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Time Bandit: Nicolas Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group

June 18th, 2010 Comments off

Periodically, the Wall Street Journal prints a glossy print magazine called WSJ. that they insert inside the newspaper on a Saturday.  I typically pitch it because it seems kind of “high-end” and I don’t find the Rolls Royce advertisements and fine wine articles to match my tastes (or, more importantly, my budget).  But I was alerted to an article from the magazine that came out last week when I stumbled upon it today.  It is an interesting profile of Nicolas Hayek, a man credited with saving the Swiss watch industry by beating Japan at the design game.

We spend some time talking about design and the fact that certain things can only be impacted at that stage to lower costs.  An example is designing a product that uses fewer parts.  This is exactly what Hayek did in the early 1980s when Swatch became a sensation:

As for the cheap Swiss watch, it already existed. Hayek discovered that two ETA engineers, Elmar Mock and Jacques Müller, had developed a quartz watch with 51 components (as opposed to 151 in the Japanese model). Using automated manufacturing techniques, the watch could be locally produced and sold for under $50. “He was not from the watch industry,” Mock says, “but he had a vision of the vast potential of the project.”

Read more at the link below:

Time Bandit: Nicolas Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group – WSJ. Magazine – WSJ.