Happy Birthday Peter Hürzeler!!
Peter Hürzeler (SUI)
Honor Contributor (2022)
FOR THE RECORD: DIRECTOR OF THE SWATCH GROUP SERVICE COMPANY SWISS TIMING OMEGA; COVERED 17 OLYMPIC GAMES
Since 1969, his creative and organizational skills have delivered innovation, technology and timekeeping, successfully to the sport of swimming. Peter Hürzeler is at the nexus of sports, technology and timing systems. Since 1970, Hürzeler and his associates have created practically every timing system for each sport in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. No one could have achieved what he has done in sports and technology for the Olympic movement.
OMEGA has a 164-year legacy which includes countless precision records, conquests of space and the oceans depths, but most importantly to Hürzeler, sports timekeeping, which he and his team are constantly innovating.
Hürzeler began his career with the responsibility of developing the timing equipment of the OMEGA photo finish in 1969. He and his small team of approximately 14, were responsible for the development of the timing equipment, as well as the servicing of it. At that time, there were only two large watch groups, OMEGA and Longines. The two were competitors, located only 30 km in distance, but both basically doing the same thing. Then in 1972, after OMEGA lost the rights to the Olympic Games in Munich, Swiss Timing was founded as the leader in sports timekeeping. In Montreal, for the 1976 Olympic Games, OMEGA returned as the official Olympic timekeeper.
In the aquatic arena, Hürzeler and his team developed the first starting blocks with false start detection, which includes the time between arrival and departure in relays. This new system was introduced in 1976 at the Montreal Games.
The following year, they developed touchpads for swimming, which improved the sensitivity when the athletes would push on the pad. And most recently, in 2013, the team introduced a backstroke ledge for starts, which improved the swimmers start.
In 1986, when OMEGA’s role as the official timekeeper was once again in jeopardy, due to budget concerns, CEO/ Chairman of the Board, Mr. Nicolas Hayek Sr., fought to keep timekeeping as part of OMEGA’s history.
In 2016 at the London Games, OMEGA debuted more new and innovative timekeeping equipment. The first was the Quantum Timer. The resolution of this new device is 100 times greater than the previous devices and delivers precision of 0.1 parts per million. The next upgrade was an innovative light system called the Swimming Show, which has lights mounted on the starting blocks positioned next to the touch pads at the end of the pool, where the race ends. A single large dot of light will indicate the winner, two medium dots for second and three smaller dots of light will show the third-place winner.
The final new feature from OMEGA, and the most challenging, is called the Open Water Gate, for open water/ marathon swimming. This new open water gate allows for times to be reported during the race and not just at the start and finish of the race.
Hürzeler has spent 3,708 days on the road in his capacity with OMEGA. He has been involved in 17 Olympic Games, both Summer and Winter, 36 Continental Games, 19 FINA World Aquatic Championships, 23 European Championships and well over 300 athlete meetings.