a fun visit to watchmaker Titoni thanks to the warm welcome extended
to me by CEO Daniel Schluep and others. Titoni's green-colored
office/factory building stands a few blocks from Grenchen's city
The reception area is very small and minimally furnished. I note
the fake tree and hanging plant. The two friendly people manning
the reception counter make a few calls and in a few minutes Kurt
Schaller, Sales Manager, gives me an enthusiastic welcome.
Schaller and I head to a conference room where CEO Daniel Schluep
shortly joins us. Haven't heard of Titoni? The company's been
around since 1919 and it might have something to do with the
fact that they market their products primarily in Asia. Matter
of fact, Schluep says Titoni is one of the five best-known watch
brands in China.
I'm given an extensive top to bottom tour of the five-story building
and considering the fact it was built in 1959; it's a very comfortable
place. About 50 to 60 people work here---some of the help is
The company cafeteria is located on the top floor allowing employees
a great view of the area. The surrounding area is mixed-use with
apartment buildings prevalent. Grenchen's population is about
16,000. There's plenty of employee parking and if you ride your
bicycle to work-there's covered parking, which might have something
to do with the fact that Fritz Schluep, company founder and grandfather
of current CEO Daniel Schluep, used to ride his bike to work.
Smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress
code and it's about an hour's drive to the nearest major airport
(Zurich). Any employee perks? Titoni watches at factory prices.
CEO Schluep occupies a first floor corner office. I note the
computer, one real plant, several framed prints by Chagall (not
originals) hanging on the wall and pictures of his two kids.
The view? The passing street traffic out front.
CEO Daniel Schluep was attending the University of California
at Berkeley back in the early 1980's and received a call that
his father (Bruno) unexpectedly passed away. Though only in his
20's, he returned to Grenchen, took over the reins and has been
running the family business ever since.