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Content - Omega’s new Swiss factory designed in Japan

  • November 02, 2017

Omega’s new Swiss factory designed in Japan

Tokyo (SCCIJ) - After three years of construction, the Swiss watchmaker Omega has officially opened its newest production building at the brand’s headquarter site in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. It is currently considered to be the most modern manufacture in the Swiss watch industry. Designed by the inspiring and award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, it is an eco-friendly masterpiece built with sustainable Swiss spruce and an ingenious indoor climate and energy concept. The Chief Executive Officer of the Swatch Group to which the Omega brand belongs, Mr. Nick Hayek, spoke to the invited guests from politics, business and the watch industry, among them the Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education & Research, Mr. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann. The Japanese architect was also present.

New Omega factory

Cutting-edge facility for watch assembly

Having first arrived on this site in 1882, the new building represents the industry’s most cutting-edge facility for watch assembly, training and quality control. Inside, OMEGA has used the 5 floors of space in the most effective way possible, bringing technical innovation and human expertise together for a fully modernised manufacturing process.  

Mr. Nick Hayek said: “Omega is producing watches at this historical site in the heart of Biel since 1882. Omega is and was a pioneer of innovation and excellence in the Swiss watch industry and worldwide. The strong tradition of investing in new technologies, new methods of production, but also in its own employees can again be seen through the achievement of this new splendid Omega factory. It reflects the brand’s commitment to the highest standards of watchmaking.”

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek (left), Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann (2. from left), Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann (2. from right) and architect Shigeru Ban (right) (click to enlarge)

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek (left), Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann (2. from left), Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann (2. from right) and architect Shigeru Ban (right) (click to enlarge)

Strong cooperation of Ban with Swatch Group

The Omega factory building is the second part of a larger cooperation between architect Ban and the Swatch group. The first completed building was the new headquarters for Swatch, which was more of an organic form, with a wooden grid shell structure, while the Omega building will be more rigid and formal, expressing the verticality and horizontality of post and beam construction. Both buildings reflect the culture, spirit, and identity of each corporation, Shigeru Ban said.  

Another Swatch Group building designed by Ban is the Nicolas G. Hayek Center in the heart of the Tokyo shopping district Ginza. This high temple of fine watchmaking is home to the Swatch Group and boutiques for Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original & Jaquet Droz, Omega, Longines, Swatch, and an after-sales center that spans three floors. Hydraulic elevators carry customers directly from the ground floor to the respective showrooms of each brand.   

Real value of building is efficiency

The President and CEO of Omega, Raynald Aeschlimann, also gave his thoughts by saying: “Of course, we have created a truly innovative workspace, but the real value of this new building is efficiency. We have been able to now combine all of our assembly and testing processes under one roof. That means a complete consolidation of work that will help Omega to become much more productive and streamlined than ever before.”  

All steps, including T2 (watch assembly), T3 (bracelets), and T4 (shipping), as well as stock and logistics, will now be completed inside the new building. In addition to this, it has been designed for training purposes, enabling OMEGA to sharpen and constantly improve the skills of the staff inside.  

Fully automated storage system

At the core of the building, Omega has installed a fully automated storage system that rises up through 3 floors of the building. Like something from a science-fiction movie, the fireproofed system contains over 30,000 boxes filled with all the necessary stock required for the brand’s watchmaking.   

Importantly, the new building has also been created to house Omega’s quality and technical control processes, including the METAS testing for Master Chronometer certification. It is here that Omega will certify its watches at the industry’s highest standard for precision, performance and magnetic resistance.      

 

Text: SCCIJ with material of Omega; Photos: Omega

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