, yummy!

Brussels has a lot of comic paintings on the walls, very nice!

A quick stop at the world famous Manneken Pis.

Photo by Swatch

Crossing the Grand-Place

The last stop on the chocolate tour was at Mary in the famous Rue RoyaleMary Delluc was one of the first and few female chocolatiers and in 1942, she was awarded the title of Certified Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium for the first time.  Apparently, the King liked her chocolates a lot as he travelled along the Rue Royale every day.

No trip to Brussels is complete without a tasting of beer from Belgium.  We went to the very nice Théâtre Royal de Toone, a traditional puppet theater and a typical café.  We tried three different kind of beers, two trappist and a Kriek, a cherry(!) beer.

Slightly drunk on the way to the Swatch store for the launch, we passed Jeanneke Pis, the female counterpart of Manneke Pis.

Shortly before 7pm, we arrived at the freshly renovated Swatch store, located in a historical building near the Grand-Place. 

Carlo Giordanetti (Creative Director of Swatch) was already present in the store and gave a short introduction about the Brussels Destination watch and the new Club watch.  He was accompanied by the french artist  Damien Paul Gal who had prepared a special surprise for the Gold & Pioneer members:  Each one of us received a special artwork, a small statue of Manneken Pis beautifully painted and sprayed with lots of colors.

Damien Paul Gal

Half an hour later, it was time to unveil Ketje From Brussels (SUOZ712), the first in a series of Destination Swatch watches with Paris, Milano, London, New York, and Hong Kong to follow. 

Carlo was proud of the watch and the fact that Swatch was allowed to use the Mannken Pis silhouette on the dial.  The colors on the dial change on a daily basis and once a week, the colors of the flag of Belgium are visible.

Tux visits Manneken Pis

In addition to Ketje From Brussels, 40 pieces of the limited version (Stargaze) were on sale for the invited collectors and the Gold & Pioneer members.

During the evening, Damien Paul Gal painted and sprayed another large Manneken Pis.  Looks funny!

Thanks a lot to everyone from Swatch Club for a beautiful and very interesting day in Brussels.  It was well worth the trip!  Lots of new impressions from Brussels, and a some yummy chocolate was taken back home!  Hope to see you all again soon!

Andreas Wiethoff, 14-MAR-2016.

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