The Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch manufacturer and AOL Time Warner, the international media group, have agreed to ”utilize the strengths of each company in the areas of media, entertainment, technology, sports, timekeeping, and next generation Internet access devices.”
Under the multi-year agreement announced Apr. 26, AOL Time Warner will create ”unique and innovative programs” and promotional initiatives for The Swatch Group’s 18 brands, using online, print and television media, including Time Inc. and AOL. For its part, the Swatch Group will ”strategically develop, promote and market a range of product lines with AOL Time Warner entertainment content.” It will also develop ”next generation Internet enabling technologies” for its watch products and wrist devices with access to AOL Time Warner properties. ”These products will be designed to make Internet access easier and create an additional emotional and exciting experience for the consumer,” says a Swatch spokesperson. For example, using Swatch technologies already available, consumers could store their favorite AOL website addresses and AOL screen names for quick access to online activities that will be offered by AOL Time Warner and Swatch Group.
The Swatch Group Ltd. is the world’s largest manufacturer of finished watches and producer of high quality movements, watch components, and electronic devices. Its brands, ranging from luxury to mass market, include Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, Omega, Longines, Rado, Union, Tissot, Calvin Klein, Certina, Mido, Pierre Balmain, Hamilton, Swatch, Flik Flak, and Endura. It set a new record in the year 2000 with gross sales up to CHF 4.26 billion (+17.6%) and a net income of CHF 651 million, representing an almost +50% increase over the preceding year. AOL Time Warner is the world’s first Internet-powered media and communications company. Its businesses include interactive services, cable systems, publishing, music, networks and filmed entertainment.