The TeamChronoswiss is a small watchmaking team operating out of our atelier in Lucerne. The secret behind an independent watch brand is its different talents and personalities – and here is a presentation of the people that make Chronoswiss tick. If you want to see our watchmakers in action, try our new espresso machine or learn more about modern mechanical watchmaking you are welcome to visit our atelier at Löwenstrasse in the beautiful city of Lucerne.
Owner and Director
With Chronoswiss since 2012, Oliver Ebstein is fulfilling a long-time dream of running his own independent company while satisfying his horological interest. This entrepreneur and lover of anything mechanical makes the business flourish through a teamwork of different mindsets. “You should always hire people that are better than you are. Why hire excellent people if you don’t let them be the experts?” he says. Were the days longer than 24 hours, Oliver would love to spend more time “putting things together in my garage, be it watch-related or welding.”
Maik is not a watchmaker. But after almost four decades as a jeweller, dial maker and watch designer he sure knows how to design a timepiece from scratch. Fascinated by the watch industry’s combination of CNC and handwork, he brought Chronoswiss into its modern mechanical era with his three-dimensional designs and excellent artisanal skills in guilloché and enamelling. His casual jeans style hint at a rock ’n’ roll heart, which is also implied in his design philosophy: “At an independent company you can do beautiful things that you like – you are not run by marketing or numbers.”
After 25 years in the industry, Beat knows both how to sell a watch and how to manufacture one. With “reachable and personal” as his mantra, he patiently guides clients and partners to find the right models while building long-term relationships. Being extremely focused, he also finds the time to co-create campaigns, and gets work done behind the scenes. When not in the office, you will find Beat cycling or running up near vertical mountain passes or swimming through Switzerland’s scenic lakes.
With the loupe wrapped around her head Ute scrutinizes the dials, cases, hands, bands and every visible miniscule part of every watch before it goes out into the world of watch aficionados and collectors. With a background in textiles she took her precision game to the next level six years ago when she started at Chronoswiss. Her widely known calm and patience are needed to spot mistakes – which are rare, but unavoidable. “We are all humans, things can slip by us – nobody is without fault.”
A Lucerne native and family man, Claudio Frei has been an accountant for more than a decade, a valuable experience that he is now bringing to the watch industry. “I like calculating and working with numbers; it suits me to be very accurate and exact. I like paying attention to all the details,” he says.
He prefers to work for small, independent family companies like Chronoswiss. Why? “You can be freer in how you set up your work, and you have more impact.” Being Lucerne born and bred, it comes as no surprise that Claudio is a very big fan of the Carnival, playing the trumpet in a Guggenmusik group.
With 33 years as a watchmaker Karin builds new watches and prototypes and resolves technical problems. “A mechanical watch is not only beautiful, it is technically interesting and alive,” she says. Her dexterous fingers and concentrated gaze entail what you can only get with experience: She simply knows what spaces and tolerances are needed, how to make extremely precise adjustments and how to conduct a reality check on a new design before signing off for production. Being a perfectionist at heart helps, too.
After 20 years at Chronoswiss, developing mainly the important montage of Chronoswiss bracelets, Suzana’s tasks expanded, and they now also include administrative work behind the scenes. Always up for learning something new and loving the mix between practical work with her hands and on the computer, she praises the atmosphere in the team. “That’s why I am still here after all these years: We are like a family – and I love the watches,” she says.
Innovative, modern mechanical watches with unique designs are just the start. If you also want to see them on collectors’ wrists, you must be both reactive and proactive. It sounds simple, but it takes a huge commitment – especially when partners and clients are located in all time zones. Thankfully the passion-driven Massimiliano has the comprehensive knowledge and the focused strain needed to sustain long-term relationships that are constantly developing – and he loves the close teamwork of an ambitious, independent company.
With 22 years in the watch industry the ever-elegant Martina is a well-known figure on the German watch circuit. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, and her extensive knowledge is put to use when educating partners about the colourful limited edition regulators from Lucerne. She is also appreciated for helping out with shop displays, events and other marketing activities. If she were to describe herself with a Chronoswiss watch it would be the Regulator Night and Day: colourful with so much going on, but still very harmonious.
Watchmaker and Patination
An introverted mountain lover six years into his watchmaking career, Swiss-American Kevin loves being part of the team at a small independent watchmaker like Chronoswiss. Unlike in big companies, you get to work on the whole watch when you are one of a few watchmakers. He loves the problem-solving nature of watchmaking, and he is passionate about chemically achieving patinas and textures – expect unexpected experimental dials in the near future! According to Kevin you cannot judge a dog by its hair, but you can – to a certain extent – judge the owner by his or her watch.
After four decades in the industry, including six years as CEO of Ulysse Nardin, Patrik Hoffmann was supposed to retire in 2017. Now he does take the time to ski in the Swiss Alps or to tend olive trees on the Greek island of Mykonos, but his fascination for handmade mechanical watches made it impossible to stay completely away from the industry. “A truly independent company with great team spirit, hand guilloché, and contemporary polarizing designs – Chronoswiss is not like any other watch brand out there.”
Marketing and Communication
With almost two decades in PR, Christina has built a global network of long-standing relationships – a necessity when it comes to spreading the word about Chronoswiss. She loves the freedom and the lack of hierarchy in a small independent company, as well as the challenges: “Since we are a small team that does not have the same resources as huge brands, we just have to be more creative and focused. Everybody on the team walks that extra mile.” Sport, nature and travel are Christina’s go-to’s for life-work balance.
Jolanta has been with the brand for 30 years, thus she is a treasured encyclopedia for anything Chronoswiss. Take to heart her words of wisdom: “Service your watch at regular intervals. Because when you look after your watch, you will have a wonderful product that will live on for hundreds of years.” Still amazed and enthusiastic about our watchmaking, she particularly loves the Ocean – both the Open Gear watch and the big blue, the latter preferably approached from an Italian beach.
Isabelle Ruckstuhl, one of the newest team members, joined the team in the Chronoswiss Lucerne atelier in February 2021. “After meeting my future colleagues, I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of this team. I want to enjoy what I am doing and to look forward to work every day.”
Her decades of experience in marketing and events management have already proven to be invaluable in the ongoing implementation of improved e-commerce, digital presentations and overall procedures. “A well-functioning team can achieve even very ambitious goals - and have a lot of fun at the same time,” she says.
On a “Schnuppertag” – Swiss German for testing day – Michael realised the multitude of tasks a watchmaker faces every day, and he got hooked. Spending his next four years in watchmaking school laid the foundation for a position at Chronoswiss. After five years of building and repairing watches he became responsible for the supply chain ranging from complete movements to single parts. A calm, dependable team player and a stickler for details, he loves the semi-public space of the Lucerne atelier. “This is the future: Less business, more casual and people can come in and learn what watchmaking is really all about.”
In 2017 Tanja made a career change from behemoth IT to small-scale independent watchmaking, and she never looked back. Not only did it take her to beautiful Lucerne, but now she can see and be part of all the steps, from initial designs to the communal buzz in the atelier when the first specimen of a new watch model gets assembled. Her happy extroverted character couples perfectly with today’s fast and informal contacts with clients and suppliers. When she clocks out, she jumps on her bike or laces up her hiking boots – in Lucerne you have nature on your doorstep.