Swatch was selected as a luxury product designed to

Swatch
is a Swiss watchmaker which was founded in 1983 by Nicolas Hayek. The product
line was developed as a response to Quartz crisis, in which Asian-made digital
watches were competing against traditional European-made mechanical watches.

 

Swatch
group embarked upon a policy of differentiating and repositioning its various
brands, with a view to improving their complementarity and boosting the
company’s ability to compete across all market segments. It made a special
effort at differentiating the Group’s brands of the “affordable luxury”
segment, Omega, Longines, and Rado. The aim was to reinforce each brand’s own
image, thereby generating different yet complementary products targeting
different publics. Omega was selected as a luxury product designed to counter
Rolex and Cartier on world markets. It went on to become Swatch Group’s main
brand.

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As
for Longines, it was repositioned in a less expensive segment and graphically
redesigned as an object of elegance and classicism, which did not complete head
on with the Group’s other products situated in the same product range.

 

The
Swatch Group’s repositioning strategy was part of the overall radical change
which took place in the luxury industry, with the strengthening of the
distinction between exclusive luxury and affordable luxury. This product
distinction made it possible to target different segments and pursue parallel
strategies based on exclusivism and the democratization of luxury.

Before Swatch
was launched in 1983, Swiss watches were marked as a form of jewellery. They
were serious, enduring, expensive and discreetly promoted. A costumer would buy
only one, and it would last a lifetime. Swatch changed all that by defining its
watches as playful fashion accessories. They were fun, inexpensive, and showily
promoted to encourage impulse buying and expand the consumer base. Customers
would often purchase half a dozen in different colours and designs.  Their price -$40 when the brand was
introduced, expanded Swatch’s reach beyond its default category and into the
fashion accessory category, where it was different customers and competitors.

The way in
which Swatch has repositioned itself, disrupted the watch category by creating
a fashion accessory subcategory. By doing so, Swatch not only opened up
uncontested space for its own growth, but it allowed almost all the industry
giants, such a Timex and Citizen, as well as dozens of fashion brands,
including Calvin Klein and Coach, to expand with their own lines of fashion
accessory watches. Fossil, for example, was launched a year after Swatch
specifically to exploit the new market space. Using this design thinking approach
and implementing the various actions that were needed, Swatch has become the
best-selling wrist watch of all time.

Swatch
successfully repositioned itself with an aggressive marketing campaign and
unique design thinking approach and gained instant popularity in its home
market of Switzerland. Compared to conventional watches, a Swatch was 80%
cheaper to produce.

This
combination of marketing and manufacturing expertise restored Switzerland as a
major player in the world wristwatch market.