Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Are Swatch watches made in Switzerland?
- 3 Should I buy a Swatch?
- 4 My history with Swatch
- 5 Swatch Collection
- 6 Does Swatch make automatic watches?
- 7 Are Swatch watches hypoallergenic?
- 8 Are Swatches waterproof?
- 9 Are Swatch Watches repairable?
- 10 How long will a Swatch watch last?
- 11 Swatch Group brands
- 12 Conclusion
Swatch watches: the colorful pop era-inspired, “plastic fantastic” watches from Switzerland. Do they still make them?
Swatch releases new models every quarter (a Spring-Summer, Fall-Winter, or Special Collections).
At the time of this writing, Swatch has a total of 8 collections for the US market (for men and women). They are the Sistem 51, Skin Irony, SKIN, Irony, Swatch X you, Drone Pilots, Chrono plastic, and Sports selection. More on those later.
Welcome to this post about my favorite watches of all time, Swatches!
Now that you know the answer to the first question, I figured you might be interested in some other common Swatch-related questions as well.
Therefore I will answer seven other common questions about Swatch watches in this post. The answers will help you when you’re looking to buy your first Swatch or when you’re just curious to know more about the brand.
So without further ado, here we go!
Are Swatch watches made in Switzerland?
Yes, they are. All Swatches are at least 60% assembled in Switzerland, therefore they carry the “Swiss Made” label.
You could argue that they are not 100% of Swiss origin since some parts are probably sourced from China, however, they are fully assembled in the factory in Bienne/ Biel in Switzerland. Furthermore, the movements are made in Switzerland in the ETA- factory, which is owned by Swatch.
Swatches are without a doubt the cheapest Swiss Made watches on the market today. They typically cost between $50 and $ 150 and you can buy them online in many places, or in the official Swatch franchise Stores, of which there are currently 3,371 located around the world.
Should I buy a Swatch?
Good question! The truth is, I cannot decide for you what you should buy. What I can do is tell you that I’ve been wearing Swatches daily for over 30 years without problems.
My conclusion is that they are well worth the money you spend on them.
- Because Swatch uses high-quality plastics (polycarbonate) and stainless steel to produce them, they will last for years/ decades.
- The plastic models are very lightweight. You can wear them all day without noticing them. The stainless steel models are a tad heavier, but still very lightweight.
- They are very accurate and relatively cheap.
- Swatches are waterproof (more on that later).
- They come in many different styles and designs. There is a Swatch for every occasion.
- Did you know even Bankers wear Swatches? I was surprised to read that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, wears one. You can read all about it here.
My history with Swatch
As said, I’ve been wearing Swatches daily for almost 30 years now. (As I’m writing this, I’m wearing the Swatch Polapurple).
None of the Swatches I had ever got broken.
I still remember the day in 1989 when I received my first Swatch. It was the GB 124 Harakuja, a very colorful, funky, watch, inspired by the neon lights and road signs in Shibuya, Tokyo.
If you think that watch is dead and buried by now, you’d be surprised to hear it is still ticking as well as the day I got it!
I paid $75 for that watch, and it has lasted me for 30 years.
During those 30 years, I’ve dropped it on the ground more than once, I swam with it in saltwater and wore it during several soccer games.
For all Swatches that I have owned, I only had to replace a watch band here and there, but they are very cheap, and you can have them replaced in your local Swatch Store.
Replace the batteries every 2-3 years, or, when your Swatch stops ticking, go to your local Swatch store.
They would replace the battery for free even if you didn’t buy your Swatch there.
To avoid battery corrosion, make sure you remove the battery when your Swatch stops ticking, and you’ll be fine.
So what Swatches can you buy today?
Here’s a list of all available Swatch collections for the USA market, at the time of this writing, including a short description.
The Sistem 51 is an entirely mechanical watch with a 90-hour power reserve (more on the Sistem 51 later in this article).
These are very flat Swatches with a diameter of 42 mm. They are accommodating if you prefer a casual business look.
Very flat, colorful and funky watches with a width of 36.8 mm and a height of 41.8 mm. Just like the Skin Irony, these watches are incredibly flat, making them very comfortable to wear.
The Irony series comes in stainless steel with steel, leather, silicone, or rubber bands.
Swatch X You
These watches are all one of a piece because you can design them yourself either in the Swatch Store or online.
Drones inspire this line, or as Swatch says: “Join the era of Swatch and drones with this watch selection.”
As the name suggests, the watches in this series are chronographs made of plastic.
Very colorful and creative designs make up the sports selection.
Does Swatch make automatic watches?
Yes. The Sistem 51 is a fully mechanical watch with a 90-hour power reserve. Introduced in 2013, the Sistem 51 is an entirely machine-made automatic watch.
Are Swatch watches hypoallergenic?
The plastic models are not officially hypoallergenic, but since the case and clasp are plastic, there is no metal touching the skin, aside from the battery cover. In case needed, you can always cover that with a small band-aid.
The watch bands are silicone. The Irony models are 100% stainless steel.
Are Swatches waterproof?
Swatches usually have a water resistance of 3 bar, meaning they are splash-proof and should not be used for swimming.
From experience, I can tell you that swimming with a Swatch is no problem. I swam with them in the Mediterranean a whole summer without problems. I have not seen any negative side effects.
Just make sure you rinse the watch with fresh water after swimming with it in the sea.
Are Swatch Watches repairable?
Nope. Unfortunately, you cannot repair a Swatch for the simple reason that you cannot open it. The movements sit locked inside the case, and the case is sealed employing heat transfer. This process closes the case entirely.
The good news is that this makes your Swatch very shock resistant. There are no moving parts, and the case is wholly protecting the Quartz movement from the elements.
How long will a Swatch watch last?
Any Swatch should easily last at least ten years or more with proper care. As I mentioned, I have been wearing Swatches for 30 years; they are still working just fine.
I wouldn’t worry too much about longevity.
A Swatch is not a Patek Philippe either.
It was not designed to be an heirloom that you pass on to your kids, so don’t worry.
Just wear it and have fun with it.
Swatch Group brands
When you’re buying a Swatch, you’re purchasing a watch from a company with a history in watchmaking that goes back to 1983. This year Nicolas Hayek founded the company.
The Swatch Group not only makes Swatches, but they also own the following watch brands:
- Glashütte Original
- Harry Winston
Swatch is an outstanding watch company, and their watches are truly unique in form and function.
Furthermore, Swatches are cheap and reliable. You can use them for almost anything that you throw at them, even swimming.
With proper care, they can last for decades.
I hope this small introduction will help you when shopping for your next (S)watch!