Breitling SA

Well, I have a feeling I can pretty much pencil in Breitling on a list of worst receptions. The good-looking, four-story head office (renovated in 2001) stands two blocks from downtown Grenchen (population 16,000) and the length of bicycle from the main railroad tracks running through town. Directly on the other side of the train tracks stands a similar looking three-story Breitling watch production facility. Large signs on all sides of both buildings let train passengers; car drivers and pedestrians know who occupies the structures. If the large signs aren't enough to draw attention to the place then surely the full-size plane parked on Breitling's building roof will do the job.

Entering the building you walk up a short ramp (like an airplane ramp) and are greeted by several receptionist manning the reception counter (airport check-in counter?). I explain who I am, what I do and ask if they could find out who ended up with my letter of introduction mailed over a month earlier to CEO Theodore Schneider.

In a few minutes Valerie Burgat, Advertising and Public Relations, steps into the lobby. Burgat doesn't know if Schneider received my letter but dismisses it by saying, "Mr. Schneider doesn't give interviews, we don't give tours and we don't release figures". I explain what I do and how I collect corporate trivia---unusual information on company headquarters. I point out its not every day one finds an airplane atop a building.

Burgat agrees to answer my questions but it's over in three-minutes, as she couldn't care less. The plane on the roof isn't the real thing but a replica minus the engine. Burgat doesn't know what kind of plane it is and isn't interested in finding out for me.

About 140 people work here, there's plenty of employee parking, smoking isn't allowed and there's no formal dress code. I'm in and out the door in six minutes along with a Breitling watch catalog. Go to the company's website and you'll find very little info on the company. I found the following info in the Breitling catalog: Leon Breitling founded the company back in 1884 in the Jura Mountains. Ernst Schneider bought the company in 1979. Don't know how CEO Theodore Schneider is related-son? brother? cousin? or uncle?

In the attached photo you'll see I captured a train passing between the two Breitling buildings