Here at Fratello, we often discuss how the meaning of watches is far more important than the actual value or prestige of the brand that creates them. A well-worn watch with a lifetime’s worth of stories will always be the most interesting. So, for Mother’s Day this year, I decided to share the story of my mom’s watch. It’s a watch that’s present in my childhood memories and immortalized in baby pictures. It might have even predetermined my fascination for these timekeeping objects. But this is not an expensive luxury watch. It’s not a watch you’d think twice about if you saw it on someone’s wrist on the street or even in a junk pile at a flea market. To me, though, it’s one of the most special watches out there because it belongs to one of the people I love most on this planet — my mother.

The story begins in the summer of 1995 in the small coastal town of Platja d’Aro. This is a town located a short way up the coast from Sant Feliu de Guíxols. It’s where my grandmother was born and where many of my childhood summers were spent. Sant Feliu is bigger in terms of population, but it’s not as popular with tourists, as the beach is smaller. Platja d’Aro, however, offers two kilometers of sandy beach along with many shops and restaurants. One of these shops was a small Swatch boutique located on the main strip. In my research for this article, I have come to learn that the location sadly closed in 2019. But this was the place where, in the mid-1990s, my mom bought a Swatch Curry Powder that would accompany her for the next few years.

Summertime traditions

This would certainly not be the last time she would visit this Swatch boutique. In fact, she would do so almost every summer that we spent there. As a kid, part of our summer tradition was, after a long day at the beach, to head into Platja d’Aro’s main strip for dinner at the Baviera sandwich restaurant (which closed sometime between 2011 and 2015). After that, we’d take a walk, which would eventually lead us to the air-conditioned haven that was the tiny Swatch shop. Almost every summer, my mom would get herself a new watch. But for a few years, it was the bright orange and red Curry Powder model that became her go-to timepiece. As a kid, I remember being fascinated by its stretchy Fixo-Flex-style bracelet, which would stretch over my hand and pull at my arm hairs.

I remember staring through its slightly transparent case, looking at the circuits and levers of the movement inside. But the final memory of that watch was hearing from my mom upon her return from a business trip to Australia in 1998 that it had been stolen. It was during a stay at the Hilton in Perth that the watch disappeared from her hotel room, never to be seen again. Though now a distant memory, I remember being quite sad about the fact that the watch was gone. And over the course of the next 15 years or so, I didn’t really think about the watch. It wasn’t until 2016–2017 when my fascination with watches began to truly blossom that memories of the Curry Powder resurfaced.

Rekindled memories and a realization

In fact, it wasn’t until Christmas of 2017, which was spent with my family in Madrid, that I realized that the watch was immortalized in a picture of my mom holding my brother from 1995. This picture was likely taken only a month or two after the watch was purchased. This was at a time when my love for watches had already led me to discover the vast network of watch-related resources available online. And that included the Swatch Finder. This was a fantastic resource with which you could filter watches by year, color, size, and a number of other criteria. In fact, it’s the only way I was able to identify the specific model from this picture. However, it has since disappeared from the Swatch website. What a shame! If you’re listening, Swatch, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see the Swatch Finder return.

Anyway, after some research, I was able to identify the Swatch in the picture. I quickly realized that buying this watch again online was a very real possibility. Without wasting any time, I started looking into where and for how much I could buy it. As it turns out, it wasn’t the rarest or priciest of vintage Swatch watches (“vintage” used rather loosely here) and was definitely cheaper than the famous Swatch SCJ101 Grand Prix. Having found one in NOS condition for sale online, I bought it and gifted it to my mom for her birthday. I’ll never forget the emotional mix of disbelief and excitement when she finally unwrapped it. After almost two decades since it was stolen from her, the Swatch Curry Powder was back on her wrist.

The Swatch Curry Powder (GR125)

And there it has remained, only coming off in favor of others in her collection from time to time, always perfectly matched to her outfit. The Swatch Curry Powder is not an expensive or rare watch. It’s made of plastic that chips easily. It has a scratch-magnet of a Plexiglass crystal, uses a quartz movement, and is a small (33mm) but effective hair puller on its stretchy bracelet covered in bright orange scales. It does have quite an eye-catching design with its metallic “end links”, flowery dial, and matching warm tones used also on the hands. All things considered, it’s a watch that to most people would be nothing more than a curiosity. A relic of the brand’s past. But to me, it means so much more than the sum of all of these qualities. This watch is present in some of my earliest memories.

To both my mom and me, it’s a very special watch. And I know that having it back on her wrist meant more than if it had been any other watch. It’s all about the memories attached to it, the fact that it was stolen yet never forgotten throughout the years. To this very day, there’s a good chance that the watch on my mom’s wrist will be her Swatch Curry Powder. And every time I see it there, it just puts a smile on my face. Childhood memories of summers spent at the seaside in Costa Brava, rainy schooldays in Madrid, and everything in between come rushing back. To me, the watch is synonymous with all of those good times and a perfect reminder that the value of a watch isn’t in its price or prestige. Rather, it’s in the memories that you make with it.

Final thoughts

Now, some of you might not know this, but Mother’s Day in Spain was last Sunday and not today. But I still don’t want to miss the opportunity to wish my mom a very happy Mother’s Day — ¡Te quiero mucho mamá!

Make sure to also wish your mom a very happy Mother’s Day. And if she is no longer around, maybe just take a minute or two to reflect on that very special person in your life, and think of some of the good times you shared. From all of us here at Fratello, we wish all the mothers out there a very happy day!

Do you have any similar stories? Do you know/remember the watch your mom wears/wore? Share your stories with me in the comments below.

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