A two-minute walk from Le Locle's compact city center brings
one to Cyma's four-story building. The name "Cyma"
in large letters is visible on the outside of the yellowish-colored
structure between the second and third floors. From visiting
watch companies in Le Locle last year I learned plaques have
been placed on the outside of buildings with historical significance
to the watch industry. Near the entrance door at Cyma is one
of these plaques and though it's in French I spot the date 1903
and deduce it's saying that's when this building was built. Watch
manufacturer Zenith (visited in 2003) has it's offices/factory
down the block.
It's late in the afternoon when entering the lobby and it looks
and feels like being in a 1950's time warp. There's no receptionist
and visitors are instructed to buzz a buzzer for assistance.
A woman appears and I explain who I am and how I sent a letter
of introduction a month earlier to CEO Claude Guilgot. The woman
says no one is around so I give her some background material
and say I'll return tomorrow.
The next morning I return, buzz the buzzer and the same woman
reappears. She disappears and then another woman appears. Though
she doesn't identify herself this other woman agrees to answer
questions. It's pretty much a waste of time and over in five
minutes as I have to pry answers out of this woman while sitting
in the lobby. About 25 people work here. Though the company traces
it's roots back to 1862, Cyma was dormant for years until it
was bought and moved into this building by CEO Claude Guilgot
in 1978. Employees are on their own as far as parking, smoking
is allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code and,
it's 30 minutes to the nearest freeway. Any employee perks? "Special
prices" on Cyma watches.
I can't see CEO Guilgot's middle office on the third floor and
no reason is given. My tour of the place is limited to the lobby
which is void of any watch paraphernalia.
Before leaving I ask this woman for her business card. The name
on the card reads Francoise Schuerch-Guilgot. "Are you related
to the owner?", I ask. "He's my father", she replies.
Later in the evening I peruse the background material given to
me and laugh when reading where it states the company is nicknamed
by the locals "Precision City". Methinks they dug that
up from a very, very old news clipping.