Eterna has been located in Grenchen (population 15,000) since
its founding back in 1856. It's not hard finding the offices
of Eterna since it's just on the opposite side of the railroad
tracks from Fortis Watch, where I've just left.
The four-story building, originally built in the 1950's for another
watch company, has been home to Eterna since 1973. It's a mixed-use
area with residential housing, apartments and businesses. I check
in with the receptionist and explain sending a letter of introduction
a month earlier to CEO Ernst Seyr. Two large glass cases in the
waiting area display old Eterna watches along with historical
background information. There's also a glass case displaying
Porsche Design watches. Oh, oh, bad news, it seems no one knows
anything about my visit. I'm in luck though as Barbara Haldimann,
Sales Manageress, agrees to answer questions. Note: it's the
first time I've come across a business card with the title "sales
In 1995 Ferdinand Alexander Porsche bought Eterna. Yep, he's
a Porsche as in Porsche cars. He also owns Porsche Design, a
Salzburg, Austria-based company selling a wide variety of upscale
products such as eyewear, writing instruments, leather goods,
pipes and smoking accessories and, even golf clubs.
About 60 people work here. There's no cafeteria but, a break
room. Smoking in the workplace is optional, parking is free and
plentiful, there's no formal dress code, it's five minutes to
Grenchen's city center, five minutes to the nearest freeway and
an hour and a half drive to Zurich's airport.
I can't see CEO Ernst Seyr's first floor corner office because
"he's in a meeting". My tour consists of the meeting
room where the questions were answered.
Company website: www.eterna.ch