Andersen Geneve SA

Visiting watch companies in 2003 I asked a lot of questions. One of the names repeatedly mentioned when asked to name the cream of the crop of independent watchmakers was Svend Andersen. So, here I am on the third floor of an ugly 13-story concrete slab of a building probably built in the 1970's. The first few floors are offices and businesses and then it's all apartments. The building stands only a few blocks from Geneva's lakefront and overlooks a river flowing into Lake Geneva.

Svend Andersen himself turns out to be the one answering questions and showing me around the place. It's basically one very large room and he's had his office in the building since 1980. Workbenches line the large window facing the river. Four people work here. Smoking isn't allowed, there's no break room and you're on your own as far as finding parking.

Over the years Andersen has had plenty of write-ups as he points to a pile of magazines stacked two feet high. He's in the Guinness Book of Records for creating the world's smallest calendar watch. I ask for a look so he retrieves it out of a safe along with a magnifying glass. I leaf through several booklets cataloging the watches he's created over the years and they're quite amazing. Andersen also dabbles in erotic watches which will set one back at least $40,000.

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