Swatch has published a version of its annual report in the Swiss-German dialect for which there is no standard written form, the latest act of rebellion from the watchmaker which has long enjoyed provoking the Swiss business establishment.
The move to publish in dialect rather than standard German — one of Switzerland’s four official languages including French and Italian in which the report was also issued — was meant to underpin Swatch Group SA’s Swiss roots and values, chief executive Nick Hayek told a media conference.
It results in a succession of spelling changes, such as geschaeftsjahr, or “results year,” becoming gschaeftsjohr and ausblick, or “outlook,” becoming usblick, giving approximations of the language familiar to inhabitants of Swiss-German parts of the country.
Explaining the move, Swatch chairwoman Nayla Hayek said in her letter to shareholders, “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.”
The move highlights an increased awareness among Swiss companies of the cachet attached to Swiss-made products, while also being intended by the company to cement its reputation as a corporate “enfant terrible” in Switzerland, where a sober or staid tone dominates most parts of business and finance.(Reuters)