Bovet Fleurier SA

The orangish-red awnings of Bovet Fleurier's street level salon really stand out against the rest of the white-colored building. Directly across the street is Geneva's bus terminal for out-of-town travelers (tour buses). Geneva's central train station lies two blocks away in one direction and the shores of Lake Geneva only a block away in the other. What does all this mean? It means Bovet is ensconced in a busy pedestrian shopping area filled with locals and busloads of tourists.

Bovet occupies the first and second floors in the seven-story building. The street is lined with similar size, age and styled office buildings. It's up to the second floor I go because that's where the reception area is located. In a few minutes I'm meeting with Managing Director John Vergotti who gives me a warm welcome and tour of the place.

Eighteen people work here. Employees driving to work are on their own as far as finding parking and it's ditto for commuting cyclists. There's no company cafeteria but with a zillion places to eat within a few blocks it isn't relevant. There's a break room area (microwave), smoking is allowed in the workplace, it's 20 minutes to the airport and 10 minutes to the nearest freeway. A dress code requires men to wear a suit and tie. Any employee perks? You can buy one watch a year at a substantial discount (pretty much the industry norm).

Nebraska-born Vergotti occupies a second floor middle office. I note the plant (real), laptop, two family pictures, bowl of apples (real) and tea set. The view out his window? An unexciting view out the building's backside.

Bovet's roots date back to 1822 when the watches were a big hit with Chinese aristocracy. Actually, they're a big hit with me. Why? They're essentially open-face pocket watches on a strap.