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For other uses, see Swatch (disambiguation).
Swatch Ltd
Industry Watchmaking
Founded 1983; 33 years ago (1983)
Founder Nicolas Hayek
Headquarters Biel, Switzerland
Key people
Nick Hayek, Jr. (Chairman, President)
Products Wristwatches
Parent The Swatch Group
Subsidiaries Flik Flak

Swatch is a Swiss watchmaker founded in 1983 by Nicolas Hayek, and is subsidiary of The Swatch Group.

The manufacturer is one of the key roles that ended the quartz crisis of the 1980s.


Swatch Store

"Swatch" began development in the early 1980s, under the leadership of the then ETA SA's CEO, Ernst Thomke with a small team of enthusiastic watch engineers led by Elmar Mock and Jacques Müller.[1]

Conceived at the beginning as a standard timekeeper in plastic, Franz Sprecher,[2] a marketing consultant hired by Thomke to give the project an outsider's consideration, soon led the project into what it has become: a trendy line of watches with a full brand identity and marketing concept—instead of developing just another watch collection, which could have soon been matched by the competition.

Swatch was originally intended to re-capture entry level market share lost by Swiss manufacturers during the quartz crisis and the subsequent growth of Japanese companies such as Seiko and Citizen in the 1960s and 1970s, and to re-popularize analog watches at a time when digital watches had achieved wide popularity. The launch of the Swatch brand in 1983 was marked by bold new styling, design and marketing.

Lebanese entrepreneur, Nicolas G. Hayek, who, with a group of Swiss investors, took over a majority shareholding of Swatch during 1985 in the then, between ASUAG and SSIH, newly consolidated group under the name Societe Suisse de Microelectronique et d'Horlogerie, or SMH, became Chairman of the board of directors and CEO in 1986 (who later significantly changed its name to Swatch Group), further masterminded its development to reach its now major worldwide Swiss watch brand status within the lower end of watch prices.

This combination of marketing and manufacturing expertise restored Switzerland as a major player in the world wristwatch market. Synthetic materials were used for the watchcases as well as a new ultra-sonic welding process and assembly technology. The number of components was reduced from 91 or more to 51, with no loss of accuracy.[3] The Swatch watch was also known as the savior, to many of the swatch-watch style fans.

In 2015, Swatch announced the Group was planning to start selling a smartwatch, potentially pitting the Swiss maker of colorful plastic timepieces against the debut of the Apple Watch.[4]


The name "Swatch" is a contraction of "Second Watch" – coined by Nichole Lopez[5] because the new watch was introduced with a new concept of watches as casual, fun, and relatively disposable accessories.[6]

First collection[edit]

The first collection of twelve Swatch models was introduced on 1 March 1983 in Zürich, Switzerland. Initially the price ranged from CHF 39.90 to CHF 49.90 but was standardized to CHF 50.00 in autumn of the same year. Sales targets were set to one million timepieces for 1983 and 2.5 million the year after. With an aggressive marketing campaign and a very reasonable price for a Swiss-made watch, it gained instant popularity in its home market. Compared to conventional watches, a Swatch was 80% cheaper to produce by fully automating assembly and reducing the number of parts from the usual 91 or more to only 51 components.


A Swatch watch.

Some models, like the Pop Swatch, allowed wearers to attach Swatches directly to clothing. A neon-colored protective 'Swatch Guard' was a thin rubber-band like strip with hoops on both ends that would stretch over the watch face; a second type of Swatch Guard was a 1/8"-thick hard plastic ring which encircled the face and snapped onto the sides.

Product structure[edit]

Diversified offerings[edit]

Range of Swatches

From the original cult plastic watches, Swatch has diversified its offerings considerably, and the company now sells more than a dozen different types of watches, including metal-bodied watches (the Irony series); diving watches (the Scuba series); thin and flat bodied watches (the Skin family); and even an Internet-connected watch that can download stock quotes, news headlines, weather reports, and other data (the Paparazzi series).

