- Fashion and Beauty
Retro Swatch Watches from the '80s and '90s
80s Swatches are Fantastic Plastic Machines
Interested in the retro Swatch watch? I'm sure all 80s kids remember those bright, colorful plastic watches that were everywhere during the decade. How about the Pop Swatch, who can forget those? They're called such because you can pop the main timepiece out and attach it anywhere you please -- your bag, your t-shirt, even your jeans.
May this page serve as a guide for other 80s revellers who are interested in how the Swatch phenomenon came to be and, at the same time, on the lookout for retro Swatch watches to either give as gifts or keep in a collection.
Photo from Swatch & Beyond
Below is a reprint of an eHow guide on How to Buy Swatch Watches, for your reference.
1 Determine what style you're looking for. Swatch carries men's, women's and unisex watches. They also have more expensive watches with linked bands, watches for divers and of course, the popular retro watches.
2 Check out the Swatch store online. Here you can find the latest collections and all their different styles. You can find everything from the cute and quirky to the stylish and refined.
3 Shop other Internet websites. There are several Internet sites that sell different brand-name watches, Swatch among them. Most are based in the UK and often list prices in the form of pounds. A Swatch retro style watch typically costs about $50. Other Swatch lines are more expensive.
4 Bid on eBay. You maybe able to find some of the older Swatch styles on eBay auctions. Swatches are becoming real collector's items and there's a demand for them.
5 Search around at local consignment shops, yard sales and such. Often, older Swatches turn up at bargain prices. Because of the quality craftsmanship, with a new battery, chances are the Swatch will tick again.
Relive the 80s, watch this retro Swatch ad.
Buy solid color Swatch Originals watches in bright hues
Colorful Swatch watches that are reminiscent of 80s Swatches
Another Swatch commercial from the '80s.
Swatch obviously did not plan on making it easy for collectors to acquire the complete collections. If you want the entire collection, you will have to face the complicated task of ordering it direct from Switzerland or search out every single Swatch outlet. Swatch provides each store with watches on its own prerogative without giving stores the opportunity to ask for certain styles. Also, Swatch produces only a certain number of each watch design, only 100-300 for the whole world, and this is why the price for some styles is ten to twenty times higher than their original price.
If you're not looking to buy an entire collection but would just like a few retro pieces thank you, you may refer to the following list of Swatch families.
The Originals are plastic cased watches. These are the first watches to come out in the '80s and are available in various sizes, shapes and designs. The originals have sub-families as well:
- Standard Collection (Standard Gents, Standard Ladies, Pop Swatch, Automatic Swatch)
- Chrono Watches
- Water Watches
- Ski/Access Watches
In 1994 Swatch launched the first collection of stainless steel gent and medium size Ironies in the USA. This line has a more classic feel, as opposed to the trendy quality of the original plastic line.
The skin family contains two sub families: Original Skin and Skin Chronograph. The original skin was introduced on October 6, 1997 as a thinner version of the original Swatch Watch. It is ultra thin, standing at 3.9 mm thin 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 the Swatch skin with a chronograph function. It has two additional buttons on the side of the watch.
The Beat family launched in 1998 and incorporated beat watches across the three existing families, adding twists and extra features. Swatch Beat is their digital line and integrates Internet Time.
If you're serious about building a Swatch collection though, these book guides will certainly help.
The Swatch Watch was originally intended to re-capture entry level market share lost by Swiss manufacturers during the aggressive growth of Japanese companies such as Seiko in the 1960s and 1970s. Digital watches were also rising in popularity around the same time and analog watches were swiftly becoming a thing of yesteryear. The Swatch Group led by founder Nicolas G. Hayek then decided to launch the Swatch brand in1983, a line of slim plastic analog wristwatches that were both chic and affordable. Each colorful plastic watch was made up of only 51 components (as opposed to the usual 91 parts or more) so it combined top Swiss quality with a reasonable price. Since then it had gone on to become one of the most successful wristwatch brands of all time.
The peak of the Swatch's popularity was in the mid-1980s and it was not unusual to see celebrities sporting the wristwatch in movies, TV series, and fashion pictorials. Some '80s fads that stood out included wearing two Swatches or more on one arm at the same time and using a Swatch watch as a ponytail band. The Pop Swatch, a fun model that came out in 1986 allowed you to "pop" the timepiece out of the strap and attach it directly to your clothing. Around this same time, Swatch introduced the idea of pairing up with noted artists like Keith Haring, among others. Artist watches gave a new cache to what had previously been a trendy youth article.
For more information about purchasing 80s Swatch Watches, turn to the following official websites and dealers.
- Official Swatch Website
Official Swatch site: browse the latest Swatch collections of Swatch Originals, Irony, Skin, Flik Flak, and Swatch Bijoux (jewellery). Buy watches online in our Swatch store.
- Squiggly Swatch Watches and Straps - Online Watch Store
Swatch Originals / Skin / Irony / Flik Flak
- Swatch Watches - The UK's Largest and favourite Swatch Watch store.
We have over 400 models of Swatch watch available in our secure ecommerce store including special editions like the Mothers day, Valentine's and Christmas watches. watches can be despatched the same day for next day delivery within the United kingdom
- Vintage Swatch watch rare swatch watches
Over 1500 New Vintage Swatch watches from 1983 to 2008 Limited edition rare Scuba Automatic Chronograph Skin Ladies Largest online Swatch watch Store in U.S.
Can't get enough of the retro Swatch ads? Here are a few more.
I owned a couple of 80s Swatches myself, "Belvedere" & "Nafea", 1987 models pictured at right. I loved the graphics and I remember wearing them for years, up until the hinges for the straps broke off. Friends and I would exchange Swatch Watch straps and yes, we're guilty of linking them together and wearing them as bracelets or ponytail bands. (Don't give me that look, it was quite chic back then.) The colorful plastic watches sure caught attention and they perfectly complemented the outlandish fashion back in the decade.
Swatch watches are still in production and the new models have new features and are more durable than their earlier counterparts. However the allure of seeking out rare vintage Swatches is irresistible. It's a cliché I know but it's true, they no longer make them like they used to.
Do you have a Swatch watch from the 80s or 90s? Does it still work? Leave your thoughts on retro watches and this lens here.