Zytglogge, Clock Tower, on Kramgasse street in Bern, Switzerland

Masters of Time: A Watchmaker’s Tour of Switzerland and Germany

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Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited

Germany, Switzerland

Places Visited

Montreux, Neuchâtel, Bern, Basel...

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Suggested Duration

9 Days

The Swiss are masters of time, establishing themselves as the world’s greatest timekeepers. Luxury watch craftsmen spend weeks, if not months, handcrafting the meticulous mechanisms. The hands of a luxury mechanical watch smoothly tick with nearly silent motion, a perfect blend of the traditional and the timeless. Tinker with an open watch to reassemble the pieces. Admire the chiseled woodwork of an artisan cuckoo clockmaker and listen to the call of the world’s largest cuckoo clock. Uncover the...

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Step inside the world famous tower of Bern’s astronomical clock that inspired Albert Einstein to develop his theory of relativity
  • Experience the Haute Horlogerie workshop and reassemble watches under the guidance of expert clockmakers
  • Relish the artistry of Franck Muller designs that balances contemporary style and time honored heritage of watchmaking at the flagship boutique
  • Inspect the collection of nearly 250 watches displaying elegant, timeless style in the Museum of the International Watch Company
  • Tour the famous Audemars Piguet Museum in Le Brassus and closely observe the focus needed to craft a luxury watch by artisans
  • Delve into the heartland of the Cuckoo Clock in Germany’s Black Forest where the clocks are still handcrafted the same manner since its introduction
  • Visit the world’s largest Cuckoo Clock and listen to its captivating call as it comes to life every 30 minutes
  • Indulge in a hands-on artisan Swiss chocolate experience and taste the layers of flavor and variety of textures
  • Relish luxurious accommodations, private transfers, and exclusive guided tours across Switzerland and Germany

Detailed Description

The fashionable world of luxury watches has a long and prestigious history in Switzerland. Your personalized tour of Switzerland and Germany’s Black Forest provides you with personal introductions to the extravagant styles and intricate mechanics of Switzerland’s best watchmakers including Franck Muller, Lionel Meylan, and the International Watch Company. Your journey through time focuses on the brilliant and often hidden complexities watchmakers face when designing new styles, from the face to the band. Every detail is deliberately selected, from visible gears to the size of the watch hands. The delicate balance of engineering and art culminates in a work that simultaneously pays homage to the heritage of watchmaking while appealing to contemporary aesthetics.

Your timeless exploration of Switzerland and the Black Forest begins with your arrival in Geneva. The cosmopolitan destination embodies Switzerland’s ability to balance the past with the present with multiple international headquarters juxtaposed with the historic architecture of Old Town. The city also hosts a variety of Franck Muller boutique shops within the borders shared with the lakeshore of France and a narrow strip of land leading deeper into Switzerland. The private workshop of Lionel Meylan celebrates the intersection of design and engineering while paying special attention to how an artisan watchmaker can innovate while paying tribute to their heritage.

The town of La Chaux-de-Fonds reflects the important effect the clock-making industry has had on the town since its inception, from the design of the streets connecting to the former warehouses and factories to the continued traditions of Switzerland’s oldest watchmaking trade school. The different applications of watchmaking take place inside the town, the school, and at the Corum Haute Horlogerie workshop and museum, which offers you an exclusive look at the production of extravagant watches. The capital city of Bern boasts history dating back to a Roman settlement and a city center shining with preserved medieval architecture. A guided tour of the city explores the fascinating artwork in the construction, design, and conservation of the city as well as in the mechanics of the 16th-century clock tower, one of the oldest clocks in the country.

Next. you venture to Basel, which immerses you in a city known for celebrating clockwork, annually hosting the Baselworld International Watch Fair. Enjoy the guidance of a local art expert as she introduces you to the city’s treasures beyond the clocks and watches; celebrate Switzerland’s other famous export on a boutique artisan chocolate cooking course.

Switch gears as you proceed over the border from Switzerland to Germany’s Black Forest, the birthplace of the cuckoo clock. While exploring the beauty of the landscape and hidden charms of the historical towns along the Rhine River, you will meet with an artisan craftsman who produces hand-carved cuckoo clocks, each design and sound unique to the carving. Before leaving the Black Forest, you will sample the famous Black Forest Chocolate Chery Cake and listen to the sounds of the world’s largest cuckoo clock.

The IWC, International Watch Company has a factory in the town of Schaffhausen. Explore the museum and an optional factory tour to view over 200 different watches on display. Explore the cobblestone streets of the city and the medieval ambiance, as well as the thunderous waters of the Rhine Falls before arriving in Zurich. Switzerland’s largest city boasts the complexities of modern luxuries with unspoiled antique architecture. Art emanates from modern and historical designs shining along the streets and in the different museums across the city. Stained-glass windows by Chagall mirror the beauty of the windows designed by the German painter and photographer Sigmar Polke. Cafes fill the streets with the scent of chocolate or coffee and your fascinating trail around Switzerland’s timepieces reaches its end.

Starting Price

$4,090 per person (excluding international flights)

Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.

What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all activities and tours
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip

Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.

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