Swatch (Dis)Respect?

Today I wore the oldest watch I have that I bought new, a 1986 Swatch Soto. I was less than a year out of college. Swatches were popular. I wore it long enough to replace the battery (easy!) several times before it ended up in a drawer鈥or years.

At the time, I certainly didn鈥檛 know watchmakers were in the midst of a quartz crises. I did like this one鈥檚 subdued look and it looks nicer than the plastic-cased Casio digital I鈥檇 worn through school. (Whatever the ancestor of the F-91W was. It was not introduced until 1989.)

I鈥檇 rediscover it every few years. The strap got gunky after a decade or so. With Swatch stores few and far between, I couldn鈥檛 find a replacement strap. The one I got at the Swatch store in the San Francisco airport was too big鈥攆or the New Gent style鈥攚hile my Soto is old Gent size. Eventually, things became available online and I was able to resurrect it. It looked respectable for its age. Then an evening of crystal polishing brought it back to near new appearance.

Though few were expected to keep a Swatch this long, it鈥檚 been a solid watch. It got me thinking. Has Swatch been overlooked for it鈥檚 adoption of quartz tech and manufacturing watches cheap enough to keep the Swiss watch market going? Clearly they were financially successful enough to dominate and acquire luxury brands of the, now, Swatch Group. We debate the collaborations they offer with their constituent brands, but would those brands have survived without Swatch?

What do you think? Was Swatch the savior of the Swiss watch market or a predatory overlord looking to dominate and control?

Can batteries be changed in quartz powered models?

I feel that they owe a fair bit to keeping it all going. They must have kept people in jobs and maybe also had a fair part to keeping people in jobs. They also had the foresight to weather out the storm, aquire big names and reintroduce popular models throughout the years. Most of it is cleaver marketing but without Swatch we probably wouldn't have Tissot, omega, mido...

RabbitWatchShop

Can batteries be changed in quartz powered models?

There鈥檚 a battery cover that opens with a coin edge. Easiest battery changes ever.

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NotThatNeil

There鈥檚 a battery cover that opens with a coin edge. Easiest battery changes ever.

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Thx 馃檹

NotThatNeil

There鈥檚 a battery cover that opens with a coin edge. Easiest battery changes ever.

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Just like my Accutron!

RabbitWatchShop

Can batteries be changed in quartz powered models?

Yes,swatch batteries are super easy to swap out

"Was Swatch the savior of the Swiss watch market or a predatory overlord looking to dominate and control?"

Maybe saved the novelty, low-end market. But this had nothing to do with original, for example, Speedmaster customers.

Sluggo

"Was Swatch the savior of the Swiss watch market or a predatory overlord looking to dominate and control?"

Maybe saved the novelty, low-end market. But this had nothing to do with original, for example, Speedmaster customers.

But would Omega have survived if not acquired by the Group? If Omega were thriving, wouldn鈥檛 they have been valued too high to be acquired?

Yes the popularity of Swatch in the 80鈥檚 helped develop what i believe is a collector mindset. They influenced everything

I believe with the new and stylish(for the time)they inadvertently helped(saved)Swiss watch companies;by selling many cool watches.Now they are the

Predatory overlord 800 lb aggressive gorilla.Forcing all companies to make their own movements.

NotThatNeil

But would Omega have survived if not acquired by the Group? If Omega were thriving, wouldn鈥檛 they have been valued too high to be acquired?

If you're suggesting Omega was going to go 'poof,' then I'll disagree. Nor does Omega appear to be struggling. Don't know where you're getting your take on this.

I certainly started with swatch! I feel like swatch group knows how to diversify their portfolio鈥鈥檓 under the impression that fad fashion brands make more that high ends clothing brands. Plus swatch is for the people, everyone deserves to own a watch in their price range and swatch isn鈥檛 one of those fossils or mvmt. And with the collaborations it鈥檚 gives everyone a chance to own the omega name for the swatch price鈥 HM had a number of collabs. And also it introduced a lot of new people to the watch world. To me swatch is an essential player. Without swatch I wouldn鈥檛 be on watch crunch.

Sluggo

If you're suggesting Omega was going to go 'poof,' then I'll disagree. Nor does Omega appear to be struggling. Don't know where you're getting your take on this.

Omega is clearly successful now. But there was a time of mergers and struggles when ASUAG and SSIH had to be restructured and merged. The emergence of Swatch watches helped regain market share from Japan. So, would the group have succeeded without Swatch?

(Wikipedia offers a concise summary in the entry on Nicolas Hayek, Swatch Group creator and CEO.)

Swatch was bold and fun when I was growing up and I didn't really associate them with how watches were traditionally worn. As much an affordable style enhancement as it was a watch with their bright colors similiar to ski and surf wear of the time.

I still have quite a few of them. Other than batteries and wearing out straps I've never had one fail completely despite all the "plastic junk" comments online.

It was neat to see your post and hear yet another story of how what some would call a "toy watch" has lasted decades. I hear of them lasting for decades over and over again.

It feels like Swatch gets a lot of hate on this platform so thanks again.

Swatch was born when wearing a watch was a serious things for most people. Back then a watch was absolutely necessary for the workingman, be it a blue collar line assembly worker or a CEO because without it nobody could time their activities and coordinate actions. Therefore watches were a serious thing and the good one were also quite expensive.

Then came Swatch and they proved that watches don't need to be serious or expensive and this was a BIG thing. Did they revolutionize the Swiss watch industry? Yes they did. Did they do it aggressively? Again, yes they did. Would Omega have gone under if they were not part of Swatch? Maybe, maybe not, but in any case they were one of the founding brands of Swatch IIRC so it's not like they were dragged screaming and crying when they were brought into the fold.

NotThatNeil

Omega is clearly successful now. But there was a time of mergers and struggles when ASUAG and SSIH had to be restructured and merged. The emergence of Swatch watches helped regain market share from Japan. So, would the group have succeeded without Swatch?

(Wikipedia offers a concise summary in the entry on Nicolas Hayek, Swatch Group creator and CEO.)

Maybe Swatch was a timely 'band-aid.' Swatch certainly roared into existence. Given their low entry cost / price, they appealed to the masses.

I was a huge #swatch guy back in the day. I wish I still had them all. This one is either one I had or wanted. Love it. It brings a smile to my face.