Dubois Depraz SA
It's the end of lunchtime when I show up at Dubois Depraz's head
office/factory in Le Lieu. Workers are making their way back
into the building as I follow the sign and steps up to the reception
counter on the second floor. The receptionist sits behind a sliding
glass counter the kind used in doctor offices and the tiny waiting
room area has a 1950's look to it-probably because nothing has
been done to it since it was built. A corner coffee table contains
books and magazines (all in French), including a large hardback
book celebrating Dubois Depraz's hundredth birthday in 2001.
Though the book is in French, it's neat to look at the photographs-some
showing this site's transformation over the years.
Dubois Depraz designs and develops movement parts for complicated
watches. It also does contract work to assemble watches for some
of the world's best known luxury brands. How am I so sure about
the last statement? Managing Director Jean-Philippe Dubois told
me so himself about four years ago. What? About four years ago
I made a fun sidetrip through the Joux valley, which included
circumventing Lake de Joux. It was sometime in August and as
I cycled through the village of Le Lieu I stopped near Dubois
Depraz's head office to fill my water bottle at a water trough
fountain across the street. In a village this small just about
any kind of structure would stick out let alone a several building
complex located on the main drag. Curious (ok-more like nosy),
I walked into the building to learn what the company did or made.
As luck would have it the first person I ran into was Jean-Philippe
Dubois, Managing Director-whose family contributed half of the
company's current name (there was a Mr. Dubois and a Mr. Depraz).
He ended up giving me a tour of the place-including the factory
located in the three-story red, white and bluish-colored annex
built in 1996. About 160 people work here.
Well, it looks like I won't be having a reunion with Dubois as
the receptionist delivers the disappointing news; Dubois is tied
up the rest of the day with a client. Ah, that explains the big
black Mercedes with Geneva plates parked in the visitor's parking