Gold & Pioneer Event Venice 2009

28-JUN to 1-JUL-2009, Venice, Italy

The traditional Swatch The Club Gold & Pioneer Event 2009 took place in Venice, Italy from 28-JUN to 1-JUL-2009.  The event was connected to the CreArt by Swatch artist collection launch event on 30-JUN on San Marco Square in Venice.  About 135 collectors from all around the world participated at the event.

On the evening of 28-JUN, we met at the pier of the NH Laguna Palace ****-hotel in Mestre, located in an industrial area opposite of Venice.  It was great to see all those familiar faces again, including a few that I had not seen for quite some time!

Paco arriving in style!

Surprise, surprise!

At 7pm, the welcome desk opened and the event passes were handed out to the collectors.  Each gold and pioneer member also received a little key (more about this later).

Afterwards, we had a nice dinner at the hotel.  During the dinner, Skander (head of Swatch The Club) introduced the new gold members to our group.  Eleven new gold members had been selected (out of approx. 250 applications!).  Unfortunately, only five gold members could make it to Venice.  Here is new gold member Pedro from Portugal with Antonio and Skander from the Club:

One new gold member even flew in from South Korea!  Among the six new gold members who were not in Venice were collectors from Brazil, South Africa, Italy, and other countries.

Later, Skander announced the procedure for the traditional Swatch kiosk:  A long rope with 99 little locks was affixed near a window.  Each collector had to pick 'his' lock with the little key that we had received before at the welcome desk.  Each lock carried a little number so we then knew our 'position' for the kiosk queue...

And finally, before dessert, it was time to unveil the new Gold & Pioneer Event 2009 special called Golden Groove (GZ206).  Enid from Swatch The Club explained the details to us:

As in the last years, it is a special and unique swatch.  This time, it is a black gent Golden Groove (GZ206) in a black plastic packaging with gold imprint.  On the back of the strap, the watch has an imprint "Gold & Pioneer Event 2009".  Production code is "922", so it was made in the last week of May, 2009!  The swatch is limited to only 200 pcs, numbered xxx/200 on the packaging.  Each watch and packaging is unique as little gold splatters were 'splashed' on the watch and packaging:

On monday morning, we left early for a looooong bus ride to (surprise!) Croatia.  This was a trip of about 240km, passing through three countries (Italy, Slovenia, Croatia).  So you ask:  Why on earth a bus trip to Crotia?  The reason was the Swatch kiosk:  Due to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) Directive, it is not possible any longer to sell older Swatch watches in the European Union (EU).  So Swatch had to bring both watches and collectors outside of the EU :-)

After about two hours or 150 km of our bus ride, we made a stop at the nice Castle of Duino.  This castle has a long and interesting history and is nowadays the private residence of the Princess della Torre e Tasso (von Thurn und Taxis).  Among others, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke lived there for several months.

queueing for a welcome drink

After enjoying the beautiful view, we got a small introduction by the Princess della Torre e Tasso:

Two more hours on the bus later (and some time waiting at the slovenian / croatian border), we arrived in Umeg, Croatia, at the Kabola winery which was reopened a few years ago by Marino Markežić.

Cold drinks, snacks and other refreshments were waiting for us while the gold & pioneer members entered the swatch kiosk during the afternoon.

Swatch kiosk

If you are curious about more details from the kiosk, you can check out a few pictures at

Lazing on a sunny afternoon... (we had a little rain later :-)

After the kiosk was over and all collectors needs were satisfied, the buses took us to the beautiful harbour of Novigrad.  We had a very nice dinner at the harbour restaurant. for something bigger and faster than Swatch?

After the dinner, the buses took us back to Venice (about four hours bus ride again), and we arrived at about 1:30am in the morning.  I am not sure if this long bus rides make sense (probably not), so I hope that next years Swatch kiosk will be closer to the event location.  That probably means that the G&P event will have to take place in Switzerland (ROHS...).  This would not be too bad in my opinion (and would save Swatch a lot of hassle transporting the watches etc.)

Click here to read part 2 ("Walking through Venice and CreArt press conference") of my Venice report.

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