Would you wear a watch that looks like a piece of modern art? What about one with fur that comes out from the side of the case? Your answer to both of those questions might be an emphatic “no,” but regardless, I probably have your attention. To me, that is the beauty and the charm of Swatch watches!
It isn’t afraid to make novel, eye-catching pieces that you might either love, or find downright unattractive. No matter what, it is a company that has a fascinating history and philosophy. I explain why in the following passages.
Before the 1970s, Swiss mechanical watches dominated the marketplace. The reason why is that they were the only products in it, as quartz movements didn’t exist yet. What happened next is now referred to as the “quartz crisis,” where a variety of brands from Japan and elsewhere started to make ultra-affordable pieces with this new movement type, and often with digital displays. This shift in the market looked like it might be disastrous for mechanical watch manufacturers, as their profits started to take a significant hit.
The Swatch brand was a response to the changing watch industry. What it sought to do was compete with other quartz movement brands while also having an analog display, rather than a digital one. The intent of the latter goal was to keep some of the aesthetic of mechanical pieces while still having a modern vibe. The brand started to blow up in the early 80s and became a household name due to their unique designs.
One thing you might not know about Swatch is that its name is a combination of a two-word term: Second watch. The philosophy behind the brand is hidden in this title, as it never sought to replace mechanical pieces. Instead, the owners of it wanted to create watches that complemented and stood alongside traditional horology, hence the name.
What is so attractive about this philosophy, to me, is that Swatch doesn’t try to pretend it is greater than it is. So many brands with quartz movements and lower price points market themselves as market disruptors and luxurious options without the price tag. These tactics, while often effective, are disingenuous. Swatch doesn’t take part is such methods. Instead, it knows who it is and markets its pieces accordingly.
All in the Family
Though Swatch is a brand itself, it is also the name of a massive investment group. The companies that are under its umbrella include Omega, Hamilton, Tissot, Longines and many more. While each of these businesses operates themselves, Swatch being in the same family indicates a certain level of quality and tradition. The company they keep is a good indicator that they are a serious brand that deserves your attention.
Swatch Watches Playful Designs
Now, onto watch Swatch watches look like. Their signature look is bright, plastic pieces that have a variety of playful designs. At the more daring end of the spectrum, they collaborate with artists to make watches that are truly unique. One of the most recognizable of them was a line that was shaped liked various food items, including an odd looking red pepper. On the more conventional end, they produce pieces with polka dots, pieces of art, and dazzling glitter. The aesthetic of these pieces might not be for you, but anyone can admit that they are truly original.
If the funkier designs that Swatch provides don’t call out to you, they have more conventional pieces too. The SISTEM ROSEE is likely to best example, as it sports an automatic movement and has a design that isn’t too polarizing. That being said, I would likely opt for brands like Seiko or Citizen if I was purchasing a piece that wasn’t in the unique Swatch style. As much as I trust this brand, those alternate options likely give you more bang for your buck when looking at more conventional pieces.
Swatch Watches Price Point
The last thing I like so much about Swatch watches is how low their prices are. Though I am happy to spend extra on a mechanical masterpiece, it is nice to make a purchase that doesn’t have much weight to it. Given that many of these watches are a bit odd looking and you likely won’t use them too much, a lower price point goes a long way in making them worth it.
Whether or not you want to invest in Swatch watches is up to you, but no matter what, this playful brand is worth learning about. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your next favorite timepiece. What you can expect is that it will have excellent quality and will likely look significantly different than every other watch in your collection. For some, that could be just what you’re looking for.