Beat Stilled
June 28, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Nicholas Hayek, the founder of the Swatch Group, has died, age 82.

There is a bustling community of Swatch collectors and plenty of artists were involved. There is a Swatch-clopedia.

The list of original 99 owners of the Mimmo Paladino limited edition Swatch may be the only time Prince, Woody Allen and Silvio Bersluconi were on the same page.

Hayek's Swatch also tried to redefine time in 1998 with "Beat," or "Swatch Internet Time", which didn't exactly catch on.

For Hayek: @.
posted by chavenet (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I still have a quite nice, simple Swatch pocket watch. Black case, white dial, black numerals and hands. Nice and minimal, actually.

posted by Thorzdad at 12:00 PM on June 28, 2010

Now that was an innovative vision that changed how watches were percieved, especially from Switzerland, at a time when they were making high priced mechanical lifetime owned objects and were under threat from Casio et al's cheap digital throwaways.

posted by infini at 12:00 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man! And reading Accelerando (where time is always expressed as prefix + seconds) has been making me nostalgic for Beat time. Won't someone liberate us from the hegemony of sexagesimal time and time zones?
posted by Eideteker at 12:07 PM on June 28, 2010

He doesn't need to worry about time anymore. RIP.

I had a bunch of funky Swatches in junior high, and yes, there were occasions where more than one was worn. I hardly ever wear a watch anymore thanks to mobile phones, but Swatches really captured a moment in fashion history.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:17 PM on June 28, 2010

Wonder what brand of watch they used to record his time of death.. Probably some anonymous Chinese mass-manufacturer. :-/
posted by pyrex at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2010

posted by Smart Dalek at 12:35 PM on June 28, 2010


I love my Swatch group watch.

On a related note, Hayek was causing quite a stir by planning on cutting the world off from his ETA (the world's biggest supplier of mechanical watch movements) ebauches. By refusing to sell the ebauches to non-Swatch companies, he would effectively force many many watch companies to either give up, develop their own in-house movements, or go to cheaper Asian manufacturers. If I'm not mistaken, the cut off date was going to be July 1.
posted by reverend cuttle at 12:40 PM on June 28, 2010

It's also worth noting that the Swatch group makes more than funky plastic watches. They own very impressive top tier Swiss luxury watch brands Hamilton, Omega, Longines, Blancpain, Glashuette Original, and Breguet, among others. Here are some stunning examples.
posted by reverend cuttle at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2010

Swiss craftsmansahip. Dial cover welded on by laser. Made in a non-third world non-slave labour country. RIP.
Current and past wearer and fan since '84.
posted by buzzman at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2010

Here's to all my ETA movements.

posted by hal_c_on at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2010

<?php if (date('YmdB',time())>='20100628000') { exit(); } ?>
posted by ardgedee at 1:58 PM on June 28, 2010


Will he be buried with two pastel plastic bands braided over his face?
posted by straw man special at 2:27 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Parker, Mikey and Jerry are staring sadly at their outstretched, unadorned wrists in tribute.
posted by Spatch at 10:25 PM on June 28, 2010

Know who thought Swatches were the bee's knees? H.R. Giger. He imagined one such that the face could have bands fastened in both directions and weaved together to make things like face masks and arm bands. Also, furniture.
posted by bDiddy at 8:01 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by mouthnoize at 12:35 PM on June 29, 2010

Time for him to met the great clockworker

posted by bussiere at 4:10 AM on June 30, 2010

So this is the guy that was behind convincing the ignorant masses that the absolutely needed an analog watch to prove their worth? That any but the lowliest would bow to fashion (gag) and never wear a lowly, functional, useful, digital watch?

Amazing work, really. All the more reason why I insist on digital only, and not even some silly hybrid.
posted by Goofyy at 4:13 AM on June 30, 2010

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