Having always been fascinated by clockwork, on my recent trip to Zürich, I made certain to visit the Watch and Clock Museum Beyer Zürich
. The museum, located in the basement of the exclusive Beyer watch shop, has approximately 500 timepieces
, each more fascinating than the last. Some date back as far as 1400 B.C., while others are more modern -- and often quite strange. Ever tried to tell the time by checking which direction a couple of birds are facing (above right)? I hadn't before, but it's just the kind of thing I get excited about.
In the Watch and Clock Museum, you'll find rare and precious chronometry items like shadow sticks, intricate sundials, water clocks, oil-lamp clocks, grandfather clocks and marine navigation instruments. Some of the more fragile and complicated pieces which are too old to run all the time have adjacent video
screens showing their mechanical capabilities.
The basement museum itself is somewhat unceremonious, with only the historical Beyer pieces carefully lit and resting on velvet, but the staff was warm and welcoming, and they provided me with all the English information they had available. Unfortunately, it wasn't much, so brush up either your German or your horology history -- or book a guided tour in advance -- before your visit. Even if there's no time for that (no pun intended), fertile minds will be titillated by the complicated, creative and mysterious artifacts on display.
With no further ado, here are some of the most intriguing and delightful watches
The Watch and Clock Museum Beyer Zürich
is located just off Paradeplatz and open from Monday - Friday from 2pm - 6pm. Entry is free if you have a ZürichCARD
, otherwise there is a small fee.
My trip to Zürich was sponsored by Zürich Tourism and Switzerland Tourism, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are 100 percent my own.