Swatch Group plans new factories

The world’s largest watchmaker Swatch Group is planning to build new factories in different parts of Switzerland and to expand its work force.

This content was published on September 4, 2010 minutes

The group’s chief executive, Nick Hayek, told the French-language newspaper Le Temps in an interview published on Saturday that land for the new works had already been bought.

The new employees were required “not tomorrow, but today”, he said.

He expressed his conviction that the watch-making industry was set to grow in 2011, possibly by as much as five or ten per cent, despite the pessimism of some economists.

Swatch itself would achieve a turnover of SFr1 billion ($98 million)) in 2011, he predicted, and other companies within the group - Longines, Tissot and Breguet - were close to the same result.

China, where Swatch is still very young, is a promising market, where some 300 million people are now well enough off to buy one, or several, Swatch watches.

“People must stop thinking that the future of watch making lies exclusively at the very top of the range,” Hayek said.

“In order to nourish and invigorate this segment, you need an industrial base that is very active at the bottom of the range as well.

”A presence at all price levels is at the heart of the Swatch Group’s strategy, he said

Asked about his feelings two months after the death of his father Nicolas, the founder of the group, he said that while the pain and sadness were still there, he also felt “optimism and inspiration, given everything that [Nicolas] had done during his life”.

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