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“Swatch” began the development in the early 1980s under the leadership of the then CEO of ETA SA, Ernst Thomke with a small team of watch engineers under the direction of Elmar Mock and Jacques Müller.
The marketing consultant hired by Thomke, who was designed from the outset as a standard timer in plastic, was looking for a projector that wanted a professional watch series with a full brand identity and marketing concept.
Swatch was originally intended to capture the entry market share lost by Swiss manufacturers during the quartz crisis and the subsequent growth of Japanese companies such as Seiko and Citizen in the 1960s and 1970s, and to digitize analogue clocks at a time, Watches had gained great popularity.
The first collection of twelve Swatch models was launched on March 1, 1983 in Zurich, Switzerland. Initially, the price ranged from CHF 39.90 to CHF 49.90, but was standardized to CHF 50.00 in the autumn of the same year. The sales targets were set at one million watches for 1983 and 2.5 million a year later. With an aggressive marketing campaign and a relatively low price for a Swiss watch, it has gained immediate popularity in the home market. Compared to conventional watches, a Swatch was 80% cheaper to produce by fully automating the assembly and reducing the number of parts from the usual 91 or more to just 51 components.
The Lebanese entrepreneur Nicolas G. Hayek, who, with a group of Swiss investors, took over Swatch in the newly consolidated group under the name of Societe Suisse de Microelectronique et d’Horlogerie or SMH in 1985, became Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO in the year In 1986 (who later changed his name significantly to the Swatch Group), he continued his development to reach his now world-wide Swiss watch brand status at the lower end of the watch prices.
This combination of marketing and manufacturing competence restored Switzerland as the main player in the world watch market. Synthetic materials, a new ultrasonic welding process and assembly technology were used for the watch cases. The number of components was reduced from 91 or more to 51 without loss of accuracy.
Swatch Swiss Watches website