Musée international d'horlogerie (MIH) [English]
Welcome to the Musée international d’horlogerie. You are entering what can only be called a treasure cave. This building was opened in 1974, but the museum itself started to take shape back in the 19th century, when the watchmaking school in la Chaux-de-Fonds started collecting both locally made and foreign timepieces.The international nature of our museum was already recognised when it opened officially in 1902 in the premises of the watchmaking school. La Chaux-de-Fonds has enjoyed a world-wide reputation for many years thanks to its key industry.In order to provide an appropriate setting for its collection of timepieces and to enable them to be kept in the best possible conditions, the city excavated 35’000 cubic meters of soil. You are at the entrance of a building made of brick and concrete, almost all of it underground. Just before you cross the little bridge you can see two awards fixed next to each other on the concrete wall: the Council of Europe Museum prize for 1976, and the Prix Béton, or Concrete Prize, for 1977. These prizes were awarded for the exceptional avant-garde architecture of the museum.Apart from its exhibition halls, the museum also has a research and documentation centre, and a conservation and restoration centre for old timepieces. The museum as a whole is part of a park in a complex which also includes the History Museum – above our building, in a 19th century villa – and the Art Museum, whose entrance is just next door to ours.The timepieces in our collections, both historical and contemporary, are united by the slogan “Man and time”. The arrangement of our museum, which is constantly developing, also reflects both the history and the present of the greatest of all clocks: the universe. You are thus embarking on a brief visit to the immensity of time. And to the creative genius of the clockmaker, which defies imagination.
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