Launched in 2005, the last MIH watch was sold in April 2020 after almost 15 years. A new edition of this watch is no longer planned.  However, service and maintenance of MIH watch will continue to be guaranteed in the usual quality.

The MIH Watch

The former conservator of MIH, Ludwig Oechslin, with his many years of experience as a watch designer has an impressive line-up of complicated wristwatches in his portfolio. His long-cherished dream, however, has always been to design a simple watch and make it accessible to the masses. This undertaking finally came to fruition through his work in the Museum (2001 – 2014), the collaboration with Embassy and the enthusiasm of master watchmaker Paul Gerber. He is the one who ultimately brought the Ludwig Oechslin annual calendar to series production and who continues to lend his personal touch in the artisanal manufacture of every single MIH watch.

Discover the MIH Watch

Reduced to the max

The watch is reduced to the absolute essentials, but without sacrificing a critical key function – the calendar. Ludwig Oechslin developed an annual calendar with only 9 (instead of usual 30-40) moving parts and the date displays in a single clear window. The annual calendar is presented using three concentric discs, which are reliably driven by the ETA Valjoux 7750. This movement is ideally suited to set the calendar discs in motion simultaneously.

Squaring the circle

Annual calendars are adjusted only once a year, namely at the end of February, because their mechanics do not know that this month always dances out of line. Due to their construction, their display windows are often distributed over the whole dial and therefore difficult to read. Ludwig Oechslin solved the problem by making it easy to see the date in a single, clear window. Three concentric discs achieve this presentation. The innermost shows the day of the week, the middle one the month, and the outermost the date. The date disk is switched every day at midnight by the mechanism already present in the movement. The setting of the remaining two discs, and in some instances adjustment of the date, is done via a separate mechanism.

The MIH watch also has a stop feature whose push-button is located above the crown and has three functions: Start, stop and reset of the seconds as well as the minute counter, which is set into the back of the watch.

The MIH watch also has a stop feature whose push-button is located above the crown and has three functions: Start, stop and reset of the seconds as well as the minute counter, which is set into the back of the watch.

Sublime Design

The design is also reduced to the essentials. The dial waives any lettering or product designation. The only letterings are the date display at the 3 o’clock index and the abbreviation MIH (Musée International Horlogerie) at 9 o’clock. The dial is entirely kept in matte black to optimize the legibility of the Superluminova-coated pointers and indexes. The red mark at the end of the second hand makes the otherwise almost invisible pointer evident only where it is read: At the outer edge of the minute ring, the tip of the indicator. The housing of the 42 mm-large watch is made of titanium.

The MIH Watch

The annual calendar of Ludwig Oechslin consists of only nine parts. The result is an ingenious mechanism that, with its technical elegance and reduced simplicity, is currently the benchmark in watchmaking. The federal Office of Culture even decided to add it to the collection of the Museum of Design in Zurich. The official watch of the Musée International Horlogerie is available exclusively in the museum and at Embassy in Lucerne and St. Moritz.

Learn more about the service and maintenance of the MIH watch

Replacement straps for MIH online:

The makers of the MIH watch.

Ludwig Oechslin

Ludwig Öchslin der frühere Konservator des MIHLudwig Oechslin
Ludwig Oechslin was Curator of the Museée International d‘Horlogerie (MIH), La Chaux-de-Fonds from 2001 to 2014. Of all his colleagues, he has probably followed the most unconventional career path. Most industry insiders know this born-and-bred Lucerner as a gifted watchmaker with a meticulous approach to his work. His career in the industry, though, began relatively late. At university, he studied Classical Greek, Latin, Ancient History and Archaeology, while simultaneously serving an apprenticeship with Jörg Spöring in Lucerne. After embarking on a further period of study in Theoretical Physics, it was time to get down to work – at which point his creative imagination gave birth to some of the most complicated mechanical movements ever witnessed, including an astronomical clock. Oechslin spent many years developing timepieces for the watch brand Ulysse Nardin, until his scientific calling finally got the better of him and he took up his post at the International Watch Museum. His relations with EMBASSY Lucerne have also been fruitful: since 2009, the brand ochs und junior has been part of his own watch history. Smallest quantities guarantee that Oechslin‘s philosophy is translated unfiltered into products. How can a time horizon be realized using a clock without letters and numbers? How can a complex task be solved ingeniously simply? Ludwig Oechslin‘s answers to these questions are his watches.

