Nicolas Hayek, the head of the world's largest watchmaker, Swatch Group, died on Monday at the age of 82, the company said in a statement on Monday.
"Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek, Chairman and Delegate of the Board of Directors of The Swatch Group Ltd. unexpectedly passed away today due to heart failure while working at his beloved Swatch Group," the statement said.
Swatch empire was founded in 1983 when the future of Swiss mechanical watches was threatened by the cheaper and mainstream Japanese quartz watches made by Casio and Seiko.
Hayek countered the Japanese move by creating traditionally reliable Swiss watches with a revolutionary design and low prices.
Stylish, neon-colored watches became popular among young people all over the world.
Hayek's idea turned Swatch into a lucrative enterprise, covering 25 percent of the international watch market. Swatch Group also includes such celebrated watch brands like Breguet, Omega, Longines, as well as Rado and Tissot.
Hayek's son, Nic Hayek, Swatch Group CEO since 2003, will take his father's place as Swatch Group leader, the company said.
PARIS, June 28 (RIA Novosti)