Some of us like to collect watches and some of us just enjoy looking at the marvels we can’t own. If you’re a fan of watches and want to know more about the history of watchmaking then there can be no better idea but to visit a watch museum.
Let’s have a look at five of the best watch museums around the world:
1. The National Watch and Clock Museum
- Location: 514 Poplar St, Columbia, PA 17512, United States
- Timing: Opens 10 AM – 5 PM
- Tickets: $9 per adult, $5 for children between 5-16 years of age, and $23 for a family.
- Website: http://www.museumoftime.org/
Operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, it is one of the few museums in the US solely dedicated to horology. You will get to know about the science, art, and history of timekeeping.
It’s one of the most comprehensive and reliable clock resources in the country consisting of multiple levels housing more than 12,000 timepieces belonging to different eras.
The museum started in 1977 with only a few American clocks and watches but today you will find clocks from around the world including France, the Netherlands, Germany, and even Asia. Get to see the first non-mechanical devices and today’s robust watches.
There’s also a “Learning Center” for visitors who want to know more about the art of watchmaking.
2. Patek Philippe Museum
- Location: Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
- Timing: 2 PM – 6 PM
- Tickets: CHF 10 per adult, CHF 7 for seniors, students, and disabled, children under the age of 18 get free access
- Website: https://www.patek.com/en/company/patek-philippe-museum
Patek Philippe is one of the most popular names in luxury watches. It offers a unique experience and their museum is no different.
Philippe Stern’s love for watchmaking resulted in the opening of the museum in 2001. Known as a Temple to Watchmaking, it houses more than five centuries of watchmaking history divided into two collections.
You will find almost all Patek Philippe models here built since 1839. Other than this, there are also antiques from the 16th century and later.
The museum has over 2,000 exhibits and a library that contains more than 8,000 publications on time. Visitors can choose to enjoy private or public guided tours, available in multiple languages.
3. The Clockmaker’s Museum
- Location: Exhibition Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2DD, United Kingdom
- Timing: 10 AM – 5:30 PM
- Tickets: Free
- Website: http://www.clockmakers.org
Said to be the oldest clock museum in the world, this English beauty opened in 1814 and offers an amazing experience. Most items here belong to the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and include not just clocks and watches but other horology items as well.
You will find some antiques too, the majority belonging to c. 1600 to c.1850. The museum is also famous for its original notes of clockmakers like John Harrison and Victor Kullberg. The museum was earlier located at Guildhall but shifted to the Science Museum in 2015. Entrance is free.
4. The German Clock Museum
- Location: Robert-Gerwig-Platz 1, 78120 Furtwangen im Schwarzwald, Germany
- Timing: 10 AM – 5 PM / 9 AM – 6 PM (see website for details)
- Tickets: EUR 6
- Website: https://www.deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de/en/museum.html
The German Clock Museum is located in the heart of a watch making region and offers a unique collection of over 8,000 timepieces. One of its most amazing pieces is an extensive collection of 150-year-old Black Forest Clocks.
The museum gives visitors a chance to know more about the history of watchmaking in the region. Other than this, it has some amazing international collections as well including the collection of Mr. Hellmut Kienzle in 1975.
Make sure to check out the cuckoo clock and read the history of clocks here. The museum is rich in resources and there are also free tours every day.
5. The Seiko Museum
- Location: 3 Chome-9-7 Higashimukōjima, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 131-0032, Japan
- Timing: 10 AM – 3 PM
- Tickets: Free
- Website: https://museum.seiko.co.jp/
This museum can be a great choice if you want to have a fun and educational trip with your children. It’s colorful and has friendly staff to tell you more about the history of watches, specifically Seiko watches.
The museum opened in 1981 to celebrate the 100 years of the company that started in Japan. It consists of two floors and contains international watches including watches from the USA and Europe.
You can also choose to tour the museum using an iPad that offers commentary, videos, and photos of the exhibits on display.
The second floor is dedicated to historical Japanese watches with a huge section on Kintaro Hattori, the man behind the rise of the brand.
These are some of the best watch museums around the world. If you want to know about a specific brand, then you can also visit a museum dedicated to it as a lot of brands have their own museums, just like Patek and Seiko shown above.
For example, the Audemars Piguet Museum in Switzerland can be a good choice if you want to know more about AP watches. However, it is a private museum and you must book visits in advance.
Similarly, Uhrenmuseum Beyer in Zurich can be a good choice if you want to know about watches in general and have a look at some of the best collections in the world.
Visited a great watch museum that’s missing here? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Prices and timings are subject to change and the museums may be closed on national holidays.
Vintage Watch Inc
Dennis is the founder and editor of Vintage Watch Inc. Passionate about Soviet and Japanese vintage timepieces and a finance professional by day, he proudly wears a Seiko Pogue with his suit.