Japan and Switzerland: Two Watchmakers, a World Apart

There are two watchmaking powers in the world today: the Swiss and the Japanese. One might think that the ongoing consolidation of the Swiss watch industry through mergers and acquisitions-and the growth of a few watchmaking powerhouses-would concern Japanese watchmakers. Wrong. From a competitive point of view, the top Japanese watch companies-which are themselves powerful conglomerates-seem unruffled by what's happening in Europe. The competitive challenge is greatest, not surprisingly, in Western Europe, especially Switzerland, where some watch companies allegedly demand that independent jewelers and watch retailers carry only Swiss brands or carry their entire watch package if they want to sell any of them. That's leading Seiko, especially, to strengthen its portfolio with popular licensed brands or seek alliances with non-Japanese watch brands "to create a very strong range of pro
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