The Father of Swatch :: Nicolas Hayek

Nicolas Hayek

The changing Swatch group makes many types of watches and can be called a legend in watch industry. But who created this legend? The answer is: Nicolas Hayek (1928–2010). Hayek is known as the father of “Swatch.” From his owl-like face we can see his extraordinary wisdom. It was him who created the SMH group, the predecessor of Swatch (SHM group officially changed its name into Swatch group in 1983), saved the Swiss watch industry at the very emergency time, meanwhile, it created the legend of Swatch group’s rising.

Hayek was an entrepreneur whose wealth is as high as 2.4 billion dollars, ranked the sixth richest man in Switzerland and 168th in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. However, wealth wass just one of his glories. The prestige of Hayek is most from his innovative feat of saving the Swiss watch industry. In the early 1980s, when Swiss watch industry still floundered by the strong impact of the Japanese counterparts, Hayek came up with the famous slogan “each person should have a watch”, which saved Swiss watch industry from the big recession. However, the watch in his hand at that time was Swatch. A few years later, Hayek convinced SSAH and ASUAG merged into one company, thus, the predecessor of the Swatch — SMH group was founded. What’s more, Hayek also made some significant improvements and breakthroughs about the Swiss watch manufacturing crafts, so, the famous vibrant plastic Swatch watches was born in the ancient clock kingdom, it resisted the big impact of Japanese low cost products.

During the five years after SMH group was established, Hayek took a series of measures, such as merging company and buying controlling interest, which made Swatch group become the highest sales watch company. After six years’ time, the artisans of Swatch brand Blancpain developed the most complex works in watch’s history—Blancpain 1735 series, this watch integrating all functions of the six classic series into a movement.

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