In mid September 2015, I was asked to visit the Patek Philippe headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. For the next several blog entries, I’ll continue chronicling my trip.
September 13, 2015
We arrived in Geneva early around 7:30 a.m. After very little sleep on the flight, I am somewhat drowsy considering it is 12:30 a.m. at home. Customs and luggage were a breeze, and I waited in the terminal for my other counterparts from all over the country. I drank some espresso in the airport and met them one by one as they all arrived. I always enjoy drinking “coffee” in Europe as it is straight espresso shots in a tiny cup.
The bus ride to the Swissotel Metropole was quick, and after waiting a few hours for our rooms to be ready, we all went our separate ways. A shower and quick nap later and we all met back up down in the lobby for a walk around the town and lunch. After growing up in the States it’s always amazing to me to travel abroad and see Europe’s architecture and the age of its buildings. Everything has so much character and life. Winding through the narrow streets with bicycles and mopeds zooming by on the cobblestone streets, we stopped briefly in certain areas with great views, or some historical significance.
Finally we made our way to a fantastic pizza place called Da Paulo. The setting reminded me of a New York pizza joint like Angelo’s, where all the tables were close together, traditional wood fired oven, very friendly staff. My table ordered the right way, sharing pizza, gnocchi and pasta. Everything was fresh and tasted delicious. We stayed and chatted for a few hours and then were back on our way around the city. On our way back to the hotel we walked down to Lake Geneva and out onto the geyser pier. It was quite slow going on a very narrow walkway with now rails to speak of and a very slippery surface. But once we made it out, we were able to get some beautiful views of the lake and the city. The water was crystal clear, and apparently during the summer is filled with swimmers and boats enjoying a reprieve from the hot sun. Most of us were fairly tired by this point, and so we finished our walk around the lake back to the hotel. I was able to get about an hour and a half nap, but didn’t want to ruin the night so I forced myself out of bed.
Dinner was very easy, as it was just the 14 guests in our group and two reps from Patek Philippe USA who we work with on a daily basis. We met for drinks in the lobby bar and then dinner at the hotel restaurant, Le Quai-something-something. The colors of the food were out of a Dr. Seuss book. A pink risotto, flavored with beats for an appetizer, followed by three delicious small chicken legs, and then a piece of art they called chocolate mousse. Everyone gets along great in these settings, and I always enjoy getting to know new people in the industry and learn about different markets. There was a great cross section from the industry, including sales reps from Tourneau, other mom-and-pop stores, as well as other next-generation family business owners. One of my favorite aspects about working in the jewelry industry is how relationship driven it is, and getting to know others from all over the country and make new friends is always enjoyable as well. After dinner I made my way back to my room to sleep. Luckily, I slept uninterrupted until breakfast the next morning.