From Swatch Intern to Chief Design Officer at On: Interview with Thilo Alex Brunner

When I first came across On shoes, over a decade ago, I was living in Senegal and visiting the Silicon Valley for work. I was immediately struck by the unique futuristic yet comforting looks. I...
There’s a striking contrast between the cold, hard metals stocked by the thousands across infinite rows of the L. Klein SA’s high-ceiling warehouse and the warm welcome, cozy atmosphere and gentle tone of the Schiess...
I already have enough impostor syndrome as a “tech industry” worker trying to blog about watchmaking, I’m not going to start to pretend like I'm now also a film critic. That said, the 25 minute...
I don't know if anyone paid attention, but there was one small change in the criteria for watches eligible to be nominated between the first election last year and this year. In 2022, I stated...
Maybe it's because I used to want to go into politics (before I got a taste of it), but I get really excited about this election. I love looking at the votes coming in,...
As the city’s Vice-Chancellor, Julien Steiner has among his prerogatives Bienne’s image as a place to live. Considering how radically the perception of Bienne has evolved over the years, and the role of watchmaking in...
As I explained in the previous “episode”, the day spent at the Manufacture Hermès was so rich that a single article could not do justice. One of the reasons is that there are in fact...
The first 70 articles I wrote for this blog are all about watchmaking. And I expect pretty much the next 70 to be as well. But sometimes, it’s nice to make a little exception. Especially...
Last year, for the first edition of the Bienne Watch of the Year, we ended up electing the MoonSwatch. It was actually a super close battle among the 4 finalists, themselves chosen among 16 nominees....
I generally learn a lot when I get to interview people for this blog. In some cases, I learn even more than usual, and this conversation with Paul Bernard is definitely all the way up...
When you first visit Bienne, some watch brands are impossible to miss. They are so to speak “in your face”, and that is a great part of the city’s charm. But it’s at least as...
As you may know if you've been here before, I love buying pre-owned watches. The variety, the serendipity, and the story behind each piece are a lot more magical to me than a thick carpet,...
While my sister Jeanne is a photographer, I really know very little, actually close to nothing, about photography. The pictures I take for this blog hopefully get the job done most of the time, but...
As of Wednesday October 4th, the streets of Bienne will feel like a giant art gallery. Covering a lovely path from the train station to the old town, the Arty Show is back, for its...
The Swatch HQ boutique in Bienne is officially a Drive-Thru. You can come with your car, order via an intercom and collect your watch at the window a few meters away without leaving your seat....
While Marc Montagne has become a close friend over the years, I am first and foremost a fan of his (although please don't tell him). We met in 2015 after I reached out as a...
After having fully embraced and waited in line for the original MoonSwatch release, I thought I was done. Too much hype, too many people wanting and wearing it with whom I just didn't relate when...
Bingo! Unsurprisingly, the powerful trade organization that regulates Swiss Made-ness and preserves the interests of its member brands across the globe is located right here in Bienne, a 2 minute walk from the train station. The...
There is a lot more to Bienne than "just" Omega and Rolex. But there is no denying that, when it comes to the brands that animate passionate discussions among watch enthusiasts around the world, those...
Made in Bienne stemmed from a mix of candid enthusiasm and a sense of injustice. Injustice because when you talk to watch people around the globe, how many will answer Bienne, or Biel, when asked...
What do Martin Luther King, JFK, the Dalai Lama, Meryl Streep and Neil Armstrong have in common? They notoriously spent some of the most important moments in their life with a watch made in Bienne...
Friendly, relaxed and fun are usually not words associated with a luxury watch retail environment. Yet, they immediately come to mind whenever I step into the Omega headquarters boutique in Bienne. Don't get me wrong:...
Earlier this year, I published an ebook about watch collecting (paper version coming in a few months). While watch-related books are not uncommon, the particularity here is that it’s fiction. The novel is about a...
When walking in front of Jacques Tissot, on Bienne’s pedestrian Rue de Nidau, you could think for a moment you are strolling down the Champs-Elysées or 5th Avenue. The store front is always immaculate, with...
Almost exactly one year ago, Swatch and Omega, both owned by Bienne-based Swatch Group, took the industry by storm with the launch of the MoonSwatch: a variant of the Omega Speedmaster made by Swatch with...
Being the capital of Swiss watchmaking is a title that a few cities can legitimately claim. Geneva, of course, including its suburb Plan-les-Ouates, is home to Rolex and Patek Philippe, the hard-to-dispute champions in their...
