Thoughts on Swatch?

katon

Super Member
There was a thread on them 15 years ago in the other forum, but it didn't get much traction.

To me, they seem like de-militarized versions of the disposable field watch. So they are made of plastic, repairs other than replacing the battery are a hassle, and they are fairly inexpensive (but still Swiss-made). Some of them are basically just field watches in absurd colors.

The main problem with them seems to be that because their business model revolves around novelty, quite a few of the reasonable designs have already been made and are now "out of print". If an old design is revived, usually it is with a twist, like being a different size, or fiddling with it in some other way.

Also, in an attempt to make them more artistic, many of the watches are difficult to read. (This being a consistent thing since the 80s). Those ones are really more like bracelets that tell time in an emergency, or something marginally useful when you have nothing pressing to do but are just curious what the time is. Since their reputation is for being fun-watches (one old poster called them their GTH watches), I suppose that's not a deal-breaker, although some of the designs are a bit too much for me. I think the ones I like most are fun but not difficult to read, easy to enjoy, but also easy to take off your wrist and give to a friend.

So what do you think? Good beach watches? Or just tacky? :)
 

127.72 MHz

Elite Member
I have been a watch and clock aficionado for 20-30 years. Suffice to say that there is far too much to say on the subject. (I like most all watches so long as they are functional.)

If you like a given watch then by all means wear it!

If you want to be inundated with information, and snobs, this is a good site for both learning and well as an illustration of how fanatical we humans can become,....


Good luck,

 

Vecchio Vespa

(aka TKI67)
There was a thread on them 15 years ago in the other forum, but it didn't get much traction.

To me, they seem like de-militarized versions of the disposable field watch. So they are made of plastic, repairs other than replacing the battery are a hassle, and they are fairly inexpensive (but still Swiss-made). Some of them are basically just field watches in absurd colors.

The main problem with them seems to be that because their business model revolves around novelty, quite a few of the reasonable designs have already been made and are now "out of print". If an old design is revived, usually it is with a twist, like being a different size, or fiddling with it in some other way.

Also, in an attempt to make them more artistic, many of the watches are difficult to read. (This being a consistent thing since the 80s). Those ones are really more like bracelets that tell time in an emergency, or something marginally useful when you have nothing pressing to do but are just curious what the time is. Since their reputation is for being fun-watches (one old poster called them their GTH watches), I suppose that's not a deal-breaker, although some of the designs are a bit too much for me. I think the ones I like most are fun but not difficult to read, easy to enjoy, but also easy to take off your wrist and give to a friend.

So what do you think? Good beach watches? Or just tacky? :)

I think they look fun, but since I already have three watches and an adequate innate sense of time I'd never buy one for myself. That said, I like a wrist watch better than lugging a phone around.
 

Corcovado

Senior Member
I personally would not call them "tacky," but rather playful, irreverent, or kitschy. I don't actually own one but I have thought of buying one. I agree the more conservative designs are reminiscent of military watches, also Timex Easy Reader type styles, which appeal to me. The funkier designs are very 80s/New Wave, which gives me nostalgia for my teen years. In short, I like them.
 

fishertw

Elite Member
I think they look fun, but since I already have three watches and an adequate innate sense of time I'd never buy one for myself. That said, I like a wrist watch better than lugging a phone around.
I have a Tag Heuer, a Baume and Mercier and a Tudor on order (set to arrive this week). I too love watches. The Tag will go to my son, the Baume and Mercier to my granddaughter and the Tudor to my grandson, and I will have a great time between now and then enjoying three great time pieces.
 

Dhaller

Elite Member
I don't think they're tacky... I would save "tacky" for some gawdawful, over-designed "luxury" watch (Richard Mille watches come to mind, IMHO.)

I've never had one - they just weren't my thing - but my wife has a few she bought in her teens/20s. I guess to me it seems like a "teens/20s" watch (I joke that I was born 40, so I never really enjoyed teen/20s design sensibilities!)

That said, I take the same approach to watches that I do to cars: invest in a quality daily driver, when budget allows add a fun "weekend" car, and then "interesting projects" after that. I can see a Swatch inhabiting the middle category (new) or the "projects" category (vintage.)

My understanding is that some are quite valuable; there's a serious collector's universe for Swatches akin to collecting Pokemon cards or Hummel figures - 99% of the population simply doesn't know about it or "get it", and the other 1% plan their life around it.

DH
 

fishertw

Elite Member
I don't think they're tacky... I would save "tacky" for some gawdawful, over-designed "luxury" watch (Richard Mille watches come to mind, IMHO.)

I've never had one - they just weren't my thing - but my wife has a few she bought in her teens/20s. I guess to me it seems like a "teens/20s" watch (I joke that I was born 40, so I never really enjoyed teen/20s design sensibilities!)

That said, I take the same approach to watches that I do to cars: invest in a quality daily driver, when budget allows add a fun "weekend" car, and then "interesting projects" after that. I can see a Swatch inhabiting the middle category (new) or the "projects" category (vintage.)

My understanding is that some are quite valuable; there's a serious collector's universe for Swatches akin to collecting Pokemon cards or Hummel figures - 99% of the population simply doesn't know about it or "get it", and the other 1% plan their life around it.

DH
Dhaller, I bought the Tag when I received my second graduate degree 33 years ago as a present to myself and it has been the daily driver since then. The other two that I have and have on order are vanity ones that I just wanted and thought that since I've got two grandkids, why not find one for each of them that would be something to remember their grandad by. Not a collector by any means but just enjoy nice watches. Cheers, Tom
 

WatchmanJimG

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Swatch has certainly earned a following, but I guess as with many things it comes down to what you like. As a lifelong watch enthusiast they don't work for me. In my opinion the best application of the inexpensive plastic watch concept is the Casio G-Shock and similar examples. They're great for exercise and other activities that could damage a nicer watch.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Swatch has certainly earned a following, but I guess as with many things it comes down to what you like. As a lifelong watch enthusiast they don't work for me. In my opinion the best application of the inexpensive plastic watch concept is the Casio G-Shock and similar examples. They're great for exercise and other activities that could damage a nicer watch.

LOL, after shaking apart a couple of Tag Heuer Link Series watch bands and spending between $350 to $400 to repair/replace them respectively, I picked up a couple Casio G-Shocks to suffer the abuse of my exercise attempt. They did indeed stand up to the abuse commendably well. ;)
 

paper clip

Elite Member
I had a couple swatches in the 80s and still have one left - a plain black and white one with date which I have pinned on my bulletin board and use as a small wall clock. I enjoyed their fun, fresh 80s new wave style, and I still get a chuckle now when I look at it. The rest of my modest watch collection include seiko divers, a hamilton field khaki and a g-shock for work in the yard and water stuff.
 
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