A line of Mondaine watches is heavily influenced by classical Swiss railway clocks, called the Official Swiss Railways Watch/SBB, to a design licensed from the Swiss Federal Railways since 1986. This design, by Hans Hilfiker, originated in 1944.
The original movement was unlike other watches and unique because of the following fact: By spreading 58 seconds over the 360 degrees (rather than the usual 60 seconds), the second hand comes to a complete stop at the 12 numeral for two seconds, giving the illusion that time has stopped. Then, the minute hand advances one step and the second hand starts a new cycle. However, the company stopped making models with this mechanism around 2001. In 2013, a redesigned model was launched under the name stop2go. In keeping with how the movement itself works, the crown is shaped like a rocker switch that you flip back and forth instead of winding.
In 2006, a fifty-percent stake in the American Luminox company was purchased by the Swiss brand Mondaine, giving Mondaine increased access to the American market, and Luminox increased access to the European and Asian markets.
Additionally, Mondaine offers a selection of models inspired by modern art.
Use of non-Swiss components
Mondaine uses imported components to maintain low prices and profitability. The watches are permitted to carry the label "Swiss Made" under a 1971 Swiss law that only requires that just over 50% of the components be of Swiss origin. Mondaine co-owner Ronnie Bernheim spoke against legislation supported by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry which would require that more Swiss components be used. Bernheim argued, "This law would be cutting the industry into two. The volume business will be killed, except for the big companies. Our foreign competitors are laughing."
Swatch Group Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek Jr. who supported the legislation argued that preserving the Swiss brand was important to the long-term survival of the industry. "'Swiss made' is very important as the basis for this industry. We're not going to produce in India, Russia, or anywhere else."
Controversy over Apple iPad's iOS 6 clock design
In 2012, Apple Company paid 22.5 million Swiss Francs to Mondaine to license the design for use in the iPad clock. Mondaine initially threatened to sue because Apple's iPad clock design too closely resembled a trademarked design created in 1944 by SBB employee Hans Hilfiker, which is now licensed to Mondaine; Apple agreed to settle the matter out of court.