Some may call it an entry-level timepiece yet the original Swatch watch is anything but. The highquality and shockproof yet ultra light simple plastic watch with a one-piece case and just 51 parts was, and remains, a watch for anyone and everyone. It is a veritable revolutionary Swiss icon.
Launched in 1983 for under 50 Swiss francs and with a total production of a million pieces, it is a fully democratic watch that appeals to people from all walks and stations of life, whether you’re a Vietnamese rice farmer, a trekker along the Himalayan foothills or a navigator traversing the Atlantic. It is a universal watch that may have timed your first kiss, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. Back then, people thought a timepiece was something you received from your father upon graduating from school and that you kept all your life.
Swatch demonstrated that you could have as many watches as you wanted in the full spectrum of colours. More than a way to measure time, it was an object of art and a means of expressing yourself at an affordable price, and every year since has brought new models made possible by new technologies, innovative designs and extraordinary materials. Not only that, it was the watch that brought the Swiss horological industry back from the brink of no return and allowed it to regain its foothold as a world leader.
It propelled Nicolas G. Hayek to the position of saviour of the Swiss watch industry, as he faced off against the pitiless blows delivered by the onslaught of Japanese quartz watch technology and beat the Japanese at their own game, thereby signalling the beginning of an empire that today covers the entire horological spectrum and is the biggest manufacturer of finished watches in the world, with some strategic watch components solely in its control, demonstrating the immense power it currently wields over the entire Swiss watch industry. YD