25 years ago today, Charles-Louis Muri opened his magnificent vintage watch and clock boutique, in the Bienne Old Town. 15 years before that, he had started his trade on the same street, Rue Basse, just...
As Swatch's 40th birthday was approaching, I started to think of what to do on this blog. I knew I had to do something. I almost felt pressured to, with people asking me what I...
I usually don't write watch reviews on this blog for a number of reasons. The main one is that Made in Bienne is first and foremost about what's "behind the watch": the people, the places,...
When writing a new blog post, I always try to look for a catchy title. Not clickbait, of course, but something that briefly summarizes why, in my humble opinion, it’s worth taking a few minutes...
Every time I think I’ve just about seen it all in the world of Bienne watchmaking, someone proves me wrong. Miguel Bolea did just that. He is the founder of DYW Bespoke. DYW stands for...
I generally take two weeks off at the end of the year to recharge and do a bit of thinking. It's a good opportunity to look back with some pause, and reflect. I try to...
1969 and the Moon landing aside, 2022 may be the greatest year the Omega Speedmaster has ever known. The iconic chronograph saw its classic '57 collection revamped, broke horological boundaries with the Chrono Chime and...
I wanted to get in a second episode of Bienne Gems in time for the holiday season. Of course, I realize a mechanical watch is typically not what most people get under the tree. For...
In Switzerland, Biel/Bienne is known for its diversity. A German and French bilingual town, within commute distance to Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Bern, it hosts people from all across the country. Walking down the...
So here we are. A few months after having announced the first Bienne Watch of the Year election, and later received nominations from...
“Charlotte’s” quickly became my go-to bakery in Bienne when it opened 2 years ago. And while the fantastic St Honorés and pear tarts are the reasons I keep coming back, I must confess I was...
I know, it sounds odd: Rolex is renowned for doing just about everything in-house. Yet, the brand with the crown only acquired the company that makes all its movements in 2004. This post, itself based on...
Julien Vallon likes to fly under the radar. But those who know Swiss watchmaking circles are well aware of his role as one of its important players. Like both sides of the Moon, but without...
There's one thing I personally don't like about the world of watches. It's when watches are about everything but actual watchmaking: watches as status, watches as an asset class, watches as an accessory part of...
Bienne Gems is a new series on this blog, starting today. The aim is to share some neat findings I stumble upon across the city's various vintage and second hand watch shops. As you can...
Thomas Funder is based in Zurich. As such, his watches can’t be said to be “made in Bienne”. However, the reason I was so keen to interview him for this blog is that, as a...
Today, the link between traditional watchmaking and collectable coins reaches a new, unprecedented level: Swissmint is launching "Timemachine", a gold coin celebrating the Swiss watchmaking tradition. With a face value of ...
Like most watch fans, I love Speedmasters. While I only ever own a few watches at a time (compulsive minimalist tendencies), the Speedy is the only reference that I've simultaneously possessed in different variations. And...
One thing Rolex is famous for, and rightly so, is the precision of its watches. Anyone who has owned a contemporary (and in many cases also a vintage) one can attest to how reliable the...
You may have already stumbled upon the Artworth Brothers on Instagram. The 3 young men from Bienne have a following equivalent to 4 times the population of our city! Their content is always very suave,...
So here we are. Days in Switzerland are getting shorter, cooler and more wet. With the steaming summer we've had, this can actually feel like a good thing. As we move into the more "serious"...
Full disclosure: Dario is one of my best friends. But aside from all the reasons why I think he's such a great human being, he's an amazing watchmaker. How else could he have imposed himself...
When I started getting into watches, and realized the passion was turning into an obsession, I wanted to learn more. Not just to manage my own tendencies, but also out of deep curiosity for the...
A new series showcasing the relationship people have with what Bienne does best: their everyday watch. Episode One. Nesat Demirovski is as «made in Bienne» as it gets...
Earlier this month, I asked on Instagram if folks preferred a post about cool unknown Bienne watch facts, or one about what makes Bienne...  Earlier this month, I asked on Instagram...
It's not easy for a watch brand to stand out in Bienne. Unique in so many ways, Armin Strom remarkably manages to do so. Combining the...  It's not easy for a watch brand to stand...
I moved to Bienne 4 years ago, for reasons unrelated to watchmaking. I work in Zurich, for a "tech" company, and Bienne was the closest...  I moved to Bienne 4 years ago, for...
