CompliTime SA (Greubel
While researching watch companies to visit I came across an article
on CompliTime, which develops complicated movements for high-end
watches. Founded in 2001, CompliTime recently launched a new
watch brand, Greubel Forsey. Their first watch, the Double Tourbillon
30 Degrees caught my eye. A tourbillon is a device invented to
eliminate errors of rate in the vertical positionin other
words a mechanism devised to compensate for the earth's gravity
pull. Besides being difficult to do, a tourbillon also dramatically
increases the price of a watch. Hmm, a double tourbillon? It
looks like I better visit these guys.
The address leads me about a mile from downtown La Chaux-de-Fonds
to a mixed-use area containing small businesses and older apartment
buildings. The gray, blah-looking, four-story building in front
of me looks quite ordinary. However, once you enter it's a whole
different story. Why? In the olden days this several hundred
years-old building was where horse carriages were parked overnight
(valet parking?). Entering on the other side you can still see
the grooves in the ground where the wheels of the carriages passed
through. There's a large enclosed courtyard with frescoes lining
the walls. A restaurant with seating in the courtyard anchors
one end while a door leading to CompliTime's offices and workshops
anchors the other side.
Frenchman Robert Greubel (born 1960) and Englishman Stephen Forsey
(born 1967) are co-founders and co-CEO's. I met Greubel a week
ago because I mistakenly cycled to La Neuveville, a quaint medieval
village halfway between Bienne and Neuchatel. It turns out the
address is where some administrative work is done and Greubel
keeps an apartment upstairs. In La Neuveville I also met Nicole
Segundo, Marketing & Sales Manager, who said she'd notify
the people in the La Chaux-de-Fonds office of my pending arrival.
Andreas Drollinger, who's business card reads "Chief of
Projects", is the one who shows me around and answers questions.
Fifteen people work here. The decor is a blend of old (wood beams)
mixed in with new (modernistic glass partitions). You're on your
owning as far as parking-though commuting cyclists can bring
their bikes inside. There's no smoking in the workplace, no formal
dress code and, it's a few minutes walk to the city center and
all its places to eat.
CEO Forsey occupies a large first floor corner office. I note
the computer and the microscope. Note: Out of the over 140 watch
companies visited so far, it's only the second time I've seen
a microscope in the CEO's office----the other being at Patek
Interested in purchasing the Double Tourbillon 30 degrees watch?
Be willing to wait several years and cough up almost $300,000.
Website for Greubel Forsey: www.greubelforsey.ch