By Pierre-Yves Donzé (auth.)

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Additional resources for A Business History of the Swatch Group: The Rebirth of Swiss Watchmaking and the Globalization of the Luxury Industry

Sample text

18 They feature a uniform design and atmosphere throughout the world and are generally located on the main shopping streets of the planet’s major metropolises, like the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York, and Ginza in Tokyo. In the case of the Swatch Group, these flagship stores were first introduced with the Swatch brand, the first Megastore opening in 1996, in New York. The following year, the Swatch Group opened some 60 Swatch Stores all over the world, doubling the number of outlets selling the brand in one fell swoop.

The expansion and modernization of production facilities also took the form of the acquisition of companies, primarily existing subcontractors of the Swatch Group. Apart from assembly plants in Asia and America, which will be covered below, mention should Rationalization of the Production System 41 be made of the purchase of two Swiss firms, Georges Ruedin SA, a watchcase maker (1989) and Méco SA, a crown maker (1990). In France, the Swatch Group acquired two parts makers, Régis Mainier SA (1987) and the Marc Vuilleumier workshop (1990), which were subsequently merged into the Fabrique de fournitures de Bonnétage SA (1991), as well as the company Frésard Composants SA (1991).

This internationalization was primarily driven by the development of factories in the Far East. The share of Swatch Group employees living in Asia was 21 per cent in 1992 and 33 per cent in 1998. These figures include not only workers in the Swatch Group’s Asian factories but also employees of sales companies and after-sales service networks. However, in view of the fact that sales companies in Asia did not really take off until after 2000, it is no exaggeration to say that more than one-fourth of all Swatch Group employees were Asian workers in the second half of the 1990s.

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