Guest Post - For the first time on MIB, a post not written by yours truly, but by a guest author, conveniently also called Alex. Alex is no stranger to this blog, having already been...
Erich Fehr has been the mayor of Bienne since 2011. Bienne, Biel in German, is a city of 55,000 people and the largest bilingual city in Switzerland. As you know if you are reading this...
A few months ago, like many watch enthusiasts do every week, I posted a photo of an Omega Speedmaster on Instagram with the...  A few months ago, like many watch enthusiasts do every week,...
Meeting and interviewing Jan Edöcs, CEO of Doxa Watches, was special in two ways. First, he heads a brand that is among the true legends...  Meeting and interviewing Jan Edöcs, CEO of Doxa Watches...
3 months ago, Villiger, the historical Rolex authorized dealer in Bienne, stopped distributing the brand. Why exactly this relationship...  3 months ago, Villiger, the historical Rolex authorized...
When one thinks of watch brand museums in Bienne, Omega and Swatch inevitably come to mind. Both companies have considerably invested in...  When one thinks of watch brand museums in Bienne...
Watches are very much about provenance. Where a timepiece was made is a key part of its history, its quality and, well, its value. Many...  Watches are very much about provenance...
Update: target reached 10 days before the campaign closing, thank you to all the donors! While 2,000 CHF is obviously a modest amount at the scale of the needs, I was very pleased that we...
Alex lives in Paris. He and his wife are the proud parents of four daughters. Alex is also a watch person. In particular, he has a thing for Speedmasters, as his Instagram account clearly shows,...
After posting about this on Instagram today, and some of the feedback I received, I thought it would be worth going a bit deeper on the topic than what I could write as a caption. The...
10 days have now passed since the MoonSwatch was introduced to the world. I don't think anyone expected the frenzy the as made in Bienne as it gets collaboration would trigger. The waiting lines on...
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing quite a few watch companies from the inside. But visiting Horage's research and production facility in Bienne was a pretty unique experience. Something about their mindset...
An unprecedented measure is set to take place as of the beginning of the next school year in Bienne: starting Monday, August 15 2022, all children of age 6 and above will be required to...
Both the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and Swatch have made history in their own right over the past decades. Yesterday, in arguably the most anticipated and crowd-moving launch the watch industry has ever know, they...
Founded just 15 years ago, Horage is one of the most recent Bienne watch companies. While it doesn't have the household recognition of our flagship brands such as OMEGA, Rolex and Swatch, it is getting...
When one thinks Bienne and OMEGA, images of the large facilities by the Suze river come to mind. Combining historical buildings and recent additions by the famous Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, they are among the...
Time seems to slow down with each step from the city traffic on Bienne’s rue de Boujean to the majestic Villa Renfer. Facing the Suze...
All watch aficionados know of the Accutron, a revolutionary movement introduced to the public by New York's Bulova Watch Company in 1960. The charming hum of its tuning fork came with unprecedented precision for a...
On a sunny Friday morning in February, Raynald Aeschlimann, the President and CEO of Omega, opened his office to Made in Bienne. After a few moments on the terrace, where he gave an improvised masterclass...
For the third episode of the “Bienne Makers”series, we have the privilege of being hosted at the headquarters of Hamilton International by Vivian Stauffer, the company’s CEO. He first joined the Swatch Group in 2002,...
To anyone who follows the world of watch collecting, it's no secret that Rolex supply is nowhere close to meeting the ever-increasing global demand for its watches. Will a drastic expansion of its Bienne facility,...
For the second episode of the “Bienne Makers” series, we'll be spending some time on the fascinating bridge between architecture and watchmaking with the globally renowned architecture author Philip Jodidio...
Répétition Minute is a fantastic podcast about watches hosted by Marc Montagne, a leading voice in the online watch world, in particular in French, the language of the show (and of most Swiss watchmakers!). RM's 52nd...
"Bienne Makers” is a new series of interviews with those who contribute to the town’s unique position in the world of watchmaking. To kick it off, a very special guest: Robert-Jan Broer, founder of leading...
Today, all Rolex movements are produced at the company's large, highly impressive facility in the outskirts of Bienne. Over one hundred years ago, the very first movements used for Rolex watches were also produced in...
If you're enough into watches to be reading this, you most likely already know the deep ties between Omega and NASA, in particular when it comes to the Moon. This has been very much documented,...