THE BIRTH OF SWATCH
Summary by Stefan Jonathan Susanto – MM 2015
Ten years ago, bankers and suppliers thought the idea of the Swatch team were crazy and would ruin the industry. The people on Swatch team wanted to design a striking, low-cost, high-quality watch and built it in Switzerland. The team overcome the resistance and in 1993 Swatch was the best-selling watch in the history.
Prior to 1950, watchmaking required the skills of a master jewelry maker and micromechanical engineer. Watches were often bought as investment and it was not uncommon to be handed down from one generation to the next. At this period, the Swiss dominated the watch industry with 80% of the world's total watch production and 99% of all U.S imports. The “Made in Switzerland” label was a global seal of quality, status, and prestige.
In 1951, U.S Time introduced Timex, a line of disposable watches. The traditional jewelers had no interest to distribute Timex watches because the price was too low, lacked the precious metal exteriors of Swiss watches, and they could not be opened, so they generated no after-sales revenues from repair service. By 1970, Timex was selling more watches than any other manufacturer in the world. At about the same time, several Japanese companies (including Hattori-Seiko and Citizen) had taken over the Japanese market. After the successful expansion into other parts of Asia, the Japanese watch manufactures were penetrating into Europe and North America. The result was the Swiss share of the global market declined from 80% in 1946 to just 42% in 1970.
In 1970, the quartz technology was introduced and it changed the competition in the watch industry once again. Leading the production of quartz watches were Japanese manufacturers, in particular, Hattori-Seiko and Citizen. They were soon joined by Casio which specialized in producing low-priced, multifunctional, plastic digital watches. By 1979, Hattori-Seiko was producing 22 million watches annually and...
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