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Swiss Made

Swatch Group is a Swiss conglomerate in the watch industry. The company owns a number of watchmakers, including its namesake Swatch, as well as several other well-known Swiss brands. The company’s portfolio of brands is diverse and covers a range of timepieces from luxury to mass market offerings. It is headquartered in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, and its shares are listed on the SIX.

The Quartz Crisis and the Swatch

During the 70s and 80s period, inexpensive quartz watches from Asia, particularly Japan, were flooding the market, severely impacting the Swiss watch industry. In response, two large Swiss watch companies, ASUAG and SSIH, were merged to compete against the influx of cheap and precise watches.

The name "Swatch" is a contraction of "Second Watch" – conceived as a more casual, affordable, and fashionable alternative to traditional watches. The Swatch watch was innovative in its design and manufacturing - it was made with fewer parts, used plastic in a novel way, and was produced with a fully automated assembly process.

The success of Swatch watches helped revive the Swiss watch industry. The profits and success of the Swatch enabled the company to acquire several high-end Swiss watch companies that were struggling financially.

The Group’s Brands

Swatch Group's business encompasses a spectrum of watch brands, each targeting different market segments. High-end brands within the group, such as Breguet, Omega, and Blancpain, are recognized for their intricate craftsmanship and long-standing heritage. The middle range of the Swatch Group's portfolio includes brands like Longines, Rado, and Tissot. These brands strike a balance between quality and price, making them accessible to a wider audience. At the more affordable end, the Swatch brand itself is still going strong and offers watches characterized by modern designs and approachable price points.

Integrating Vertically

The Swatch Group's approach to manufacturing is marked by a significant degree of vertical integration. The company not only designs and assembles its watches but also produces many of the components required to manufacture watch movements, an incredibly complicated and expensive endeavor. This level of control over the supply chain and production process is a key aspect of its operations, and Swatch Group also sells its movements to smaller, independent watchmakers. The company’s watches are sold at authorized dealers, or through the company’s stores. Some other publicly traded companies operating partially in the same sector are LVMH and Richemont. However, these companies are diversified while Swatch has a focus more or less solely on watches.