Omega has always been a brand that has fascinated generations of watch collectors and enthusiasts. The brand has been phenomenal in its approach to horology and marketing its products. The brand is one of the few in the world that is also known for its state of the art headquarters. Right now, the Swiss watch crafter is based in the Biel/Bienne region of Switzerland.
It won’t take any person long before realizing that the Omega factory/headquarter is hands-down one of the finest in the world. The establishment is simply cutting edge. In terms of watch assembly, quality control, and of course, training, the Omega factory is crème de la crème.
The factory is designed by none other than Shigeru Ban, the inspiring Japanese architect. The establishment is an eco-friendly masterstroke built using sustainable Swiss spruce which happens to be grown in the forests of the Swatch Group, the brand’s parent company. The building has an ingenious indoor climate as well as an energy concept that is implemented to provide the best working conditions. Long story short, the new Omega building is a product of human expertise and technological innovation.
The beginnings of Omega were as humble as it could get. The founder of the watch company, Louis Brandt, started making watches in his family villa situated in the popular La Chaux-de-Fonds. Brandt created high precision hand-wound pocket watches. Before anyone knew, Omega was the biggest deal in town and the entire Swiss Haute Horlogerie industry.
It’s a popular saying that getting a visa for North Korea would be easier than getting a tour of the Rolex headquarters. Quite surprisingly, it is indeed true. Rolex is a brand that is known for quality and everything that Rolex does is about quality, the highest quality. The brand does not care what other watchmakers are up to. Rolex only focusses on itself and by doing so it has created an integral structure that allows it to perform at the highest level.
The Rolex headquarters is an apt representation of its isolationist philosophy. Just like the watchmaker’s approach towards the craft of manufacturing top-notch timepieces, Rolex’s headquarters is a place that operates at the highest of levels.
The Rolex building has many departments. Almost everything Rolex uses is manufactured in-house. Elements such as gaskets and hands are considered non-strategic and are sourced from outside. However, it is only a matter of time before the brand starts manufacturing these as well. You see, the watchmaker is like a well built and maintained machine. Every step it takes is a highly calculated and scientific one. Efficiency is the top-most priority, always.
The Assembly department consists of 150 people. This is where you realise that Rolex is not completely dependent on machines. It does not dismiss the qualities of the human eye and combines the two to achieve great results.
A worthy mention here would be COMEX. It stands for Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises. The French based professional diving company has had a long-running partnership with the Swiss watchmaker. Rolex even made a number of Submariners and Sea Dwellers with the company’s name on the dial. The COMEX machine at Rolex is truly unique and one of a kind and has helped make countless Deepsea watches.
The real magic, however, begins two floors below ground level. Inside a safe, that opens exclusively after a retinal scan, lies a fully robotized ballet of machines. This mechanized performance of robots is what makes this establishment at Plan-les-Ouates so special. Anything in the building can reach anywhere within six to ten minutes. This is how Rolex achieves greatness. Order, in every little aspect of production. That is the Rolex way.
Breitling is a widely popular watch brand that has made quite the impression with its state of the art timepieces. The origins of the Breitling brand can be traced back to 1884 when its founder Leon Breitling started a workshop in St. Imier in the Bernese Jura region of Switzerland. The brand created chronographs as well as timers.
In the year 1892, due to the increasing success of the brand’s watches, Léon moved his company to the watchmaking capital of Switzerland (and also the world), La Chaux-de-Fonds. This led to the setting up of the “L. Breitling, Montbrillant Watch Manufactory”. It was a essentially a large building where the workshops would go on to operate for the next eighty years.
On 30th November, 1982, after the registration of Breitling Montres SA, the watch company relocated its headquarters to Grenchen. The occasion demanded something special and that is exactly what happened. The brand launched the newly re-designed Chronomat. The watch went on to become an icon with its soon to become signature rider tabs and automatic chronograph movement.
Breitling touts its products as ‘instruments for professionals’. In order to solidify its claim, the brand chose to put its entire production through the rigorous testing of the COSC. This included both the mechanical as well as the quarts timepieces. To meet these new requirements, Breitling had to set up Breitling Chronométrie in La Chaux de-Fonds, Switzerland.