The MIH in La CHaux-de-Fonds - An Introduction.

Discussion in 'Musée international d'horlogerie Centre d'étude' started by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Mar 28, 2009.

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  1. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member NAWCC Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    Horological Bibliographer -
    Sussex New Jersey USA
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    #1 Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Mar 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2015
    Musée international d'horlogerie, sometimes referred to simply as the MIH, or the "Horological Museum of La Chaux-de-Fonds" in Switzerland, this is at this time unquestionably the broadest specialized horological museum of the world, displaying an amazing variety of both clocks and watches, as well as related tools, machines and artifacts.

    Location: Located in the watchmaking town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, home of countless former and current watch factories. The town is 20 minutes by car or train up the mountain from the city of Neuchâtel , in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking region. La Chaux-de-Fonds is about two hours from the international gateways of Zurich and Geneva. The museum is located a five minute walk from the train station.

    Collection: The exhibit galleries show only a small selection of their huge collection. Equally strong in clocks and watches. Covers timekeepers from most parts of the world, but Switzerland and France are best represented. Includes tower clocks, precision pendulum clocks, Dondi replica, important marine chronometers (incl. Berthoud), Janvier, Breguet, LeRoy etc, historic watch making machinery, early quartz watches, small section on contemporary wrist watches, etc.

    Building: A modernistic facility, completely underground, which won several architectural prizes, with approximately 20,000 sq. feet of public exhibition space

    History: Started originally in the 19th century as the "Study Collection" of the Watchmakers School of La Chaux-de-Fonds the MIH is now one of the few world class museums run by a small town. Moved to their current, custom built facility in 1974.

    Affiliated Entities: Research Institute: "Institut l'homme et le temps": Organizes seminars, publishes research

    Library: The museum library is the most comprehensive horological library in Switzerland and has an excellent collection of late 18th century periodicals and books. Located at the museum, but technically, it is part of the town library and as such its catalog is integrated in the RERO union catalog (

    Restoration Workshop: The shop of the museum does complex restorations for MIH and museums throughout Europe as well as for private clients.

    Carillon: There is a monumental carillon clock in the public park on the roof of MIH

    Visitor Services: Also see their website at Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds . Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. Audio Guides available in English. Giftshop/Bookstore. Auditorium. A cursory visit of the museum will take at least three hours. If you are in the area, don't miss to also visit the horological museum of Chateau des Monts in the neighboring town of Le Locle (Combined discount ticket).

    Bibliography: Published catalogs include:
    Title: Catalogue of Selected Pieces, Musée International d'Horlogerie La Chaux-de-Fonds;
    Authors: Catherine Cardinal, Jean-Michel Piguet; La Chaux-de-Fonds 2002, ISBN: 2 940088 10 1

    Title: Museums of Horology, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle (English Ed);
    Author: Catherine Cardinal; Zurich 1993, ISBN: 3 908184 33 9

    Title: L'homme et le temps, Musée international d'horlogerie,
    Author: Musée international d'horlogerie; La Chaux-de-Fonds 1974

    By Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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