The Swatch watch was launched in 1983 by founder Nicolas Hayek, and in the intervening period it has developed into a functional art form. Swatch was originally intended to re-capture entry level market share lost by Swiss manufacturers during the quartz crisis and the subsequent growth of Japanese companies such as Seiko and Citizen in the 1960s and 1970s, and to re-popularize analog watches at a time when digital watches had achieved wide popularity. The launch of the Swatch brand in 1983 was marked by bold new styling, design and marketing.
Pictured right: Golden Jelly the first Swatch Club Watch
The Swatch watches were water-resistant, shockproof, available in range of bright colours and originally developed as an affordable, low-priced, and expendable product. Collectors viewed them differently and with two new collections a year to choose, great colours, unique designs and ever increasing inventiveness, it is not surprising that the Swatch watch became collectible early in its life.
Over 2500 models have now been designed, so collectors have a wide variety of themes and styles to specialise in. Early models and limited editions can reach substantial prices at auction.
‘The Swatch Collectors of Swatch Club’ was formed in 1990. Initially based in Switzerland, it soon expanded to other countries. By the end of the first year the club had over 20,000 members. Members initially received among other incentives a free gift. The first of these was ‘Golden Jelly’ (pictured top left) which had a transparent strap, case and dial which revealed the watch’s movement. The club name changed in 1996 to ‘Swatch the Club’ and continues to grow. There are now various levels of Swatch Club membership offering different benefits to collectors: Starter, Premium, Gold and Pioneer.
Did you know?
The name “Swatch” is a contraction of “Second Watch” – coined by Nichole Lopez because the new watch was introduced with a new concept of watches as casual, fun, and relatively disposable accessories.
Related Swatch Watch Features
Swatch Club Watches and Price Guide
The Official Swatch Site
NOTICE – This site is not affiliated with Swatch TM.
The purpose of these pages is to provide information to collectors of Swatch.