Swatches have become fashionable objects, generating specialized models (the "Flik-Flak" for children) quartz chronographes, automatic and automatic chronographes movements, and even some diamond-decorated Swatches. The company also produces watches with seasonal themes.

Product lines[edit]

Swatch Irony "Charcoal Suit"
Flik Flak Spain World Cup Edition
Swatch Swiss Autoquarz, 1998

There are families under the Swatch brand:

Swatch Originals[edit]

The Originals are plastic cased watches. They are available in various sizes, shapes, and designs. The originals consist of various sub-families as well.

Swatch Irony[edit]

The Irony family contains all the metal-cased watches produced by Swatch. These are serviceable, automatic mechanical watches. They have a 21J/23J ETA 2842 movement. This movement is exclusive to Swatch and is derived from 2824-2.

Irony Chronograph was introduced in Aug 2013.

Swatch Skin[edit]

The Skin family contains two sub families: Original Skin and Skin Chronograph. The Original Skin was introduced on 6 October 1997 as a thinner version of the original Swatch watch. It is ultra thin, standing at 3.9 mm, hence the name Swatch Skin. The Swatch Skin later went on to enter the Guinness World Book of Records as the world's thinnest plastic watch. The Swatch Chronograph is simply the Swatch Skin with a chronograph function, adding two additional buttons on the side of the watch.

Swatch Beat[edit]

The Beat family, launched in 1998, is incorporated across the three existing families. Beat is a decimal time concept introduced in 1998 and marketed by Swatch as an alternative, decimal measure of time (see Swatch Internet Time).

Swatch Bijoux[edit]

The Bijoux line is the jewelry line that Swatch released in the new millennium. It partnered with Swarovski to encrust the Bijoux line of watches.

Swatch Touch[edit]

The Touch line, launched in 2011, derives its name from the touchscreen technology used. In contrast to other Swatch families, a digital LCD shows the time. Various models in different colors of the display are available, which include backlighting for reading in the dark.[7]

Swatch Bellamy[edit]

This swatch model of a wristwatch with a quartz movement is additionally equipped with a near-field communication (NFC) chip to accommodate contactless payment. In November 2015, Swatch and Visa Inc. announced a partnership to enable NFC financial transactions using the Swatch Bellamy wristwatch. The system is currently running in Asia thanks to a partnership with China UnionPay and Bank of Communications. The Visa partnership will bring the technology to the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland next.[8]

Swatch sistem51[edit]

In contrast to the other Swatch models with quartz movement, sistem51 is a purely mechanical, automatic wristwatch. An entirely new movement was developed, officially unveiled during Basel World in Spring 2013. The sistem51 was developed by ETA, the industrial entity owned by the SwatchGroup, which develops and produces the movements for the different brands of the group. The number of parts was reduced to only 51 pieces, suitable for automatic assembly by robots.[9] Even the initial adjustment of time-keeping is done by a laser trimmer automatically, without human intervention. Unlike cheap former Roskopf movements, sistem51 uses 17 semi-precious bearings and features 90 hours runtime after being mechanically moved before.[10][11]

Sport sponsoring and timekeeping[edit]

SWATCH FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour[edit]

The Swatch and FIVB (the International Volleyball Federation) signed the partnership deal in Lausanne, Switzerland on 27 February 2003. Swatch became title sponsor for the Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Swatch has provided FIVB with financial support as well as timing and technical innovations, with the electronic scoreboards supply and speed of service measurements as examples.

Through its international partnership with FIVB, Swatch supports the growth of public and media interest in beach volleyball. As the company has continuously maintained links with the world of sports, the global sponsorship agreement with FIVB became another important step in that involvement.

Swatch also participates in all FIVB Beach Volleyball world tour events through establishing points of sales and organizing side and merchandising activities. As part of the partnership, the company also develop each seasons two Swatch watch dedicated to the SWATCH FIVB Beach Volley World Tour.