Paul Gerber

Paul Gerber is a native of Bern, but has lived and worked in Zurich since 1970. It is said that the Bernese are by nature imperturbable and patient, a character-
isation that Gerber has never quite been able to shake off, even after all this time in Zurich. These qualities are ideally suited to the designing and making of watches. Paul Gerber has in the past developed incredible mechanisms in his atelier, though he would be the last to boast about it. His exploits include constructing the world’s smallest pendulum clock with a wooden wheelwork, which got him into the 1989 Guinness Book of Records; that record remains unbeaten to this day. He followed this in 2003 with the most complicated wristwatch the world has ever seen; this was based on an 1892 movement, which he modified step-by-step for a private client. Because Paul Gerber is not only a meticulous craftsman but also a designer, he is in demand by renowned watch brands for his mechanical complications. Paul Gerber is a good friend to the MIH, and in 2004 he donated some kinetic sculptures portraying aspects of the mechanical watch by the artist Miki Eleta. His enthusiasm for the MIH Watch project, then, was entirely expected. Unlike most of his clients, we are more than happy to reveal who is responsible for our manufacture.

Christian Gafner

Christian Gafner

The distinctive look of the MIH Watch can be put down to the talent of indus-
trial designer Christian Gafner, who has made a name for himself with all manner of projects, most of which lie outside the watchmaking industry. He designed, for instance, the Swiss Army’s new multifunctional sunglasses: their modularity
allows them to be fitted with a variety of frames, sun visors and nose pads, which makes them perfect for everyone from pilots to mountaineers. Gafner has also designed packaging machines for industry, and traffic management systems for police computers. His wide-ranging experience meant he was able to approach the MIH Watch project from quite a different angle compared to that of a dyed-in-the-wool watch designer, who would base his ideas on familiar watch-making templates. Christian Gafner came to the project unencumbered, so to speak, by baggage from the past, and left it to the watchmakers to work out exactly how to fit their mechanical movements within the case: that is the only way an uncompromising design is able to survive all the way through to the end product without losing its edge. As a result, the MIH Watch has surprised and delighted all those involved in the project. There is a familiar feel about it, yet it is unlike other timepieces. It possesses an effortless originality – a watch through and through. Today he is owner of the label ilmia (www.ilmia.org).

MIH supported projects.

The projects

Part of the proceeds from the sale of each MIH watch (CHF 700) goes to the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The amount transferred is earmarked and will be used for special projects.
The first project, the monumental astronomical clock of the Breton watchmaker Daniel Vachey (1904 – 1991) has been restored in the meantime. The 150-cm tall clock in the shape of a gothic cathedral was acquired by the MIH in 2002 with the help of the Friends of the MIH, the aim being to put it on display in a fully functioning state. In 2005 the museum secured the services of archaeologist and clockmaker Peter Maria Verhoeven to analyze and restore the timepiece. His work, namely the meticulous documentation and renovation of this monumental timepiece, was the first project to receive funding from revenues generated by sales of the MIH Watch. So, EMBASSY supports the Musée International d’Horlogerie with CHF 700 for every MIH watch sold. Verhoeven‘s five-year endeavor is recorded in a four-volume book published by “L’homme et le Temps”, while the clock itself can be admired in all its functioning glory at the MIH. Also available is an interactive screen presentation showing the functions and history of this unique artefact of modern times. The Vachey is now a reason to visit the MIH at noon – to witness the crowing of the cock and the dancing of the Bretons, followed by a danse
macabre; the tides of the Atlantic can also be seen. The hour strikes and
mechanical music can be heard. Thanks to its computus mechanism, Easter in the liturgical calendar will be correctly displayed for thousands of years. Equally accurate are the movements of the stars in the astronomical section of the clock.
Sales of the MIH watch will continue to help fund research into and publication
and restoration of important timepieces. The funds will also help the museum
acquire and display contemporary examples of watchmaking that represent
important developments in the craft. In the brochure “The Projects” you can find out more about the current projects.

Download PDF “Projects”