Glycine Watch SA

On a quiet side street in a mostly residential area about a mile from Bienne's city center is where I find the offices for Glycine Watch. There's no reception area but visitors pretty much knock on the window of the post office-like counter in the second floor hallway to get someone's attention. Me, I get Katherine Brechbuehler looking to see who's out there. Ms. Brechbuehler, along with her father, Heinz Brechbuehler, are co-CEO's of the company.

It's a fun visit thanks to the delightful Ms. Brechbuehler. Founded in 1914, Glycine's been in this four-story building since the 1920's which is about when it was built. Twelve people work here. I tell Brechbuehler that the name Glycine sounds like some kind of chemical or medicine. Nope, it's a vine-like plant similar to grapes. Matter of fact, in the picture that accompanies this story that's glycine climbing up the right side of the building.

There's plenty of parking, covered parking for bicyclists (Ms. Brechbuehler bikes to work), it's one and a half-hours to Zurich's airport, five minutes to the nearest freeway, smoking is allowed and no cafeteria-although there's a breakroom. Any employee perks? Glycine watches at wholesale cost.

Ms. Brechbuehler occupies a corner office on the second floor. There's a computer, don't see any plants and count about a dozen crayon drawings by kids tacked up on one wall. What's her view out the window? A huge beech tree and some neighbor's homes.

There's no company museum but Ms. Brechbuehler has her own personal Glycine watch collection and graciously agrees to let me have a look-see. Wow, there's several dozen and many of the old timers sport the big watch faces that are so popular now. So, what is Ms. Brechbuehler sporting on her wrist? The Glycine Incursore, a big heavy watch. I'm finding more and more women sporting men's watches.