Cambi Auction House presents timed auction dedicated to Swatch watches. Colorful, diverse and never dull. Since the very early 1980s, Swatch watches have never gone out of fashion, but rather continue to set new trends.
It was 1983 when a Swatch first appeared in the world of watchmaking-a flash in the pan that broke traditional patterns and paved the way for what would become a unique sociocultural phenomenon. Colorful and fun watches, capable of never boring, produced in a variety of limited series and designed by great artists, these watches shocked the world causing endless lines outside stores in the 1990s as well as today.
The name “Swatch” is often misunderstood as a contraction of the English words “Swiss,” meaning “Swiss” (there is a Swiss flag on the logo), and “watch,” meaning “wristwatch.” However, Nicolas Hayek, founder of the Swatch Group, said that the original contraction was that of “second,” second, and “watch,” wristwatch, as the new type of watch was introduced with a new concept, simple style, fun and relatively inexpensive.
The first collection of 12 Swatch models was unveiled on March 1, 1983 in Zurich, Switzerland. It was initially priced between 39.90 and 49.90 Swiss francs, but was standardized to 50.00 in the fall of that year. The sales target was set at 1 million watches for 1983 and 2.5 million for the following year. With an aggressive marketing campaign and a truly reasonable price for a watch made in Switzerland, it quickly gained popularity in the local market: in the first three years of production, over 20 million pieces were sold, in 1988 over 50 million, and in 1991 the goal of over 100 million was reached.
Compared to conventional watches, a Swatch was 80 percent cheaper to produce, thanks to fully automated assembly and a reduction in the number of parts from a normal figure of 91 to only 51 components; what’s more, it also had excellent water resistance, being perfectly waterproof. Swatches peaked in popularity in the United States during the mid-1980s, when a series of “Swatch Stores,” i.e., stores that sold only Swatch watches, were founded. In the 1980s it became fashionable to wear two Swatches or use them to tie one’s hair into a ponytail. Some models, such as Pop Swatches, could be attached directly to clothes.
In these same years, Swatch introduced the idea of associating watches with famous artists, such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Folon, Sam Francis, Pierre Alechinsky, and Mimmo Paladino, thus giving new depth to what until then had been only an accessory for young people. In 1998 the Swatch Group was formed. Although sales declined from previous years, the Swatch Group remains the world’s largest watch company, which has also accelerated the acquisition of Swiss luxury brands in recent years, such as: Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet-Droz, Glashütte-Original, Union Glashütte, Léon Hatot, Omega, Rado, Longines, Tissot, Certina, Mido, Balmain watches, Hamilton, Flik Flak, and Endura.
The Swatch company itself has also differentiated its offerings considerably and now produces more than a dozen different types of watches, from metal-bodied (the Irony series), to divers (the Scuba series), to thin, flat-bodied watches (the Skin family) and even an internet-connected watch that can download stock quotes, news headlines, weather forecasts and other data (the Paparazzi series). Other specialized models include the Flik Flak for children, with semi-automatic movements, and watches decorated with diamonds. The company also produces watches with seasonal themes. Swatch together with its subsidiary Omega was the official timekeeper at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the 2004 Summer Olympics.
In 2013, Swatch collaborated with singer Mika to create a new collection consisting of two new watches “Kukulakuku” and “Kukulakuki” in limited edition for collectors.
Since 2015 Swatch has had its own soundtrack, 60 BPM – The Sound Of Swatch, a composition created by Chiara Luzzana using only with the sound of over 2,400 watches and their components.
In 2022, Swatch collaborated with Omega to create a collection of quartz chronographs with bioceramic cases that are very similar in design to the Omega Speedmaster. The name by which these watches are called is “MoonSwatch,” with the intention of celebrating the famous Speedmaster Moonwatch. The “MoonSwatches” came in 11 models (called “Missions”), one for each planet in the solar system, plus Pluto, the Sun, and the Moon. Their success has been resounding. On March 7, 2023, the new Bioceramic MoonSwatch Collection model inspired by Omega’s Speedmaster variant was released: the Moonwatch Moonshine Gold. This new item is sold in stores only on full moon days.
In 2023, Swatch collaborated with Blancpain to create a watch in tribute to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms on the 70th anniversary of its release. Cambi’s catalog celebrates this timeless icon with a catalog that brings together a wide range of collectible Swatches, among which you can find limited editions, the sought-after Chrono, the Scuba, and many more!