It's tricky finding the building housing Kolber's offices because
it's tucked away from the street behind several other buildings.
I'm about three miles from Geneva's city center in a light industrial
area. It's not too bad an area seeing as how Rolex, one of the
biggies in the watch industry, has its large gold-colored headquarters
complex a block away.
The five-story aluminum-clad building looks to have been built
in the 1980's. Tenants on the ground floor include two motorcycle
repair shops. It's amongst a bunch of motorcycles that I lock
my bike. A sign near the building's elevator, an industrial/freight
loading sort, says Kolber is located on the second floor.
The décor is sparse but the reception warm as Simone Schuessler-Widmer
and Alexandra Sahiti-Herter welcome me. Both perform dual roles
manning the reception area and as sales & marketing assistants.
In a few minutes I'm meeting with Rolf Wuethrich, General Manager.
Kolber's roots go back to 1984, when watchmaker Rayond Weil sold
it off. The current owner of this mid-priced maker and distributor
of watches hails from the Middle East---Al-Futtaim Watches &
Jewelry, a trading company based in the United Arab Emirates
The pipe-smoking, accommodating Wuethrich answers questions and
then walks me down the hall for a look in the warehouse and shipping
area. Occupying a portion of the second floor, a total of 12
people work here. Parking is plentiful, there's no cafeteria
but there's a small break area (including microwave) where employees
enjoy free soft drinks and coffee. Smoking is allowed, it's five
minutes to the nearest freeway, 15 minutes to Geneva's airport
and a 20-minute walk to downtown. Any employee perks? One free
watch a year.
The furnishings are sparse in Wuethrich's corner office. Several
Kolber ad posters liven up the walls. I note the laptop and one
plant (real). What's the view out his window? It's an unobstructed
view of Rolex's headquarters.