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Swatch

Swatch

Must-have bright coloured watches
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Swatch
29 March 2024

The number one manufacturer of finished watches in the world

The Swatch brand – a combination of the two words Second and Watch – is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss watchmaking group of the same name, The Swatch Group. Headquartered in the Swiss town of Neuchâtel, the group focuses on the manufacture and sale of chronometers and watch movements, but is also active in the development of electronic systems and components for both the watch industry and other industries.

The Swatch Group was founded in 1983 as Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie, or SMH for short, from the merger of the watch manufacturers ASUAG, or Allgemeine Schweizer Uhrenindustrie, and SSIH, Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère. Both companies had previously fallen into economic difficulties in the wake of the so-called quartz crisis, when cheap quartz watches from Asia flooded the markets and made it difficult for traditional watch manufacturers to survive.

Like a phoenix from the ashes

SMH was set up on the initiative of Swiss watch enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Nicolas George Hayek and Stephan Schmidheiny as a counteroffensive against the sheer overwhelming power of cheap Asian competition. The plan is working. Swiss companies with a long tradition rise like a phoenix from the ashes and successfully position themselves against their competitors from the Far East, especially with mechanical luxury timepieces. Hayek, who chaired the Board of Directors of the Group – now the world’s number one manufacturer of finished watches – until his death in 2010, is therefore also regarded as the savior of the Swiss watch industry.

In 1998, the group changes its name to The Swatch Group. Today, the group includes almost 40 subsidiaries in about 50 countries worldwide, as well as many well-known brands in a wide range of price categories. The most prominent representatives of the prestige and luxury segment are certainly the Swiss watchmakers of Breguet, Longines and Omega, but also the German watch manufacturer of Union Glashütte. The mid-price segment is represented by Swiss companies such as Balmain, Mido and Tissot, while the basic segment is represented by Flik Flak and – last but not least – Swatch, of course.

The Swatch Group owes its legendary name to the unique success story of Swatch, which has earned a place among the consumer product brands with the greatest global recognition.

The Swatch Group

The bird of paradise among watch manufacturers

The first Swatch watches appeared on the market in 1983. With a new and contemporary marketing concept, the Swiss brand successfully stands up to its competition from the Far East. Under the leadership of Nicolas George Hayek, Swatch focuses on emotionality and establishes its timepieces as modern fashion accessories, as casual Second Watches. Swatch succeeds in striking a chord with the times and, with its varied and bold collections, stands out from the hitherto rather uniform image of a dusty watch industry – the bird of paradise among manufacturers of ready-made watches.

Again and again, Swatch succeeds in setting new trends. Flashy watches made of plastic, appearing in collections that change every six months. Small watches, large watches, wall clocks, cheap watches. But also exclusive, limited edition models with metal and platinum cases, diamond bezels, with mechanical movements and a wide variety of functions – including, of course, interesting chronograph models for the aviation-loving public on the ground and in the cockpit. The range of products is colorful in the truest sense of the word. Watches from Swatch enjoy great popularity around the globe, both among everyday wearers and collectors.

More from Swatch

More information at swatch.com

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