Where Cash Meets Clout: Editor’s Letter, April 2012

I’m writing this on a plane from Zurich to London, after a five-day trip to ­Switzerland, where I attended the Baselworld fair followed by a tour of the new, impressively high-tech Omega factory in Grenchen, located inside the headquarters of the Swatch Group’s ETA subsidiary.If you sell watches, then you know ETA. It would take an hour to explain the history of the company—it owes its legacy to nearly a century of mergers and consolidations in the Swiss watch industry—but here’s the gist: In the early 1980s, the late Nicolas G. Hayek built ETA into a parts and movements powerhouse that now supplies the vast majority of Swiss watchmakers with the calibers they need to fulfill their production goals.Starting this year, Hayek’s heirs—led by his son, Nick Hayek, the current CEO of the Swatch Group—will diminish those supplies in order to focus on production for the group’

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