Antima Montres SA
It's 10 minutes to noontime and I have to be quick because come
lunchtime most companies in Switzerland close for lunch. I'm
about a mile from downtown Bienne and several blocks from Omega,
whom I just left. Locking my bike up outside Antima's four-story
headquarters I see a man walking out the door. I ask if he speaks
English. "Of course", he answers. Catching Michael
Firth, Operations Manager, turns out to be a big break for me
as he's familiar with my letter of introduction sent a month
earlier to Managing Director Jorg Bader.
Located amidst residential housing, the building was built as
a home in the 1920's and added on to in the 1950's. About 30
people work here. There's no smoking in the workplace, no company
cafeteria, parking isn't a problem, no formal dress code and
no elevator in the place.
Antima's roots go back to 1919. Fossil, a publicly traded American
company with revenues in 2002 of $660 million and 3,100 employees,
bought Antima in 2001. Fossil sells mid-priced watches around
the world mostly in department stores. Antima will be Fossil's
first foray into manufacturing and selling Swiss-made watches.
That explains why you get a "website under construction"
message when typing in the website address.
Several large colorful paintings hang in Managing Director Bader's
second floor corner office. I note the hardwood floor and computer.
His view out the window? The parking lot and neighboring houses.
Firth hails from Richardson, Texas where Fossil is headquartered.
It's been quite a cultural and lifestyle change for him and his
wife, who also works here. Their commute time from home to work
is a mere two-minute walk. Try doing that in sprawling and spread-out