For hundreds of years the
Swiss were known as the best watchmakers in the world. The jeweled precision of
their mainspring-driven mechanisms was the envy of the industry.
Then, about thirty years
ago, a Swiss design engineer working for one of the leading watch companies
invented the prototype of what would eventually be called the digital
When he presented it to
his bosses, they laughed him out of the room, proclaiming that a battery-powered
timepiece with a liquid-crystal display would never be accepted by the
The inventor took his
idea to Japan and America, and the rest is history.
Had the Swiss watch
companies been able to challenge the existing paradigm — the belief that their
mechanical watches would always be the standard for the industry — the Swiss
might still be a major player in the world of timepieces.