Travel Guide: 7 Famous Watch Destinations Around the World

Planning your trips for the year? Consider adding these timepiece-focused destinations to your itinerary for a deep dive into horology's rich history
Travel Guide: 7 Famous Watch Destinations Around the World
June 27, 2024
Travel Guide: 7 Famous Watch Destinations Around the World

What a watch enthusiast feels in the presence of a finely crafted timepiece is probably similar to what an art lover feels upon coming across a masterpiece. For the discerning, watches are not merely machines that tell time, but they are also works of art that embody history, craftsmanship as well as innovation. And when a watch aficionado decides to travel, where better than some of the premier watch destinations across the world? These holiday spots will let you explore the rich heritage and technological innovations of horology. Check out this list of must-visit locations for every watch lover.

1. Geneva, Switzerland

Home to some of the most prestigious watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin, Geneva stands tall as a top watch destination. The city’s serene beauty and rich culture make it an ideal starting point for a horological pilgrimage. When you are there, make sure that you check out the Patek Philippe Museum, a testament to Geneva’s long-standing watchmaking tradition. The museum houses an extensive collection of timepieces, including antique watches and some rare pocket watches. While you are there, also check out the Flower Clock, a must-see landmark that symbolises Geneva’s connection to matchmaking. The outdoor flower clock located on the western side of Jardin Anglais park features floral arrangements that change according to the season. The Flower Clock is not only pretty, but it also tells the time with Swiss precision — the time you see is transmitted by satellite. Another place to check out is the FP Journe Le Restaurant which combines fine dining with horological themes. 

Patek Philippe Museum (Image credit:

2. La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

La Chaux-de-Fonds, often referred to as the Watch Valley, is known for its significant contributions to the watchmaking industry. The town's layout, designed to maximise daylight for watchmakers, reflects its deep-rooted connection to the craft. This successful symbiosis between urban development and the watchmaking industry has led to the city being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When here, check out the International Watch and Clock Museum, which features over 4,500 exhibits. This museum chronicles the history of timekeeping, from ancient sundials to modern wristwatches. Dedicated to the history of timekeeping, it also highlights the technical, artistic, social, and economic aspects of watchmaking through the ages. And to round off your stay in the watchmaking capital, we recommend a trip to the Le Garde Temps workshop, where a local watchmaker opens his doors to visitors. Under his expert guidance, you can put together your very own watch. 

International Clock Museum (Image credit:

3. Glashütte, Germany

Nestled in the Ore Mountains, Glashütte is synonymous with precision and quality. The town’s legacy of producing exceptional timepieces has earned it a revered status among watch connoisseurs. When you are here, tours across the Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Söhne manufacturing facilities are a must as they provide insight into the meticulous craftsmanship and innovative engineering behind German luxury watches. Another must-visit spot is the German Watch Museum Glashütte, which showcases the town’s rich watchmaking heritage and technological advancements. Don’t forget to visit the Glashütte Observatory to explore the crucial role that the historical observatory played in the development of precision timekeeping.

A. Lange & Söhne manufacturing facility (Image credit:

4. Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s watchmaking industry is known for its blend of traditional techniques and modern innovation. Tokyo, as a bustling metropolis, offers a unique perspective on the convergence of past and future in the world of horology. The Seiko Museum may interest you as it will let you discover the evolution of Seiko, a brand that revolutionised the watch industry with the introduction of quartz movements. The Shibuya and Ginza districts in Tokyo are home to flagship stores of major watch brands, offering a blend of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. Also check out the Nakano Broadway — a treasure trove for vintage and pre-owned watches.

The Seiko Museum (Image credit:

5. London, United Kingdom

London’s rich history and cultural diversity make it a vibrant destination for watch enthusiasts. The city’s blend of classic and contemporary styles is reflected in its horological offerings as well. The British Museum features an extensive collection of historical timepieces, including the iconic marine chronometers. There is also the Bremont Boutique and Service Centre where you can explore the craftsmanship behind one of Britain’s leading luxury watch brands. Besides, the Portobello Road Market is a haven for antique watch collectors.

Bremont Boutique (Image credit:

6. New York City, the USA

New York City’s dynamic energy and status as a global financial hub make it a prime destination for watch collectors and enthusiasts. The city offers a diverse array of timepieces, from luxury brands to unique vintage finds. For those who are keen to attend lectures and workshops to deepen your knowledge of watchmaking, there is the Horological Society of New York. Visitors can also explore flagship stores and boutiques of top watch brands at Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. While you are there, you can also participate in auctions featuring rare and collectible watches by Antiquorum Auctioneers.

Horological Society of New York (Image credit:

7. Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s strategic location and vibrant market make it a central hub for the watch industry in Asia. The city’s blend of Eastern and Western influences is reflected in its diverse horological landscape. If you time your visit right, the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is one of the largest trade fairs, showcasing a vast array of watches and components. Besides, Kowloon District is a bustling area with numerous shops offering a wide range of watches, from luxury brands to affordable options. Another main attraction is the Hong Kong Museum of History if you are keen to learn about the evolution of watchmaking in Asia. There is also the Breguet boutique located in the city's epicentre. It features a traditional guilloché machine and Breguet blue decor, offering a luxurious space to explore the brand's heritage and craftsmanship.

Breguet Boutique (Image credit:

If you are going on a trip around Asia, visit the AP House in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Breitling Cafe in Seoul, South Korea. The AP House offers an immersive Audemars Piguet experience in a contemporary apartment setting, combining local Thai artworks with modern architecture. And the Breitling Townhouse in Hannam is the flagship store, which includes the Breitling Cafe, a restaurant, and an equipment shop where visitors get to enjoy a comprehensive Breitling experience, exploring watch collections, dining, and relaxing in themed seating zones.

More than an opportunity to admire exquisite timepieces, these places around the world provide a deeper understanding of the history, culture, and craftsmanship that define the art of watchmaking. Whether you’re marvelling at the intricate watchmaking mechanisms in Geneva, exploring the precision of German engineering in Glashütte or discovering the innovative spirit of Tokyo, each destination will offer you an enriching experience. 

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