Nicolas Hayek Tribute

I worked for the Swatch Group many many years ago. I was already a watch obsessive and I loved Swatch. I was quite the tragic. So, it was sad to hear of the passing of Nicolas Hayek this week, credited with saving the entire Swiss watch industry.

Luxury plays its role in creating desire, defining categories and setting fashion trends. It’s hard to imagine a luxury market without the watch category and without brands like Omega, Longines, Rado and Bregeut. Proving that the profit is at the lower end of the market these brands and many others were saved by a plastic watch.

Nicolas Hayek invented the Swatch concept to compete against inexpensive Japanese time pieces that were decimating the Swiss watch industy. It was genius product design. The mechanism was built into the plastic case making it super tough and mass producible. Seasonal ranges made the brand exciting, cute, fashionable, fun and sometimes even controversial. Swatch was a design triumph and celebrated designers and artists alike with special editions.

I think the brand plays it a bit safe these days, but in its day it was a revelation of product and graphic design.

Thank you Mr Hayek.

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