Ulysse Nardin SA
Nardin's light blue, four-story head office is a quick five-minute
walk to Le Locle's city center. Checking in with the receptionist
I ask if the man in the framed oil painting hanging on the wall
behind her is founder Ulysse Nardin. She says it is. You'd be
surprised how many times I've asked this kind of question in
the past and the receptionist has no clue who the person is/was.
An antique Ulysse Nardin marine chronometer sits atop the end
of the reception counter. Having just come from visiting Zenith
on the other side of town I'm surprised to see a five-foot tall
Zenith wall clock in the lobby. Turns out it's a regulator clock
from around 1900. This clock (sort of like a mother clock) was
used as the basis for setting the time on Ulysse Nardin watches.
Besides a flower arrangement and large palm (both real) I count
five glass displays of watches.
The accommodating Susanne Hurni, Personal Assistant to Managing
Director & Advertising Coordinator, answers questions and
gives me a thorough top to bottom tour of the place. Founded
in 1846, the company has been located on its present site since
1865. I'm surprised to learn it's not a protected/historic building.
About 75 people work here. Smoking isn't allowed in the workplace,
there're no formal dress code and no recreational facilities-though
you do get plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs since
the building lacks an elevator. There's no cafeteria but a break
room with microwave. Any employee perks? Special price on watches.
Managing Director Rolf Schnyder occupies a corner office on the
second floor. His office has a blue color to it thanks to the
blue shutters. I note the computer and lack of plants. His view?
A small grassy area.