Manufacturing Time : Global Competition in the Watch Industry, 1795-2000 book cover
1st Edition

Manufacturing Time
Global Competition in the Watch Industry, 1795-2000

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ISBN 9781572305892
Published October 26, 2000 by Guilford Press
311 Pages

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Book Description

Since the large-scale manufacture of personal timepieces began, industry leadership has shifted among widely disparate locations, production systems, and cultures. This book recounts the story of the quest for supremacy in the manufacture of watches--from the cottage industries of Britain; to the preeminence of Switzerland and, later, the United States; to the high-tech plants of Japan and the sweatshops of Hong Kong. Glasmeier examines both the strategies adopted by specific firms and the interplay of such varying influences as technological change, cyclical economic downturns, war, and national trade policies. In so doing, she delineates a cohesive framework within which to address such broader questions as how sustained regional economic development takes place (or starts and then stops); how decisions made by corporations are structured by internal and external forces; and the ways industrial cultures with different strategic learning capabilities facilitate or thwart the pursuit of technological change.

Table of Contents

1. From Keeping Time to Keeping Pace
2. The Need for and Constraints on Change
3. The Organizational Development of the World Watch Industry
4. The Burden of Being First: Britain's Ascent and Decline as the Dominant Watch Manufacturing Region
5. Why Switzerland? The Rise of the Jura System of Watch Manufacturing
6. The American System of Watch Manufacturing
7. More Than One Way to Win a War
8. An Unexpected Competitor
9. Only the Young Survive: The American Watch Industry between the World Wars and after World War II
10. Going Electronic, Moving to Hong Kong
11. Can One Man Save an Industry?
12. Success Goes to the Nimble, Regardless of Size


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Amy K. Glasmeier, PhD, is the director of the Center for Regional Research and Industrial Studies at the Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, The Pennsylvania State University. She has published three books on international industrial and economic development and more than 50 scholarly articles. Her current research focuses on community impacts of globalization, regional development, poverty alleviation, and industrial change.


"An original and penetrating study of the evolution of the global watch industry. Glasmeier takes us from the Swiss watch industry to the world of electronics in the last years of the 20th century. She has created a remarkable story of an industry and its regions." --Gordon L. Clark, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford

"Amy Glasmeier has written an excellent historical synthesis of the institutional and organizational conditions that have shaped industrial development and international competition in the watch industry over the past two centuries. This book is an important addition to a small but growing number of industry case studies that show how the same social forces that supported national industrial leadership in the past can inhibit responses to international competitive challenges. Glasmeier has provided a thought-provoking study of both the sources of institutional inertia and the dynamics of industrial change." --William Lazonick, Euro-Asia Research Centre, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France

"This book takes on all of the big questions in industrial history and geography. Along the way, it yields important insights into how knowledge is produced and contested within specific industrial cultures; how market 'signals' are received and understood, depending on how they are transmitted and by whom; and the thousand things that can go right or wrong in an industry--with immense consequences for people and the places in which they live." --Erica Schoenberger, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University