STYLE

Nicolas Hayek, Swatch Founder, Dies At 82

06/29/2010 01:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Nicolas Hayek, founder of famed watch-maker Swatch, died of heart failure on Monday at age 82. He was known to wear two or three watches on each wrist, Reuters reports.

The Swatch Group stated: "Nicolas G. Hayek's extraordinary vision enabled him to realize and ensure the sustainability of a strong watchmaking enterprise with high Swiss added value. He is rightly recognized as a leading entrepreneur in this country." Doris Leuthard, Swiss President and Economy Minister, told Reuters that the Swiss people "owe Mr. Hayek a lot."

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Swiss became well-known for their watches. It was around that time that cheaper quartz-based watches were being mass-produced, and the Swiss watch industry began to suffer. But Hayek wholeheartedly embraced quartz technology and created the Swatch watch in 1983. His success turned around the Swiss watchmaking industry around, and Swatch's whimsical plastic watches soon gained worldwide popularity.

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