Swatch Museum Opens

The world’s first museum dedicated entirely to Swatch watches opened in March in Cesano Maderno, a town just north of Milan, Italy. The production and marketing of the plastic fashion quartz watches revolutionized watchmaking and the Swiss watch industry in the 1980s.

The “World Museum,” as it is called, is the brainchild of architect Fiorenzo Barindelli, who has collected some 4,000 Swatches in the past 20 years and has long wanted a forum in which to present the Swatch watch story. His watches include virtually every important model produced by Swatch, including the first men’s and women’s Swatches, the Chrono, the metal Irony, and more recent models such as the Square, Turnover, and Nabab. His collection has been cited for five consecutive years in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest such collection in the world.

The opening exhibit featured 1,000 Swatch watches selected by a “scientific international committee” composed of collectors, experts, and Barindelli’s friends. The watches will be periodically changed, and theme-oriented shows also will be presented at the museum.

The World Museum is administered by the municipality of Cesano Maderno, to whom Barindelli plans to donate the collection in return for permanent exhibition space in the 17th-century building that houses the municipality’s offices.