10 questions with Nick Hayek.

Fonction Interview


He is the son of the legendary Nicolas George Hayek, a Swiss-Lebanese entrepreneur who spearheaded one of the most spectacular industrial comebacks in the world: the re-vitalisation of the Swiss watch industry. Nick Hayek, who has a background in film production, has been the CEO of Swatch Group since 2003, and a member of the Board of Directors since 2010. Together with his sister Nayla, who is now the President of the company, he has continued the family legacy since his father's sudden death in 2010. For the Baselworld issue of Swiss News, he takes time out of his busy schedule to talk about two of his current projects.

  1. A second is merely a blink of an eye. Yet, athletes can win or lose by a margin of only 1,000th of a second. OMEGA has timed the Olympic Games since 1932. How did this relationship develop?

    At our very first Olympic Games in 1932, a lone watchmaker went from Switzerland to Los Angeles with 30 chronograph stopwatches, which were used to time every event. It was the first time that a single brand had ever been entrusted with the timing of the entire Olympic Games. The reactions from the International Olympic Committee and its technical director were very positive and enthusiastic. With few exceptions, OMEGA has timed the Olympic Games ever since.

  2. In 1952, OMEGA was awarded the Olympic Cross of Merit for 'exceptional services to the world of sport'. What were some of the milestones for you?

    There have been many, but I'll point out some of the highlights. We reached the first milestone in 1948, with the photoelectric cell [a solid electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity], which we used in St. Moritz and London. However, it could be argued that true modern sport timekeeping was only born with the use of the first slit photo finish camera. [Slit cameras produce a panoramic filmstrip, which shows the position of each competitor as they cross the finish line.] Today, photo finish cameras are increasingly accurate--they now produce 2,000 images per second. Another milestone was reached in Helsinki, where we won the Olympic Cross of Merit. Here, for the first time, we were able to print race results instantly. In 1956, the introduction of the Swim Eight-O-Matic, the first semiautomatic timekeeping device for swimming, was another big achievement. In 1968, touch pads appeared at the ends of swimming pool lanes. Today, it is impossible to imagine the Olympic Games...

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