The buses took us to Biel, a ride of about
40 minutes. The Omega Museum (to be more
precise: the canteen next to the museum) was already prepared for
After the inscription, it was time for a
first glass of wine and some conversation...
A few minutes later, Ms. Emch (president
of Swatch) entered the stage and gave a nice welcome speech (she had
just flown in from Asia). She announced that a new head of Swatch
The Club will be appointed soon. Another topic was the
announcement of the auction of the famous Blum collection in November
in Hong Kong (together with the xmas event of Swatch The Club, more
details are discussed here).
a maxi of an Omega watch!
it was very warm inside! So, time for a glass of wine on the terrace outside
The final highlight of the evening was the
lucky draw for the numbers in the traditional Swatch Kiosk the day
after. Each Gold / Pioneer member had to wear a mask and to pick
a number behind the white curtain...
The next morning, we had to get up very
early in order to drive to Grenchen, one of the bigger production towns
of Swatch in Switzerland. We met at the ETA
main building where a huge tent had been erected so that we had a nice
place to stay during the day. We were divided into nine different
groups (so about 15 people in each group).
Each group had three main activities
during the day:
entrance for the "final assembly" of the G&P watch
waiting for Godot?
Unfortunately, I cannot give too much
details about each activity: I forgot to take pictures in the
Kiosk, and we were not allowed to take pictures inside of the ETA
buildings and ETA plants. And we cannot talk about the details of
the G&P watch, all I can say right now is: We received a
unique swatch. It is a limited
edition of 200 pcs, numbered, and the first watch of a completely new
product line to be launched later this year. So a "teaser
picture" has to be enough for now. The final assembly of the
watch was done by ourselves, this includes the final check, inserting
the battery, affixing the strap etc. etc.
This is the Gold & Pioneer 2011 special:
There are several (about 8) different
production sites in and near Grenchen and we visited fist "plant
05". In this building, the following production takes place:
During the dial production, we also
received a very nice special dial
affixed on a very nice sheet
remembering the visit. Only 150 dials were produced.
And later, we visited "plant 08" where the cases of the Irony watches are produced. The details of the Irony production are also very interesting. Did you know that a mixture of metal and plastic is injected into a metal form (which consists of several hundred parts and costs about $100.000 USD)? The result of the injection still contains plastic and is about 30% bigger than the final metal case. Later, the workpiece is sintered (the plastic goes away) and every metal case is polished afterwards. For the matt Irony cases, the polished metal case is matted again...
The visits to both production plants was
Due to the fact that each group was very small (10-15 people), we could
see many details and watch the production from nearby. Extra
special thanks to the ETA staff and to Swatch for making this possible!!
Finally, everybody was a little
...but we quickly recovered...
In the evening, we had a nice dinner at
restaurant in Bern, with a super nice view of the old town of Bern:
Great food, a nice evening!
to read part 2 ("Race Day") of my GP2011 event report.
Back to Stay tuned to Swatch.