Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2000

Rebirth of the Swiss Watch Industry, 1980-1992 (A)

by Michael L. Tushman and Daniel Radov

Abstract

The Swiss watch industry has been devastated by new entrants from Asia in the low- and mid-priced watch segments. Japanese and Hong Kong firms have used quartz technology to lower costs dramatically. Nicolas Hayek, president of a Swiss consulting firm, is asked to help design a new strategy and structure for the two Swiss giants, ASUAG and SSIH, which have decided to merge. Ernst Thomke, managing director of ASUAG's manufacturing arm, also figures prominently. The case outlines options for the positioning of the new, inexpensive Swatch brand as well as a number of other flagship Swiss brands. Focuses on alignment of strategy with the structure of the new company. Topics to address include the management of change and the formulation of a detailed action plan to make the new company succeed.

Keywords: Technology; Product Development; Organizational Structure; Change Management; Alignment; Product Positioning; Brands and Branding; Management Teams; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Switzerland;

Citation:

Tushman, Michael L., and Daniel Radov. "Rebirth of the Swiss Watch Industry, 1980-1992 (A)." Harvard Business School Case 400-087, June 2000.