The Swatch Group and its divisions Swiss Timing, Longines, Omega, and Tissot, are liars, cheaters, and thugs. They bribe, the commit contractual fraud, they blackmail, they falsify results, and they threaten events & other timing & scoring vendors in a massive worldwide effort to dominate the Olympics and World Cup in various sports such as swimming, cycling, and ski racing. They are kings of conflict-of-interest. And technically speaking, they are pretty lousy at timing. Their technology is, for the most part, stuck squarely in the Apollo era.
My part in various parties’ battles against Swatch have been as technical backup to others fighting for an open marketplace in Olympic & World Cup sport, such as the Austrian Ski Team (ÖSV), Precision Timing of Montreal, Rolex, the Kitzbüheler Ski Club, and TAG Heuer. Much of this conflict has been fought behind the scenes.
Occasionally, some light is shed onto Swatch’s slimy practices. Yesterday was one of those days. The New York Times went after Omega’s slime in a big way, in no uncertain terms.
I hope this article is a sign that the decades-long efforts of Ted Savage (my partner in my winter sports group) toward technical transparency and an open vendor marketplace in timed Olympic & World Cup sports are gaining some traction. My part in this battle has been significantly smaller than his, but it has been my battle too. We have won some battles, and we have lost some too. This fight has not made us any money, rather, it has cost us both professionally and personally. But we will continue to fight for fairness, transparency, and verifiable written standards for electronic timing in professional sport.
With the kind of under-the-table money The Swatch Group throws around, this effort by The New York Times is probably just a blip. There’s probably somebody over at The Swatch Group right now boxing up a bunch of $25,000 Patek Phillippe wristwatches (another Swatch brand) to send to the editorial staff at The New York Times as a “gift”.