Roamer Watch Company SA

Soluthurn, with about 15,000 inhabitants, lies about 15 miles northeast of Bienne. It's near the edge of town that I find the three-story building housing the offices and workshop of Roamer Watch.

The company advertises its roots as dating back to 1888 but the brand was dormant for quite some years and was relaunched in 1996. A Roamer sign in big red letters on the side of the building lets me know I'm at the right place.

Managing Director Ralph Furter extends a warm welcome and says I was suppose to visit last year (2003). That's true. I did indeed cycle through Solothurn last year but continued on to Bienne without stopping as it was past 5 PM and I had a hotel reservation to keep in Bienne.

Roamer has occupied space in the top two floors since 2003. Parking for the 28 employees is free and plentiful. It's raining but that's no problem as there's covered parking for cyclists. There's no cafeteria but, a kitchen and break room is available for use. Smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code and, it's an hour and a half drive to Zurich's airport. Any employee perks? Employees can purchase two watches a year at a special price. Though the hustle and bustle of Solothurn's city center is only a five minute walk away, one only has to cross the street to be in the countryside. On the other side of the road stands a farm and farmland. Only steps away is a herd of cows lazily munching away on whatever it is they like to lazily munch on. The watch workshop is modern with large windows that afford workers views of the farm.

Furter shares an office with two others. I note the computer, one plant (real) and a framed watch cartoon. The view out his window? The peaceful farmland.

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