Bedat & Co.

I'm only a mile from Geneva's city center but it feels like the country. This area is filled with large old mansions situated on big lots with forested grounds. What's happening is that many of these grand homes are being converted into offices. And why not? The setting is peaceful, the location prestigious and yet, you're within walking distance to the hustle and bustle of the city. It's here where I find the offices of watchmaker Bedat & Company, part of the Gucci Group since 2000.

The ground floor of this beautiful three-story, quasi Tudor-style home now does duty as doctor's offices. Bedat occupies the second floor. The accommodating Peggy Azrak turns out to be the one answering questions and showing me around. I'd give you Azrak's title but she continually insists no one here has titles (Azrak's business card only lists her name). Is she CEO Christian Bedat's assistant? I never do find out but later see Azrak shares an office and the same desk with Bedat.

Ten people work here. Employee parking is plentiful. Many times when asking if there's parking for commuting cyclists the person answering questions is generally clueless because they don't bike. Azrak knows there's covered parking for commuting cyclists because she is one. Smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code, it's 15 minutes to Geneva's airport, one minute to the nearest freeway, a 10-minute walk to the city center and, there's no cafeteria but a break area with microwave and fridge.

Upon entering various offices you're greeted by exposed timber beams including CEO Bedat's. He sits at one end of a long half horseshoe-shaped table with Azrak at the other end. I don't see any plants, note the two Bedat watch posters on a wall, one family picture and a desktop computer. The views out the window? The flower gardens and well-kept grounds.

Unfortunately I'm limited to only one photo otherwise you'd also have a picture of the colorful flowers scattered about the grounds. Look closely in the accompanying picture and you'll see a yellowish sun dial painted above the first floor of the building. Knowing I collect trivia, Azrak says she doesn't know if it's true or not but, she heard that the woman who built/owned this house had a sister in St. Gallen (city in the northern part of Switzerland) who lived in a exact duplicate of this house. Sibling rivalry perhaps?