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Swatch Internet Time

Biel / Bienne, October 23, 1998: Swatch creates an universal time

On October 23, 1998, the Swatch brand created a revolution: it reinvented time by launching a universal time, Swatch Internet Time. This divides a 24-hour day into 1000 beats (each beat corresponding to 1 minute and 26.4 seconds) and enables all the earth’s inhabitants to experience the same time at the same moment, wherever they happen to be, and irrespective of whether it is daytime or nighttime. This invention meets the requirements of today’s lifestyle, punctuated by meetings demanding a global concept of time that eliminates time zones and geographic separation, and whose conversion to traditional time is as easy as conversion into local currency.

At the launch ceremony for Swatch Internet Time – which took place in Biel / Bienne in the presence of Nicolas G. Hayek, then Swatch Group CEO, Nick Hayek, then managing director of the Swatch brand, and Nicholas Negroponte, founder and director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge (USA) – a new meridian was established, Biel Mean Time (BMT) at 500 beats or noon, winter time, in Biel.

Trying to Figure Out Internet Time. An educational cartoon by Martin Garner, 2000.


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Swatch Internet Time