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Swatch introduces the rebirth of its iconic 1983 models. Some of them at least, made of bio-sourced materials instead of conventional plastics. Swatch announces that its watches are bioreloaded.
This might sound silly to you, but I often wonder what Swatch can do to make a comeback. Why do I care? Nostalgia for sure. I was born in 1977 and in my childhood, Swatch watches ruled the streets. Looking at today’s “watch landscape” among kids, they’ve become difficult to find. Watches in general, but also Swatch watches.
Swatch 1983 Returns — Bioreloaded
Very recently, I bought the Swatch × Bape watch. You should have seen the disappointment on my face when it arrived. That watch is not for me (yes, I could and should have known). I do believe collabs are one of the directions Swatch could go though, to be successful with the youth of today. In 2019, I bought the two Swatch × Mickey Mouse editions, for the 90th birthday of the little mouse, and I love them both — great watches. But perhaps not something that speaks to today’s teenager. More on that later. Let’s have a look at Swatch’s current release.
Swatch surprised the world with its plastic watches in 1983. I have developed a crush one of those first references, the GB100. But I only received my first Swatch a few years later. I have quite a collection of Swatches, including my first one. 37 years later, Swatch introduced a few new watches, very similar to those original 1983 models, but with a slight twist. Swatch now uses bio-sourced materials. What does that mean? Well, by using extracts of the seeds of the castor plant, Swatch refrains from using conventional plastics. Brand boffins have been able to master the industrialization of the production process using these materials, so they can produce all their Swatch watches like this. Consequently, the brand will replace all plastics with bio-sourced materials.
Aside from the eco-friendly production of Swatch watches from now on (starting with a few re-interpretations from 1983 for people like me), the packaging also underwent some changes. The Swatch packaging will be made of PaperFoam, which is biodegradable. If you plan to get rid of the packaging (I never do), it’s home compostable or recyclable with paper. Besides the 1983 originals in new materials (€65 each), Swatch also made a few other designs (€75). I will get the blue one myself!
Using eco-friendly materials for Swatch watches — and packaging — is something I had not thought of. But this might really speak to today’s teenagers, who are more eco-aware than I was in the 1980s (where basically everything was plastic). But is that enough? I don’t know the answer. I still believe the possibilities for Swatch are endless, due to its strong name (and brand) as well as the attractive price positioning. For instance, I have a 7-year old daughter who told me she will get a fountainpen this year in school. The teacher will hand it out at some point.
It made me think of my time in elementary school when I received a fountain pen. They were given to us to force us to write “neatly” and make our texts readable for others. In my time, it was a Pelikano. That was some collection for kids that was part of the Pelikan brand, or perhaps even a sub-brand. What has this got to do with Swatch? Well, I could think of Swatch making deals with schools (or nationwide school committees) to develop and deliver watches that are designed to teach kids how to read time. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to teach a 6 or 7-year old to read the time on a three-hand watch. That an hour has 60 minutes, and each minute has 60 seconds.
That concept is difficult to explain to a young kid. If Swatch can develop a watch that enables kids to learn how to do that (as the Swatch Group has done quite well with its Flik Flak series), that’s a winner. Not only that, but it will also leave Swatch marked as a (cool) watch brand with these kids. It is just an idea that popped-up recently when I thought of Swatch and what the brand can do to capture the zeitgeist as it did in 1983.
1983 Price and Availability
But back to the present day: the new Swatch “1983” collection is available as of now and starts at €65. The watches have been introduced over the past few days in a number of countries, and available online and in selected Swatch boutiques.
Go to Swatch online for more information (and ordering).