I know quite a few people who can’t wait for the return of the Swatch Neon collection, and the 1992 Grand Prix SCJ101 is the most famous of them all. Nacho is a big fan, has a few, and still wants more. RJ is also a fan but has never found one in good condition. Last year, the Neon To The Max revived the original in a revamped design, but it didn’t hit all the right notes, according to the connoisseurs. Is there a model that comes close to the OG Grand Prix among the six new Swatch Neon watches? And if not, are the alternatives good enough to brighten your day?

The 1992 Swatch Grand Prix SCJ101 is a charismatic, coveted, and collectible watch. This chronograph, in its 37mm case with popping colors, is indeed a bright reminder of the 1990s. However, if you wear one today, it also shows that you’re a Swatch connoisseur. Nacho and I are both lucky owners of the watch that can easily fetch US$800 or more in NOS condition. RJ is also a Swatch connoisseur and collector, but the neon-colored Grand Prix has eluded him so far. The Neon To The Max from last year was just too big to satisfy his desire for the original one. I’m afraid the six new Swatch Neon watches also won’t stop him from craving a 1992 Grand Prix. But that doesn’t mean there are no attractive watches among the six newcomers, three of which are chronographs.


The illustrious 1992 Grand Prix SCJ101

Six new Swatch Neon watches — we start with the three non-chronographs

Neon is very 1980s and 1990s, but since everything comes back like a boomerang, so does this bright range of colors with an energetic, optimistic, and somewhat punky vibe. I can’t look at a neon color without thinking about Doe Maar, a Dutch ska/pop band that started small and turned into a hit machine. Your association with neon is probably completely different, but you must have one because neon colors made a huge impact when they came out.

Swatch Neon

So did the Neon watches from Swatch. The new models build on the Neon collection that came out last year, but they take their inspiration from decades ago. Apart from the inescapable bright colors, the watches also stand out because of their bold graphical design elements. Take the €120 Neon Hot Racer SS08K119 (left) as an example. Like all the other models in this collection, this 34mm watch, which comes close to the OG Grand Prix, is mostly made from bio-sourced materials and loaded with color and geometrical elements. Inspiration comes from the original Gent Hot Racer from 1989, and this new watch utilizes a slim Skin Classic case. Inside it is a set of green hour and minute hands running over a dial that shows four different colors in segments. The strap is multicolored as well.

The 34mm Neon Pink Podium (middle) can be had in a regular version (SO28K111/ €75) or a Pay! variant (SO28K112-5300/ €90). This watch is an evolution of the Pink Podium from 1990, and its purple and pink mixture stands out the most. The €90 Neon Rider SO29G106 (right) uses a transparent matte green bio-sourced material for the 41mm case. Inspired by the original model from 1989, this model also brings a mix of black, yellow, orange, and a bit of blue.

New Swatch Neon

A trio of neon chronographs

To make sure you will experience the 1980s and ’90s style vibes to the max, Swatch cranked the color settings all the way up. The three new chronographs are also heritage-inspired designs, but a direct descendant of the Grand Prix is not among them.

Let’s start big with the 47mm Neon Jelly SB02K100 (€165) and Neon Jelly Pay! SB02K101-5300 (€180). Although the main theme is transparency, the neon yellow, orange, green, and blue tones dominate. The colored pushers match the buckle on the strap, tying the wild design together nicely. This watch is inspired by the original Jelly Stag from 1993.

Though a bit smaller at 42mm wide, the Neon Wave SUSJ404 (middle) is still very present. This €130 chronograph, with its transparent matte yellow case and daring multicolor dial, is also not what you would call a wallflower. Still, this watch, which pairs an orange seconds hand and sub-dials with blue, turquoise, and purple, is the most introverted of the six new Swatch Neon watches (if that’s even possible).

The final watch is the Neon Flash Arrow SUSG408 (right). It’s similar in price and size to the Neon Wave SUSJ404 and has the same battery-powered chronograph movement inside its transparent matte green case. Like the Neon Wave, the Neon Flash Arrow is a reinterpretation of a model from the early 1990s. The segmented multicolor dial with a date at 3 o’clock is the most eye-catching element. It also gets a boost from the yellow seconds hand and matte pink textured strap with transparent matte yellow and blue loops and a transparent matte green buckle.


Nacho wearing his Grand Prix while holding the Neon To the Max

So, do the pink straps, color-segmented dials, and all the other neon colors strike you positively? Do you see an alternative for the legendary Grand Prix that’s missing from your collection? Let me know in the comments, and visit the Swatch website for more info.