Century Time Gems SA



Well, in the watch business timing is important and so it is in what I do. I show up at Century Time Gems right before lunchtime. Though I'm standing right outside the three-story white building I'm not sure this is it. Why? For one thing I can't find a sign anywhere on the outside, for another the building's under the cover of scaffolding-as in being repainted. One entryway leads to a directory of people living in apartments.

Finally finding the entrance I check in with the receptionist. I'm then led to CEO Philip Klingenberg's corner office where Klingenberg's greets me and says I've picked a bad time to visit the company due to a board meeting starting shortly. I do get to ask how many people work here (45) and if the there's purposely no signage anywhere on the building's exterior (yes).

Century's offices are located in Nidau, a lakefront suburb of Bienne. A single line of train track runs within 20 feet of the building and it's also where vehicle traffic crosses the track. Hans Ulrich Klingenberg, father of current CEO Philip Klingenberg, founded Century in 1966. Watch-making, cutting and polishing workshops are all in this building that was built in 1995. The company's high-end creations are marketed primarily in Japan via several Century boutiques.