Century Time Gems
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.