You don't have to be a rocket scientist to come up with three
reasons why Delaneau has their offices here: location, location
and location. I'm outside an office building at Geneva's airport
and could toss a basketball from here to the airport's departure/arrival
building. Heck, I could also toss a watermelon to another nearby
building where the train line makes its airport stop. Built in
1990, this seven-story structure is known as Swiss Air Centre
and (surprise) it's where Swiss International Air Lines has its
Geneva offices. The building directory shows quite a few American
Delaneau traces its roots back to 1880. A group of Swiss investors
took over the company in 1997. There's no receptionist or reception
area upon entering the second floor offices but, Melinda Gomez,
Marketing Coordinator, steps out from a side office to see who
entered. After introducing myself, I explain sending a letter
of introduction more than a month a go to CEO Philippe Thevemaz.
Gomez says they never received it. I find this very suspect as
it was sent priority mail from Lausanne, a city a mere 35 miles
I'm in luck as Gomez agrees to answer questions.
Ten people work here. Smoking isn't allowed (for some reason
the smell of tobacco is in the air), there's no cafeteria but
a break area with microwave and fridge and it's 15 minutes to
downtown Geneva. Any employee perks? Well, the average sale price
of a Delaneau watch is 40,000 Swiss Francs (about $30,000), so
even if one received an employee discount of 50% I don't think
there would be many takers.
I'm not allowed to see Thevemaz's office. Matter of fact, I never
make it more than a few feet from the front door.