The Swiss watch planet in movement – Part 4

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November 2010

“We have to end the watchmaking supermarket.”
When questioned by Bastien Buss (Le Temps, 4th September 2010), this quote summed up the opinion of Nick Hayek, Director and Administrator of the Swatch Group, now presided over by his sister Nayla. Questioned two months after the death of his father, Hayek Jr repeated his determination “to stop delivery to some of our competitors who unabashedly draw from our industrial tool and who dupe their consumers.”

Hayek went on to vigorously declare that these brands, “not only lie to their clients but that a traffic in ETA movements also exists among the brands, a sort of parallel market that opens the door to all sorts of abuse.” To support his assertions, he brought up the example of an ETA-made Valjoux movement that came in for after-sales service with “no less than four coded inscriptions from other watch brands outside of the Swatch Group, some of which are very well known to the public,” including movement blanks sold and resold by subcontractors and their brands.

The threat of discontinuing deliveries of ETA movements is becoming more serious even if, as Hayek himself stated, “it will perhaps take some time but we are quite hopeful that an agreement will be reached with COMCO [the Swiss commission for overseeing competition].”

And “time” is exactly what watch brands that are launching into the movement arena need—time to create their own in-house calibres capable of replacing the indestructible ETA and Valjoux workhorses.

It has become rather impossible to do a complete analysis of what is happening in the domain of the movement, as we had promised in the last issue, because literally every day or at least every week, new movement initiatives are announced, with varying degrees of truthfulness. Thus, in this article, we examine a few of the more serious projects, nearly all of which will reach maturity this autumn.

Source: Europa Star October - November 2010 Magazine Issue