Franck Muller Watchland
Boy, I'm impressed with watchmaker Franck Muller. Besides making
cool watches he's created quite a headquarters complex for his
company, Franck Muller Watchland S.A.
I'm on the outskirts of Geneva in the quiet picturesque village
of Genthod overlooking Lake Geneva. Back in 1994 Muller bought
an estate complete with an exquisite three-story, neo-gothic
19th century dwelling. Referred to as the "Manor",
the 80,000 square foot salmon-colored home is the centerpiece
of this headquarters facility. Stepping out onto the rear grounds
of the "Manor" there's a great view of Lake Geneva
but, looking to the left and then to the right are two brand
new identical-looking buildings. Each stand three stories tall,
each are salmon colored and each contain 150,000 square feet
of space. What goes on in those two new buildings? It's where
the watches are assembled from beginning to end.
Laurie Money from corporate communications answers my questions
and gives me a tour of the complex. The surrounding area is heavily
forested and residential so I'm surprised to learn over 300 people
work here. Actually I was here several days earlier, arriving
at 12:45 PM, only to be told by the receptionist locking the
front door that they close for lunch between 12:45 and 2 PM.
Founder and CEO Franck Muller (in his late 40's) has a very interesting
office. It's a large first floor corner office with a fireplace
and wood floor. It's furnished with 1920's period furnishings
and lots of watch paraphernalia including several antique watch
workbenches. However, you can't help but notice the over 30 silver
picture frames scattered about the room. Each frame contains
a picture either showing Franck Muller with a celebrity or a
celebrity wearing a Franck Muller watch. Bruce Willis, Michael
Jordan, Barbara Streisand and her hubby James Brolin just to
name a few.
Smoking isn't allowed inside but during my tour there were dozens
catching a quick smoke outside. There's a cafeteria, it's a quick
five-minute drive to nearby Geneva Airport, there's no formal
dress code and employees enjoy a ""substantial"
discount on purchasing watches.