Louis Erard Montres
SA and Aero Watch SA
VisitingThe village of Le Noirmont (population maybe 1,000) lies
up in the Jura Mountains about 15 miles east of La Chaux de Fonds.
I cycled here last year (2003) to visit watchmaker Paul Picot.
It not hard finding the offices of watchmakers Aero Watch and
Louis Erard Montres as they both share the same building just
around the corner from Paul Picot. The long building looks to
have been built in the 1940's or 1950's in different stages.
Looking at the attached photo you can see the building to the
left is taller (five stories) than the one on the right (with
the clock on the pole). Due to the various vehicles parked in
front you can't see the row of windows lining the basement floor.
A variety of other tenants occupy the building.
First I visit Louis Erard Montres. Knocking on a second floor
door I'm greeted by Sylvie Ramseier, Sales Assistant. After explaining
who I am and what I do, friendly Ramseier agrees to answer my
questions. The decor and furnishings are decidedly outdated and
barebones. The company traces its roots back to 1931 but essentially
had been dormant until five years ago when the name was revived
by managing director Alain Spineti.
Parking is free and plentiful for the 17 employees, smoking is
allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code, no covered
parking for cyclists, it's 25 minutes to the nearest freeway
and two and a half hours to Geneva's airport. It's a mixed-use
area with residential housing surrounding the building. Managing
Director Spineti's no frills, corner office contains no plants
and has an unexciting view of the parking lot.
Taking the stairs up to the third floor I knock on the entrance
door of Aero Watch. In its advertising the company traces its
roots back to 1910. However, it too is another watch company
that lay dormant for years until it was bought and revived by
investors in 2001. Isabelle Metzger answers the door and though
she says they didn't receive my letter of introduction mailed
a month earlier to managing director Dennis Bolzli, she agrees
to answers questions.
My visit doesn't amount to much as the questions are answered
as we sit near the entrance door. I can't see Bozli's office
("he's busy") nor anything else as my visit is over
within seven minutes. Fifteen people work here. The company shares
watchmaking space with its downstairs neighbor Louis Erard Montres.
Any unusual employees perks? At Erard I was told employees can
buy up to two watches a year, 20% off the retail price. At Aero,
all Metzger would disclose is that employees "receive a
The hilly bike ride through scenic farmland and tiny villages
was enjoyable and its one of those times where getting to the
destination far outweighs the actual visit.