SWATCH Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour[edit]

The SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour is an umbrella organization for prominent freestyle snowboard contests around the globe. World-renowned snowboarders compete through the ten-month tour with the aim to be crowned the male or female SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour champion, tallied by the SWATCH TTR World Ranking System. Apart from prize money totalling over 2,000,000 USD from participating events, the SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour will present the top men and women in the SWATCH TTR World Ranking List a share of 250,000USD – the largest end-of-season prize purse in the history of snowboarding.

Founded by Terje Haakonsen and industry innovators in 2002, the SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour is a non-profit, rider-driven organisation representing the progression of snowboarding. The SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour is based on global grass root and key independent freestyle snowboarding events over a ten-month period from Southern to Northern Hemisphere locations. Events are rated via a 1-through-6STAR system, with points allocated accordingly, a 6STAR event holds the highest. Any rider participating in these events, from up-and-coming to professional talent, earns ranking points and a position on the SWATCH TTR World Ranking List. The top male and female rider based on an average of their best six results of the season is crowned SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion.

Red Bull X-Fighters[edit]

Swatch is the official timekeeper and co-sponsor of the Red Bull X-Fighters. The 2008 title went to Swatch Pro Team member, Mat Rebeaud, who won 4 of the 6 events. Another Swatch Pro Team member, Robbie Maddison, obtained third place.

UCI BMX Supercross World Tour[edit]

For the first time in 2008 BMX Racing (Bicycle Motocross) cycling figured as a discipline in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Swatch is the official timekeeper and data handler of the BMX Supercross World Cup and UCI BMX World Championships.

Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro[edit]

Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro, a Freeride mobile event taking place in the European Alps, enables 26 best freeride snowboarders and skiers in the world to put their innovation and skill to the test. After 8 days of competition, the 2008 title was awarded to Jeremy Jones, member of the Swatch Pro Team.

O'Neill Highland Open by Swatch[edit]

Swatch is the partner of the O'Neill Highland Open by Swatch. Taking place on the northernmost coast of Scotland, this competition is the principal and certainly the coldest stages for the surfers in the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS).

Swatch Free4Style[edit]

Over 30,000 people gathered over during the three-days event in Estavayer-le-Lac in Switzerland. Swatch Free4Style is an exceptional display of FMX, Jetski, and Wakeboard, delighting the crowds, especially the performance of local star, Mat Rebeaud.

Swatch Snow Mobile[edit]

Swatch ProTeam[edit]

Since the mid-1980s, successful athletes have been competing for honors as members of the ProTeam and ambassadors of Swatch. Swatch sponsors a number of top snowboarders, FMX & BMX riders, surfers and beach volleyball players.


  • Terje Haakonsen (Norway)
  • David Benedek (Germany)[12]
  • Xavier de le Rue (France)
  • Geraldine Fasnacht (Switzerland)
  • Christian Haller (Switzerland)
  • Jeremy Jones (USA)
  • Frederik Kalbermatten (Switzerland)
  • Jan Scherrer (Switzerland)
  • Nicolas Müller (Switzerland)
  • Anne-Flore Marxer (Switzerland)

Ski Freeride[edit]

  • Thomas Diet (France)
  • Sverre Lillequist (Sweden)
  • Phil Meier (Switzerland)
  • Cody Townsend (USA)
  • Kaj Zackrisson (Sweden)
  • migetsu getsuga (France)
  • Seb Michaud (France)
  • Joonas Karhumaa (Finland)
  • Laura Bohleber (Switzerland)
  • Mirjam Jäger (Switzerland)
  • Adam Brown (N.Ireland)

Freestyle Motocross (FMX)[edit]

  • Mat Rebeaud (Switzerland)
  • Busty Wolter (Germany)
  • Robbie Maddison (Australia)
  • Lance Coury (USA)


  • Bobby Martinez (USA)
  • Sam Lamiroy (UK)
  • Rikki lancaster (Australia)


Beach Volleyball[edit]

Mountain Bike[edit]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]