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Watches, Sun and Wind

Today I was on a staff excursion into the Swiss Jura, which I had organised together with a colleague for the team of our Marketing and Communication department. About 30 persons came for the tour. As the train entered the mountains the clouds dispersed and gave way for a beautiful clear autumn sky. We stopped at Saint Imier, where the world-famous watch enterprise Longines is located.

The Longines building

We had the good luck that the “patron”, the director of Longines himself gave us the presentation – thanks to the good relations of my colleague who knew him personally. A very impressive presentation about how Longines has worked over 160 years building up not just a watch empire, but emotions about watches. He showed us the many stars and sports-people working as “ambassadors of elegance”, high-ranking names from the fields of cinema, sport, adventurers (Lindbergh proposed to Longines the development of a special watch for his first transatlantic flight in 1929…). So glamour is not just a casual emotional result, but the outcome of long-lasting and highly directional strategies.

Later we had a guided tour through the Longines museum – fascinating watches and insights into how chronometers developed over the last 150 years.

A watch-angel from the beginning of last century in Art-Deco style

A golden pocket-watch with masonic symbols and a diamond in the cover

An Art-Deco watch with birds

Every watch since the beginning carries the same logo, a number by which it can be identified, and the details are registered in books with the name of the seller, the date and the price – hundred-thousands of watches – a unique library.

The guide in the room with the watch-registries

Later we had our lunch in the village and then proceeded to the “funiculaire”, a funicular railway driven by solar energy bringing us up to the “Mont Soleil”, the sun mountain – and really, it was very sunny today.

The Funicular

After a 20 minutes walk we arrived at the solar energy park, where they are testing different kinds of photovoltaic systems as per their efficiency.

Two guides gave us insights into the technologies and difficulties of creating energy from the sun.

A beautiful reflection on the surface of a sun collector

In the background and farther away on the mountain there was a park with wind turbines – the only one up to now in Switzerland.

We had a 30 minutes walk along the mountain and stopped at a barn, where a farmer woman had prepared for us a little picnic with different kinds of cheese, bread, water and wine from the area. A bus then picked us up and brought us to Biel, from where we returned by train to Berne.

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