The MoonSwatch has put Swatch at the center of attention in 2022. But as the legend goes, Swatch single-handedly rescued the Swiss watch industry in the 1980s. Swatch offered affordable quartz-powered watches, intended as disposable and fun accessories to spice up your look. When Swatch hit the scene in 1983, the Swiss watch industry was in terrible condition compared to just a decade before.

Swatch was introduced in a decade that brings back great memories for me — waking up very early on Saturday mornings to quietly watch and enjoy Transformers, M.A.S.K., and G.I. Joe; playing endlessly with space LEGOs, and riding BMX bikes with my friends. TV shows like The A-Team, Airwolf, and Knight Rider aired, and do you remember MacGyver, perhaps? It seemed that Angus MacGyver was always using his red Swiss Army knife to dismantle bombs or at least help him out of nasty situations. MacGuyver used both Wenger and Victorinox knives, but according to some reliable sources, the Victorinox Tinker is the one he used most when the show aired. Besides a Swiss Army knife, all the kids also wanted another Swiss product — a Swatch.

Swatch collector

An early Swatch brochure. Image source:

The 1980s Swatch craze

Swatch doesn’t stand for “Swiss watch”, but rather, it is a contraction of “second watch”. It was a fun watch to own, perhaps intended as an alternative for your “serious” watch. I don’t think it worked that way, at least not for kids. A Swatch was something you wanted, something you had to have. Needless to say, the small booklets showing the latest models quickly disappeared from the stands outside the local jeweler.

Swatch holds an important place in my memories, and perhaps that’s why I cherish the brand so much today. Even in the years between my childhood and the launch of the MoonSwatch, I continued buying multiple Swatches every year. And apparently, I am not the only one. Here in the Fratello office, we all own our share of Swatches. Even those who were born a decade after the Swatch hype have them. Swatch is a brand that most of us respect, and I think most watch journalists and editors do too. Of course, there are a few who hate plastic watches, but that’s fine as well. They can at least have their way with the Swatch Irony collection or check out the platinum (yes, platinum) Swatch Trésor Magique from 1993.

Swatch collector

The typical Swatch leaflet from the 1980s. Image source:

I expect great things to happen next year for the 40th anniversary of Swatch. Something cool, something momentous. Not just a re-edition of the first single-color Swatch models with “Quartz” prominently printed on the dial (which the brand already did in Bioceramic — click here). Perhaps a box set of re-editions of those, yes, but it would also be great to see something new and exciting to wear. Something out-of-the-box that taps into what made Swatch so great to start with.

Swatch collector

Image (c) @Mister_Swatch

Interview with Swatch collector Andrea (@Mister_Swatch)

Often, I find myself browsing eBay, Catawiki, and some local digital marketplaces for nice Swatch watches. And I’ve been following some (more) serious Swatch collectors on Instagram recently. One of them is Andrea from Italy. He was born more than a decade after the launch of Swatch but is a very dedicated collector nonetheless.

I asked him about his passion for Swatch watches, his favorite models, and perhaps most interesting, his view on the MoonSwatch. We have a lot of Omega Speedmaster fans reading Fratello, and we’ve been able to read the reception of the MoonSwatch in the comments of our articles. But what about the opinion of a real Swatch collector? It might be very different from those of mechanical-watch collectors.

Fratello: Andrea, can you tell our readers who you are?

Andrea: My name is Andrea, and I was born in 1996. Already a watch enthusiast since childhood thanks to the passion my father passed down to me, my first watch was an old Swatch that I received for my birthday. If I remember correctly, I was six or seven years old, and since that day, I have always had a timepiece on my wrist. I never leave home without it. I am a big watch enthusiast in general. Still, the emotions that Swatch watches give me are ones that I don’t find in any other watch. This is especially true for the vintage Swatch models, watches with more than 30 years of life that still mark the time without missing a single second.

When did you start collecting Swatch watches?

I started collecting Swatches in about 2014. My parents already had several vintage Swatches, and I wanted to create my own collection. I wanted to start with vintage models, and I would look for them everywhere — fairs, flea markets, online, wherever I could. I would also buy some broken models, and in my spare time, I would try to fix them.

