Austria is one of the most important markets for the Swatch Group AG. Many of the concepts developed and implemented in Austria under Nicolas G. Hayek have set an example for numerous other sites. For instance, since April 2001 the Swatch Group Austria has been responsible for delivering luxury watches to a number of countries in the European Union. To meet the requirements for producing luxury watch brands, the company has set up workshops, fitted expressly for this purpose, in which specially trained watchmakers adhere to high service standards. In addition, Austria supplies the Swatch Group with a wide range of products – in particular leather straps for watches in the top price category.
Nicolas G. Hayek
Nicolas G. Hayek is not only a co-founder but also the CEO and Chairman of the Swatch Group AG based in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. He played a key role in the company’s revival (watch brands: Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original, Léon Hatot, Omega, Rado, Longines, Union, Tissot, Calvin Klein, Certina, Mido, Pierre Balmain, Hamilton, Swatch, Flik Flak, and Endura; 158 production facilities primarily in
Switzerland) and in the 1980s developed the strategies that led to this success. His greatest achievements in the Swatch Group AG include the strategic decision to launch Swatch, the further development of all of the Group’s own watch brands, and the company`s elevation to Number One in the global watch industry, with sales of over four billion Swiss francs.
This has also entailed opening separate Swatch Group
branches in important countries all over the world, including Austria, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, and Singapore.
The “Grosses Ehrenzeichen mit Stern der Republik Österreich” is just one of many awards that Nicolas G. Hayek has received for creating and maintaining employment and production facilities. In November 1996 the department of law and economics at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) awarded him an honorary doctorate. This was followed in 1998 by the same honor from the University of Bologna (Italy) in recognition of the contribution he – with Swatch – has made to communications.
At the beginning of 1995, Helmut Kohl, who was then the German Chancellor, appointed Mr. Hayek to his council for research, technology, and innovation for the future in Germany and Europe. This council, presided over by Mr. Kohl, also included prestigious German personalities from the world of politics, business, industry, and research, with Mr. Hayek being the only foreigner.
In the spring of 1996, Jean-Pierre Raffarin – at that time the French minister for small and medium-sized companies – appointed Mr. Hayek as president of the innovation council for France, called the “Groupe de reflexion sur l’innovation”.
In addition to this, he acts as an adviser to several European governments. In 2000, for instance, he worked on the “IOC 2000” commission of the International Olympic
Committee in Lausanne (Switzerland), where he played a part in restructuring the Olympic movement for the future. Since May 2001 he has been a member of the
European Commission’s “Brussels Capital of Europe” working group, which is chaired by Romano Prodi.
In addition to his position as CEO and Chairman of the Swatch Group, Nicolas G. Hayek also holds the same positions at Hayek Engineering AG based in Zurich
The Swatch Group Austria
The Swatch Group Austria was founded as SMH Austria in 1994, since when it has assumed responsibility for marketing 12 watch brands – Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, and Omega – representing the prestige and luxury market segment. The segment at the top end of the market includes the Glashütte, Rado, and Longines watch brands, while the mid-market segment includes Union, Tissot, cK Watches, and Certina, and the basic market segment is represented by Swatch and Flik Flak.