Michel Jordi runs out of time

Michel Jordi's watches were widely copied, leading to a drop in sales of the real thing. Michel Jordi

The Swiss watch company, Michel Jordi, has filed for protection from creditors, after several months of struggling to survive.

This content was published on August 7, 2002 minutes

The company, based in Nyon in canton Vaud, had produced in particular the ethno-design watches that proved popular in the 1990s. The firm's 12 employees have lost their jobs.

Company spokesman Didier Wacker told said on Wednesday that the search for a Swiss or foreign partner had proved fruitless. "No acceptable solution could be found to secure the continuation of the business," he said.

Michel Jordi accessories, including scarves, pens and ties produced under licence, are said not to be affected by the move.

Weak sales

Wacker cited poor sales in the duty-free sector as the main cause for the company's downfall, adding that the lack of spending by travellers had hit the company hard after the September 11 attacks.

He added that another reason was the numerous watch imitations that had appeared on the market during the "ethno boom". This had prompted people to buy a cheap Jordi copy rather than the original.

It was revealed in May that the company needed to find some SFr10 million ($6.64 million) to save it from bankruptcy.

In an interview with the French-language newspaper "Le Matin", the head of the company, Michel Jordi, said that the company's sales had collapsed. "No matter what we do, we lose money every month," he said.

"Ethno wave over"

"The ethno fashion wave, which made my designs a success, is over," Jordi added.

Over the past two years the watch industry has changed dramatically with marketing costs going through the roof.

"A small family business can no longer carve out a niche for itself in today's global market," Jordi said. "To survive it needs at least SFr 100 million worth of sales each year. I don't even make half this sum."

Michel Jordi had earlier made a name for himself with a watch called "Le Clip" which also proved to be a passing fashion product.

swissinfo with agencies

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