Auguste Reymond s.a./Nitella
Tramelan, population 5,000, is another one of those hard-to-get-to
Swiss villages located on the side of a small but scenic valley.
It's home to Nitella, a watch factory that in 1989 bought Auguste
Reymond, a much older (1898) and better known name in the watch
A two-minute walk from Tramelan's main street brings one to the
three-story 1950's building situated on the hillside. As you
can see from the picture accompanying this story that the sign
above the entrance, is by itself enough to tell you when this
place was built.
Thomas Loosli, Managing Director, answers questions and shows
me around the facility. He's very well acquainted with the facility.
Why? The 40-year old Loosli literally grew up here. The upstairs,
now offices, was formerly an apartment where his family lived
(his father owned the company). Matter of fact, his father still
is connected with the business as I meet him hard at work.
Ten people are employed here. It's a real casual work place with
a full kitchen (in the former apartment). The surrounding area
is mixed-use with plenty of parking on the street, smoking is
allowed (Loosli is a non-smoker) and, employees receive special
prices on watches. Any recreational facilities? If you feel like
smacking a ball around there's a Ping-Pong table. You can also
get your exercise by zipping up and down the three floors since
there's no elevator.
When this place was built it was very state of the art. How so?
Loosli shows me the sound system used to deliver music throughout
the building-its source was a record player-as in the kind that
played those 33 and a third vinyl albums.
Loosli's top floor corner office contains plenty of memories
since it used to be his bedroom. Don't see any plants but he
has a forest of trees to see when looking out his window onto
the farmland stretching across the valley. On one wall hang several
posters advertising the company's collection of watches with
a jazz theme. In each poster there's an attractive woman playing
an instrument like a trumpet or clarinet. Who's the woman? It's
his wife-who I later meet as I'm leaving.
At Loosli's suggestion I ride several blocks down the road for
a look/see at the former factory/villa of Auguste Reymond. The
turn-of-the-century structure is impressive, even if it is now