There is no other city in the world that has lived the story of crafting and innovating timepieces as Geneva. With over 400 years of horology experience, the Swiss city positions itself on the international map as a hub for watch lovers whether it’s coming to learn the secrets of watchmaking, owning a masterpiece or to have a tour in a place where time is given in a thousand and one ways.
Thanks to Its impressive tradition in watchmaking it’s no surprise that Geneva hosts events which set the industry trends year after the other. The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) as held for the first time in Geneva in 1991 and has long been known as one of the biggest and most important trade shows in the luxury watch industry. For its 30th edition, happening from 25 till 29 of April 2020 SIHH will get a new format and name to become; Watches & Wonders Geneva. This massive exhibition will be divided to two different shows; The exclusive “Salon” which is the place for professionals, media and special guests, while the new for the public, “In the City” transforms the centre of Geneva into a week-long discovery of the many facets of watchmaking excellence.
Another annual watchmaking event is the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) which is intended to salute the excellence of worldwide horological production, and it annually rewards the finest creations and the most important operators in the watchmaking sector. The GPHG prizegiving ceremony held in November of each year at Grand Théâtre de Genève draws elite representatives of the international watchmaking profession.
Geneva’s DNA is mixed with watchmaking and the reflections can be seen clearly in very corner. Starting from the city’s symbol; the Jet d'Eau, which is a huge Fountain in the Geneva Lake and one of tallest in the world. The impressive attraction was created by accident in 1886 when a hydraulic factory, delivering water from the Rhône to the city's craftsmen and watchmakers, installed a safety valve designed to relieve excess pressure by letting water escape. The water rising up from the released pressure marked the start of the Jet d'Eau. Today, thousands of visitors come every day to this landmark to take pictures to immortalize the memory of visiting Geneva.
Another popular landmark in Geneva in connection to horology is the impressive Patek Philippe Museum, located in the heart of the Plainpalais district. The museum is home to the most prestigious creations of the brand’s master watchmakers, an extraordinary collection of watches, musical automata and enamel miniatures from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Tourists can pay a visit to the museum to discover over 500 years of watchmaking history and to wonder around the masterpieces while listening to the story behind each of them.
Watchmaking enthusiasts can opt for a private tour to immerse themselves in the rich history of this industry. The entire timeline is present in just a few streets in Geneva from the famous Flower Clock to less well-known but equally symbolic sites. The tour also offers plentiful window shopping along the famous Rue du Rhône, with its countless boutiques representing the world’s greatest watchmakers. Another lifetime experience is by joining a watchmaking workshops at Initium to discover the fascinating world of mechanical timepieces. Lessons in theory and practice from a master watchmaker help visitors pierce the mysteries of a mechanical movement. Screwdriver and tweezers in hand, geared with the knowledge from the workshop will help everyone experience the unique thrill of seeing the beating heart of the watch they assembled come to life.
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