A Car, a Watch? Swatchmobile!

What happens when you marry a Mercedes to a fashion accessory? Nicolas Hayek wants to find out.

Most Americans think of the Swatch as a trendy timepiece that was embraced by everyone from K Mart shoppers to the owners of SoHo galleries. But in its country of origin, Switzerland, the Swatch represents nothing less than an amazing instrument of industrial rejuvenation. Before it came along, the Japanese had more or less usurped the Swiss as the heavyweight champions of the watch business by substituting their cheap and reliable digital technology for Switzerland's legendary craftsmanship. The question now is whether that industrial formula can work for -- of all things -- automobiles.

Make way for the Swatchmobile, a sassy...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!