Franck Muller Watchland SA

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.