Ulysse Nardin SA

Ulysse 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.
Website: www.ulysse-nardin.com