Fortis Uhren AG

How does Grenchen, a not very big place with a population of 15,000, rate having two train stations? The main station handles traffic going from Zurich to Geneva while the Grenchen North station takes care of traffic veering off through the Jura Mountains. I mention the above since the head office of Fortis Watch stands only a stone's throw away from the Grenchen North train station.

The five-story, peach and white colored building was built in 1912. That also happens to be the year the company was founded by Walter Vogt. I meet with Mark Branschi, Sales Manager. Atop the building stands a large sign spelling out "Fortis" in big letters which, according to Branschi lights up at night.

It's a mixed-use area with houses and apartments mixed-in with businesses. Parking is free and plentiful for the 22 people working here. Smokers have designated smoking areas, cyclists enjoy covered parking, there's no formal dress code, it's five minutes to the nearest freeway, five minutes to Grenchen's city center and an hour and a half drive to Zurich's airport. Any employee perks? One watch a year can be bought at a discount.

Managing Director Peter Peter occupies a corner office on the third floor. No that's not a typo, his name is indeed, Peter Peter. Three posters with space motifs (Fortis markets professional space watches) cover one wall and I spot several Fortis watches on Peter's desk. The view out the window? The rear of the building overlooks a park and so that's his view.

Company website: