In Defense of Swatch: The Desire for More

Yesterday I went to the Swatch store in the neighborhood of the Arc De Triomphe. First things first, as soon as I exited the Metro I was greeted by the most garish Louis Vuitton1 thing (for lack of better words) that I have ever seen. But a quick five minute walk dodging crowds of tourists I finally made it to the Swatch store that sells the MoonSwatches I love so much, the Scuba Fifty-Fathoms that I fell in love with that day, and many more Swatches that I unfortunately really like2. The way I see this brand is that they don’t make watches for the normal enthusiast, they make watches for the Swatch enthusiast. I understand why people don’t like the colors, or the plastic, I for one can’t stand the noise these watches make. I mean, for the price of one “Gent” Swatch you could buy like, three whole Casios! Hear me out now, what if that value proposition is all backwards?

What even is the point of this?

Yes, I really do want a premium mechanical watch, as of this post I am currently saving up for a nice watch and deciding between eight watches, but there is a joy I get from wearing my MoonSwatch that I won’t get from wearing anything else. Yes, Swatches aren’t repairable but they can last a pretty long time still, and yes most of them are made out of plastic, but they are all so very colorful. That, my friends, is why I always want another Swatch. I love the Baltic Hermetique as much as the next person, but my MoonSwatch is bright yellow. Sure the Twelve by Christopher Ward has a purple dial3, but the Scuba Fifty Fathoms has an yellow case and a Nudibranch printed on the Sistem51 movement4. And let’s talk about that movement, when Swatch first revealed that movement it was hermetically sealed in the watch. In my terms, it was meant entirely to be disposable and for someone like me that wants a mechanical watch because it will last me my entire life that is just a no-go. But with the release of the Scuba Fifty Fathoms the case-back can come off, the Sistem51 movement isn’t repairable just yet5, Swatch will just replace it, but that’s still progress! On top of all of that while I’m here in Paris I have a rare opportunity to buy myself a Swatch in person, Scuba, MoonSwatch, or other. I can buy any Christopher Ward, Baltic, or even Studio Underd0g if I just pay attention to the preorder windows. The lines aren’t even that long anymore at these Swatch stores.

Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty-Fathoms

I don’t know if any other company can offer the colors and collaborations that Swatch does, but those very collaborations are very important for me. Yes I enjoy the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms, but the Swatch version comes in weird colors and features a Nudibranch6. Blancpain would never dare to do something like that. Omega will only ever release a yellow MoonWatch if it involves some weird hyper expensive gold alloy, meanwhile I am wearing a bright yellow MoonSwatch on my arm at this very moment! So here it is, unfortunately I may have persuaded myself to buy another Swatch even while I am currently trying to save up for something really nice and premium. But can you blame me? These colors make me so happy, in the winter I may dress in all black – and sometimes very very dark gray – but I am trying to slowly expand my wardrobe to allow for even more color and my summer wardrobe reflects that. As of today Swatch provides the easy going color that I cannot live without. That being said, what if instead of buying one expensive mechanical watch I buy a Scuba Fifty-Fathoms AND a slightly cheaper nice mechanical watch, like a Baltic Hermetique. Best of both worlds.. This is where I leave you, by April I will have something else for you all and even sooner I will be sharing my thoughts on the French tradition in art, design, and watchmaking from a French perspective. Au revoir!

  1. I was pissed off an unreasonable amount ↩︎
  2. The new Swatch What-If colors… ↩︎
  3. Unfortunately ceramic is the best option, but could we at least try? ↩︎
  4. Among other beautiful colors ↩︎
  5. They are so close ↩︎
  6. It also fits my wrist really really well ↩︎