O segundo capítulo de "The Innovation Factory" de Gilles Garel e Elmar Mock, "The Hidden Side of the Concept of the Swatch" descreve a história por trás do nascimento do relógio Swatch.
Mal comecei a ler, pensei logo num paralelismo com o impacte da China na economia portuguesa na primeira década do século XXI:
"After WWII, Switzerland controlled 90% of the world’s watch production and continued to hold 85% up until 1970. In just ten years, its share of the market collapsed, and in 1980 it only controlled 22% of the world’s watch market. In 1983, this share of the market dropped even further, to a mere 15%. Asian competitors, mainly Japanese, started pushing the Swiss out, notably by offering cheap quartz watches.Se voltarmos à Parte I e retomarmos o trecho de então:
At the beginning of the 1980s, the Swiss watch industry seemed condemned to disappear. However, Swiss manufacturers did not react immediately to this collapse, convinced of their technical superiority.
The industry was convinced of its domination of the noble art of watchmaking, with a very genetic and genealogical perception of the subject. “We know how to make watches. We are unique!”
Switzerland invented quartz technology, the liquid crystal displays, and the first electronic watches, but the Asian countries were the first to transform these technologies into new products at the end of the 1970s. These countries flooded the world markets with their digital quartz and analogi cal wristwatches. They replaced the inexpensive, but less accurate, Swiss mechanical watches, like the Roskopf.
From then on, anybody and everybody could make an accurate timepiece without any real skills in the fine art of watchmaking. This represented an upheaval, a major paradigm shift in the sector: the accuracy of watches no longer depended on the quality of the work or on the production cost. [Moi ici: Como não recordar os que pensam, erradamente, que a maior parte do reshoring ocorre por falta de qualidade da Ásia] The wristwatch was now available to all, and the Swiss were the big losers in this revolution. Any company could buy the quartz movements at very low prices and enter the world wristwatch market."
"improving the object within its given identity in many sectors [Moi ici: Não alterar a identidade, significa apostar no denominador, apostar na redução do custo unitário] - the very identity of the object has become uncertain. [Moi ici: Alterar a identidade, significa apostar no numerador, apostar no aumento do preço unitário]"O Swatch representa uma mudança de identidade. Continua a ser um relógio mas já é mais do que algo funcional apenas. Por exemplo, no caso do calçado português a identidade também mudou. Nunca esquecer o exemplo da fábrica que não conseguia vender uns sapatos a 20€ e agora prospera a vendê-los a 230€.