Swatch’s latest collection is both a callback to their origins in the early 80s, and a recognition of the changing watch landscape as the brand steps toward the future. The new watches are, as Swatch puts it, “Bio-Reloaded,” and are made of environmentally friendly materials. This is nothing new for watch brands – we’ve seen an enormous influx of new releases over the past few years that incorporate, for example, minimal packaging made from recycled materials. And there are plenty of examples of watches themselves being made from novel materials in an earth friendly way. But for Swatch, a brand whose identity is tied so closely to affordable watches that are perhaps not made from the most environmentally friendly materials, this news hits a little different.
According to Swatch, this represents the first time a brand has succeeded in replacing all conventional components with bio sourced materials. We assume that includes the case, strap, and crystal, all made from plastics in a traditional Swatch. To accomplish this, Swatch developed materials that are made from the seeds of castor plants, and the end result still meets the “Swiss Made” designation that Swatch has always proudly stamped on all of their products.
Keeping up with current industry trends, the packaging for the new watches is fully biodegradable, and made from a paperfoam compound that’s produced with a mix of potato and tapioca starch. Swatch tells us that it can even be composted at home, which is not something I can recall seeing in a press release for a new watch announcement. Ever.
The watches themselves have been given the “1983 Collection” moniker, as they’re based on the brand’s initial releases from that year. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of those first Swatches to the watch industry at large – almost everyone involved in this hobby (and many, many more who are not “enthusiasts” but simply average watch consumers) has a Swatch story in their back pocket. These designs are clearly a play on that sense of nostalgia, and you can’t blame Swatch in the least for going back to the well.
There are a total of six watches in the new collection, with a variety of colors, as you’d expect, and two different dial layouts. There’s a minimalist three hand layout with no hour or minute markers of any kind, allowing the color combinations to take center stage, along with an option that those who value timekeeping precision will prefer, with Arabic numerals at every hour and an easily visible minutes track. Interestingly, the typeface on watches with numerals has been modeled after the signage at the new Swatch Headquarters in Switzerland.
The 1983 Collection follows Swatch’s “Gents” sizing, and measures 34mm in diameter. Retail pricing is set at $70, and the watches are available this month. Swatch