Swatch pokes fun at uptight business types
The Swiss watchmaker issues its annual report in the idiosyncratic Swiss-German dialect 'to shake up our compatriots.'
According to media reports, Swatch released its annual report in Swiss-German, an idiosyncratic dialect that many German speakers don't understand. Swiss movies in German, one of Switzerland's four official languages, are shown with subtitles in neighboring Germany.
"This act of true Swissness was done partly to shake up our compatriots who -- in their fondness for what is safe -- sometimes allow themselves to follow a rather conventional, prudent and comfortable path," Swatch Chairwoman Nayla Hayek told investors in a letter to shareholders quoted by Reuters.
Her late father, Nicolas Hayek, founded the company and is credited with helping to revive the Swiss watch industry during the 1980s. Chief Executive Nick Hayek is her brother.
About 65% of the Swiss population is German, about 18% are French and 10% Italian, according to the CIA World Factbook. Many Swiss speak more than one language.
WorldBusinesCulture notes that Swiss business culture is formal. Punctuality is valued, and meeting agendas are closely followed.
But Swatch's less structured approach seems to be working. The company, which recently reported better-than-expected 2012 results, has agreed to acquire Harry Winston's watch and jewelry business for $750 million, its largest deal ever.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
I was having dinner with a Cuban and a Mexican and the two tried to speak Spanish to each other with limited success. They communicated better in English even though the Cuban did have some trouble.
I was once having lunch with three members of an associated company located in California. They were Hungarian, Chinese, and Columbian and we all spoke English at lunch. I barely understood any of them, but they seemed to understand each other.
Accents and dialects make a big difference in comprehension,
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