Over the past four weeks I've dropped by watchmaker Quinting's
offices on four separate occasions and every time I find the
door closed. This is my final attempt. The three-story building
sits on a quiet side street about a mile from Geneva's city center.
The building's primary tenant is Swisscom, Switzerland's former
phone monopoly. Actually, I get the feeling the place was a former
phone switching station.
Entering the building I'm taken aback to find the Quinting's
office door open. Standing in the doorway I see it's just one
large room with two men sitting behind desks. One walks over
to the door to find out what I want. I explain mailing a letter
of introduction to CEO Pascal Berclaz over six weeks ago. This
man points to the other man still sitting behind a desk and says,
"that's Pascal Berclaz". Berclaz then motions me to
come in so I grab a seat in front of his desk. I tell of dropping
by on four other occasions and never finding anyone present.
Berclaz says he's only here one day a week with the rest of the
time spent at the company's factory in Neuchatel, a lakefront
town about 70 miles from here. Two months ago I remember passing
the Quinting factory building as I cycled through Neuchatel because
it lies practically next to the bike path running along the lakefront.
I ask Berclaz if he received the letter of introduction sent
six weeks ago. "No", he answers. How can this be since
it was sent priority mail from Lausanne, a city only 30 miles
away? I ask Berclaz if he has time to answer questions about
the head office. "No, he says, "I'm flying to Tokyo
tomorrow and haven't time". Since it's a one-room office
I tell Berclaz my questions won't take more than a few minutes.
Well, that gets the same response. I ask for brochures with background
information on the company. I'm given a booklet and shown the
door. Later I find the brochure contains no background material,
only pictures of Quinting watches.