Swatch collector

White Horses ref. SCW100P1. Image (c) @Mister_Swatch

What is your favorite Swatch watch in your collection?

That’s not an easy question. I have several that I am particularly fond of for different reasons, including the now-famous Grand Prix ref. SCJ101. I bought two of them at a fair with my father — one for me and one for him. Another model to which I am very attached is the Sound ref. SCL102 that my mother used and then gave to me as a gift when I first started taking pictures for my @Mister_Swatch account. Another very interesting watch is the White Horses ref. SCW100P1. It is a prototype without a movement that differs from the classic White Horses in that it has an inverted color and small hands.

Swatch collector

Swatch Rollerball ref. SCB107. Image source: eBay

What is the Swatch that is most underrated yet very interesting?

Until recently, the Kailua Diver ref. GB712 could certainly be found at really attractive prices, and you had the complete watch, marked time, date, and day. A few months ago, it started to reach more challenging prices. One watch that, in my opinion, still has not reached the value it deserves is the Rollerball ref. SCB107. It is an elegant watch with a very nice dial.

When and why did you start the @Mister_Swatch account on Instagram?

In May 2021, I had a bad car accident that kept me bedridden for several months. To fill the time during those very long days, I often looked at photos and videos of watches on IG, and in 90% of the cases, I always came up with high-end watches from luxury brands. From those videos, the idea of Mister Swatch was born. I share my collection of Swatches on Instagram, showing them as if they were real luxury watches, inside very elegant boxes or doing the classic “wrist roll.”

What do you think of the MoonSwatch?

I think it was a very good marketing move to launch the Swatch brand even higher! They created a very good product by not staying only with the “Moon” theme but also selecting all the planets, thus creating a range of products that are very nice and colorful but, most importantly, suitable for everyone. Some colors didn’t excite me during the launch, but you fall in love once you see them in real life. Each has features that make it unique with very good attention to detail. I enjoy matching them according to the outfit.

The Swatch production facility in Grenchen

Do you feel it is a Swatch, an Omega, or both?

A Swatch! Of course, there are clear references to Omega. Every watch also bears the logo on the dial and strap. However, they are classic Swatch watches — beautiful, colorful, and driving everyone crazy.

MoonSwatch Mission To Mercury. Image (c) @Mister_Swatch

Which MoonSwatch is your favorite?

My favorite MoonSwatch is the Mission To Mercury. It knows how to be sporty and elegant, and the colors allow you to use it on any occasion. Plus, having those colors, it’s a lot of fun to play around with, swapping the straps for brighter shades.

Queuing up for the Swatch boutique in Amsterdam on March 26th

Do you think Swatch should have offered the MoonSwatch online?

Certainly, having them sold exclusively in certain boutiques has penalized people further afield who would have preferred online sales. But it is also true that if you make a product easily available to everyone, you don’t get the same kind of feedback in the market. The launch of the MoonSwatches was at the end of March, and even today, there are lines in front of Swatch stores that are still being discussed.

Swatch × Kiki Picasso

What would be your dream Swatch?

Every Swatch collector dreams of having the famous Kiki Picasso in their collection.

Thank you for this interview!

Swatch love

For me, it is interesting to hear the perspective of a Swatch collector, someone who’s not so much into Omega or any other luxury watch brand. Andrea also clearly indicates that he sees the MoonSwatch as a Swatch, not an Omega. We know how the MoonSwatch also had a positive effect on the sales of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. But I would also be interested to learn about the effect on Swatch’s total sales due to the MoonSwatch. Other Swatch models must also have received traction because of all the traffic in the brand’s stores and boutiques.

I will continue to be a Swatch hoarder. I love the Swatch brand and concept, although I believe the products have shifted from disposable accessories to watches with a very acceptable lifespan. My Swatches from the 1980s still work fine, and only some of the straps and cases have become “brittle” over time. The quality of Swatch’s plastics (and Bioceramic) has improved, so I am sure that the later models will last even longer.

Make sure to follow Swatch collector @Mister_Swatch on Instagram. Our other Swatch-related stories and news can be found here.