In the seventies hit quartzkrisen to with full force. The Swiss watch industry was about to go under before a driven entrepreneur took the plunge and it created that saved virtually the entire industry; Swatch.
The Swiss watch industry was feeling the least good for 50-and 60-century. As well as the Swedish base industries was the original Switzerland largely unscathed by the ravages of the second world war the Swiss urtillverkarna in the fifties had more than 90% of the market. The clocks produced looked almost out and acted as they have always done; with springs and gears. During the fifties the synthesis experiments with electronic watches, but without any great success. The bells were too unreliable, vague and expensive. In the sixties took mainly Swiss engineers and scientists developed quartztekniken which current is passed through a quartz crystal for accurate and reliable timekeeping. The conservative Swiss watch industry largely rejected the idea, and chose instead to continue with the labour-intensive mechanical technique always used – the assumption was simply that customers wouldn’t bother watches with the new technology.
Part of the industry, however, realized the potential of quartztekniken were the Japanese, who, with his lack of history and refinement has long been regarded as inferior to the Swiss Watchmakers. For example, Japanese companies had not even admitted to the Basel fair until 1987. With its rapidly growing and soon leading industry including Electronics manufacture realized the Japanese (and especially Citizen and Seiko) technology’s potential and released 1969 the first quartzklockan, Seiko Astron. One year later, the first volume models on the market, and Japanese manufacturers pumped out lots of cheap, exact watches. 1978 it was sold for the first time, more Japanese battery-powered than mechanical Swiss watches. In 1980 was the Swiss watch industry was condemned after the devastating combination of expensive Swiss francs, financial crisis in the world and fierce competition from low-cost Japanese watches. After ten years it remained only a third of the companies and employees who were active before the “Quartzkrisen” struck.
Swatch Once Again
In the early eighties, the Swiss admitted defeat after many of the industry’s major forced to its knees and gone into liquidation or been forced to merge – you had to meet the competition. ETA planned a work that would be as easy and cheap as possible where the solution was to integrate in the case, in practice, make the back to work the bottom and minimize the number of parts. Together with engineers and marketing genius Nicolas Hayek revealed that not only settle for a production technology and Bell model, but chose to go all the way and create a new brand and market segments. The theme was simple; thin watches made entirely of plastic, with the low price and exciting colors and patterns that were less finesse and more a fun accessory. The name became Swatch for “Second watch”-a simple, cheap and fun alternative.
1983 released the first clocks that immediately became a success. Ur-Swatchen was clean and simple, and are still (in a few different sizes and a variety of colors). Extratunna (Skin) or sportier (Scuba) variants were released soon, as well as 1980s icon Pop Swatch that both could be worn on their wrist or be attached to clothes. To date, nearly 400 million watches were sold, and no year since its introduction has less than a million copies sold.
There are at least a Swatch for every taste – but most interesting is almost when you step out of the snikfållan, such as the guldvariant brand made to the Atlanta Olympics, which also came in a specialset with ditto watches in silver as well as bronze, and Tresor Magique, a cat platinavariant to the brand’s tenth anniversary in 1993. In recent years, the brand has taken the entire range of upmarket including more mechanical models as well as an automatic kronografserie, but the coolest thing is still the original model that is disarmingly underrated but nevertheless a very conscious choice.
Swatch in gold
Swatch in Platinum
Swatch Right Track