The holiday season is upon us, and while most of us Fratelli may be hoping for a watch box under the tree, giving the gift of the horology bug to someone else can be a bit more challenging! Luckily, if you are like me, you have impressionable children on whom you might impart the wisdom of how important timeliness is and give them the gift of being a cool watch person like Dad (or Mom). Ours is a fun hobby, so why not start them young? In fact, they might have already noticed your obsession!

Origin stories

It is interesting that most of us have that singular moment when we started on the journey to watch collecting (you can read mine here). Regardless of the particular milestone in our lives, the occasion was marked with a watch, either given or purchased. Despite this clear marking of time, there always tends to be more to the story. Most of the collectors I have spoken to have stated, “Even when I was a kid, I always had some kind of watch.” They might not have known it, but that cool Timex Indiglo or Mickey Mouse watch might have been the spark.

I have thought about passing this love of watches down to my three sons on many occasions (for the sake of this story, the third one is too young to even speak, so we will have to work on him as he gets older) either via watches that will one day be theirs or through watches of their own. I already have watches that will be passed to them when they are the right age. However, I wanted something that could spark a love for watches in them. As we all do, I went down my typical rabbit hole of research to find the correct watches for my two older sons (to be given to them as birthday presents by my mother-in-law). I came to a very simple conclusion: as a kid’s first watch, the Swatch Flik Flak R26 is unbeatable!

Swatch Flik Flak R26

Variety and functionality

These days, there is a growing array of watches on offer for kids. So how did I conclude that a Flik Flak was perfect for my boys? It came down to a few key things. First, the variety of options offered by Swatch in this line certainly means there can be something for almost everyone. The straps and dials are themed for animals, sports, outer space, and more. They come in a wide variety of color combinations for whatever your child might like. In fact, narrowing it down to just two was a bit of a challenge.

The deciding factor for us, though, came down to the boys. Each morning, as we are getting ready to go to school, we sit around the breakfast table. It can be brief some mornings, but it’s a special time just before the chaos of the day truly begins. Usually, over this briefest of meals, one of my sons asks a simple question about my watch for that day. “Daddy, does that watch turn?” is so simple, but it sparks a little conversation between the three of us each morning that makes my day. Some days, my answer is, “Yes!” which is followed by them attempting to turn the dive bezel (something done easier with my SPB149 than, say, my Black Bay Steel). Other times, the answer is, “No, but this one has buttons,” if I happen to be wearing my Speedmaster or El Primero.

These conversations mean the world to me. They show me that the boys are paying attention, and as a father, I need to be cognizant of the example I set for them. They also allow me to show them something I’m passionate about and discuss it with them on their level. These conversations even led to my middle son wearing one of my wife’s old running watches that didn’t have a battery. They also told me which Flik Flak models to select. I needed to get “watches that turn!

Swatch Flik Flak R26

Simple and sturdy

Every time I see our boys wearing their watches, I smile. A lot of that has to do with how neat the Swatch Flik Flak model R26 is. The R26 has a 30-click unidirectional timing bezel, which is the main reason to get this model. I am more of a tool-watch person, and my boys have clearly picked up on that. Having a watch that “turns” is the main reason my middle son wears his almost every day. My older son loves to set a timer on his watch. The audible click sounds familiar, and it will actually be used to keep track of time one day, I’m sure of it.

Swatch Flik Flak R26

More importantly, the bezel serves a purpose. Marked with the minutes from 5 to 60, it helps the kids learn to tell the time. The hours are on the dial, while the minutes are on the bezel. The hour and minute hands are different colors to help the kids distinguish between the two. This is a well-thought-out design to help kids learn to analog time in an increasingly digital world.

The R26 has a bio-sourced plastic case that measures 34.75mm across. While this might not be the smallest watch, it looks right at home on my sons’ wrists (for reference, the boys are five and three years old). The strap is made from recycled PET plastic, and it is soft and pliable. The quartz movement and 3 ATM of water resistance are more than enough for the kids, although I wouldn’t let them wear their watches in the bathtub or swimming pool. The R26 comes in many different themes and colors, and it can be personalized with a name on the strap. It is not too heavy on the wrist (which could be the case with a steel watch for a young child), but it also doesn’t feel cheap. For $50 or so, it is all you could want for a child’s first watch.

Swatch Flik Flak R26

Daily driver (with training wheels)

Our three-year-old has really taken to his Flik Flak, wearing it nearly every day. He has a unique sense of style with it, wearing it on the underside of his wrist most days. Sometimes he even asks me to put it on over the sleeve of his shirt, Agnelli style!

Our five-year-old wears his less often, but this is mostly because we don’t want him to lose it at school. He likes to wear his watch loose so that it doesn’t dig into his wrist. I can see a slightly loose Jubilee on that wrist someday!

The constant for both boys is the bezel. Regardless of where they are wearing their watches, I hear that familiar click. Sometimes, it is welcome. At other times, it is not! Thankfully, the click is not nearly as audible as you might imagine (though it certainly seems louder to my wife and me when we’re hoping that the boys will be quiet).

Swatch Flik Flak R26

Final thoughts

As we approach the holiday season, kids have many items that might be on their wish lists. While a watch might not be at the top, I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be a gift that is more well-received than you might realize. My sons pay more attention to the analog clock that we have in the kitchen than they do to the digital clock on the oven. They are already making the connection between their watches and other clocks. While they cannot tell the time yet, they understand the concept.

Telling time and budgeting time are important life skills. While children should not have to worry about these yet, they are crucial to learn and impart as a parent. Equally important is being able to read an analog clock. While we are spoiled for choice these days, I think that a Swatch Flik Flak might be the perfect first watch for a child. They provide functionality and simplicity that won’t break the bank.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch specifications

Flik Flak
Space Shuttle, Reptile Eye, and many more
Case Material
Bio-sourced plastic
Case Dimensions
Case Back
Battery slot
Swiss quartz
Water Resistance
Recycled PET plastic
Hours, minutes, and hacking seconds