The Swatch Group

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For other uses, see Swatch (disambiguation).
Swatch Group Ltd.
Type Public
Traded as
Industry
  • Watch making
  • Movement manufacturing
  • Jewelry manufacturing
  • Retailing
Predecessor(s) ASUAG + SSIH
Founded 1983 (1983)
Founder(s) Nicolas Hayek
Headquarters Biel, Switzerland
Area served Worldwide
Key people
Revenue CHF 8.817 billion (2013)[1]
Operating income CHF 2.314 billion (2013)[1]
Profit CHF 1.928 billion (2013)[1]
Total assets CHF 11.633 billion (2013)[1]
Total equity CHF 9.574 billion (2013)[1]
Employees 33,600 (2013)
Subsidiaries
Website swatchgroup.com

Swatch Group Ltd. designs, manufactures, distributes and sells finished watches, watch movements, watch components, electronic systems and jewelry. Based in Biel, Switzerland, The Swatch Group was formed in 1983 through merger of two Swiss watch manufacturers: ASUAG and SSIH. Formerly SMH Swiss Corporation for Microelectronics and Watchmaking Industries Ltd, the company took its present name in 1998. The Swatch Group is led by G. Nicolas (Nick) Hayek, Jr., son of the late co-founder and chairman Nicolas Hayek.

In 2013, gross sales were CHF 8.817 billion, up 8.3% on 2012 results.

Worldwide, The Swatch Group employs over 33,600 people in 50 countries.

History[edit]

The Swatch Group formed from two financially troubled predecessor companies, SSIH and ASUAG.

SSIH[edit]

SSIH originated in 1930 with the merger of the Omega and Tissot companies. Swiss watch quality was high, but new technology such as the Hamilton Electric watch introduced in 1957 and the Bulova Accutron tuning fork watch introduced in 1961 presaged increasing high technology competition.

In the late 1970s SSIH became insolvent due in part to a recession and in part to heavy competition from inexpensive Asian made quartz crystal watches. These difficulties occurred even though it had become Switzerland's largest and the world's third largest producer of watches. Its creditor banks assumed control in 1981.

ASUAG[edit]

ASUAG, formed in 1931, was the world's largest producer of watch movements and the parts thereof (Balance wheels, Balance Springs (Spiral), Assortments, Watch Stones ("rubis"). ASUAG had also integrated an array of Watch brand in 1972 into a sub holding company, General Watch Co.

ASUAG failed similarly in 1982.

Reorganization[edit]

Both groups were reorganized and merged into SSIH/ASUAG Holding Company in 1983. Taken private, in 1985, by then CEO Nicolas Hayek, with the understanding of the Swiss Banks and the financial assistance of a group of Swiss private investors, it was renamed SMH in 1986, and ultimately Swatch Group Ltd in 1998.

The launch of the new "Swatch" brand watch in 1983, by the then ETA SA CEO Ernst Thomke and his young team of engineers, was marked by bold new styling and design. The quartz watch was redesigned for manufacturing efficiency and fewer parts. This combination of marketing and manufacturing expertise restored Switzerland as a major player in the world wristwatch market.

Important Acquisitions[edit]

Over the years, the Swatch Group has acquired several watchmaker companies such as Blancpain S. A. (founded 1735, bought by Swatch in 1992), Breguet S. A. (founded 1775, bought in 1999) and Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH (Germany, bought in 2000). All three brands are prominent members of its range of products today.

The most recent acquisition was HW Holding Inc., owner of Harry Winston, Inc. in New York, USA, a well-known jewelry and luxury watch company. The transaction closed on 26 March 2013 for 711 million Swiss Francs.[2] Nayla Hayek became CEO. The company bought the world's biggest flawless blue diamond The Winston Blue on May 15,2014.[3]

Brands[edit]

Hamilton Khaki Field Officer H70615133
Swatch Once Again

Watches and Jewelry[4]

Prestige and Luxury Range

High Range

Middle Range

Basic Range

Private label

Movement and component sales[edit]

Swatch subsidiary ETA Manufacture Horlogere, which is based in Grenchen, Switzerland, furnishes many OEM brands, such as LVMH, which markets Tag Heuer, Hublot and Zenith watch lines, and Richemont, which markets amongst others, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Officine Panerai, Piaget SA and Vacheron Constantin.[5]

Electronic Systems[edit]

The Swatch Group Electronic System provides solutions by integrating the individual expertise of the following companies not only for quartz wristwatches, but also Sports and Events Timing (see below) as well as high-tech Ventures such as Belenos Clean Power AG under the same management by Mougahed Darwish:[6]

  • EM Microelectronic-Marin: Designs and produces ultra-low power, low voltage mixed-signal integrated circuits, LCD and modules. IC Product lines include RFID, microcontroller, smart card, ASIC, RTC, reset circuit, watchdog, LCD driver, opto ICs.
  • Micro Crystal: Produces miniature low power quartz crystals and small low power oscillators. Focus is 32.768 kHz SMD and through hole crystals in miniature metal and ceramic package.
  • Renata: Develops and produces micro batteries. Product lines include button cells and rechargeable (Lithium Polymer) batteries. Primary batteries include Silver Oxide Lithium and Zinc-Air technologies.

Sports and Events Timing[edit]

Swiss Timing under brands such as Omega and Longines provide Timing services for Sporting events such as Formula One, Olympic Games and Equestrian events.[7]

The Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School[edit]

The Swatch Group started offering their first class for aspiring watchmakers in September 2005. This school is based out of Miami, Florida. Another school is located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Other watchmaker schools outside the US are situated in Glashütte (Germany), Pforzheim (Germany), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Shanghai (China).

Internet Time and new technologies[edit]

In 1998, Swatch invented "Swatch Internet Time", intended as a global time system, which divides the day into 1000 "beats" in a single worldwide time zone.

In October 2004, Swatch introduced its first smart watch, the Paparazzi, based on Microsoft Corporation's SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology.)

Ventures[edit]

In 1994, Swatch entered into a joint venture with Germany's Daimler AG to produce the Smart, but they later withdrew from this project.[8]

Swatch subsidiary Belenos Clean Power AG entered into a joint venture with the Paul Scherrer Institut in May 2008 to develop a hydrogen fuel cell for a fuel cell powered car.[9] Swatch began test drives of the car in Switzerland in 2012 and plans to bring the car to market by 2015 or 2016.[10]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  • Lewin, Tony. Smart thinking: the little car that made it big. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-1943-X. 

External links[edit]