Yes, Swatch has just released its newest collab with Blancpain, and it’s currently all over our social media feeds. But have you heard about the other famous Swatch collaborations?
Nowadays, collaborations have become a useful and valuable tool for brands to grow their audience. Whether it’s high fashion, streetwear, artwork, or even timepieces, we’ve all seen some sort of collaboration before.
Swatch is one of the kings of collabs. Founded in 1983, this Swiss watch brand was among the first to recognise the significance of brand partnerships. Not only is partnering with another brand beneficial for Swatch, but the same goes for their collaborators. For instance, if you check out the recent Swatch and Blancpain unexpected collaboration, the product was making waves even before the release. Despite Swatch having had numerous partnerships since the 80s, here are some famous Swatch collaborations you should know.
Famous Swatch collaborations to check out
Swatch x OMEGA Moonswatch
The Swatch and OMEGA collaboration in 2022 took the world by storm as many individuals tried to get their hands on the recreation of the Speedmaster Moonwatch. Available in various colours, this collaborative project between the two brands received massive global attention and excitement. Why? The Bioceramic Moonswatch collection was a great marketing ploy as it allowed people to enjoy the aesthetics of OMEGA’s Moonwatch at a significantly reduced price (at retail, of course). Now, the Moonswatch is iconic, becoming a part of pop culture. Even if you’re not a watch person, it’s very likely you’ve heard of the Moonswatch.
Swatch x Jean-Michel Basquiat
Just a few months ago, Swatch paid tribute to one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, Jean-Michel Basquiat. This collab is a limited three-watch set that brings Basquiat’s iconic paintings from the early 1980s to one’s wrist. Not only is it edgy with the vibrant colours and red and black hands, but there’s also a deeper meaning to the designs.
Swatch x HODINKEE
After its release in 2017, the Swatch Sistem51 HODINKEE Vintage 84 flew off the shelves in just three days. The Vintage 84 is undeniably stylish with its translucent black plastic case and the comfortable silicone strap. And although the timepiece may look like your typical Swatch at first, you’ll discover it’s much more refined.
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Swatch x Manish Arora
Back in 2010, Indian fashion maker Manish Arora designed the Over Charm Swatch. It’s like a semi-bangle bracelet with clusters of heart-shaped charms dangling from the bangle. For the centre stage, romance takes over with a vibrant fluorescent pink dial and shiny silver heart motifs marking the hours. A very cute timepiece.
Swatch x Stephen Dean
While this collaboration seems less flashy and exciting than other Swatch partnerships, it nonetheless possesses a compelling allure. The Painted Time collection comprises five distinct timepieces that use colourful plexiglass to harmonise with the watch’s elements. For those well-versed in Stephen Dean’s artistic oeuvre, it’s evident that this collection mirrors his signature style. For art lovers, it’s like having his original artwork on your wrist without paying a fortune.
Swatch x David LaChapelle featuring Amanda Lepore
Imagine having Lepore’s face and red lips on your watch dial, along with a naked geisha on the straps. This Swatch collaboration was truly revolutionary. Although it may not seem provocative now, back in 2000, it sure was, as the Time Tranny edition was an important step towards inclusion for the LBGTQIA+ community.
Swatch x Vivienne Westwood
Despite the POP Swatch collection debuting in 1986, it wasn’t until 1993 that the legendary Vivienne Westwood put her magic on it. The timepiece had her signature flair, and the box came in Westwood’s iconic cross-topped orb logo. This collaboration also marked the first time a fashion designer contributed to the watch’s design.
Swatch x Alfred Hofkunst
A very unique Swatch collaboration was with Alfred Hofkunst in 1991. The Austrian artist was one of the first Swatch collaborators who took a different approach to incorporating his artwork into the watches. Hofkunst went outside the traditional silhouette when developing the Swatchetables. The pieces were mini sculptural time-telling devices that reimagined popular foods. This collection came in red pepper, cucumber, and a strip of bacon.
Swatch x Keith Haring
Although Swatch and Keith Haring had a recent collaboration in 2021, the legendary duo actually joined forces in 1986. It may look like doodles, but Haring’s colourful abstracts depicted worldly issues and were a sign of those times. On the 1986 Swatch watches, we see his designs on the four models that carry his street art legacy in bite-size versions.
Swatch x Kiki Picasso
Lastly, we can’t forget the creative collaboration piece that started it all— the GZ008. In 1985, Swatch partnered with French artist Kiki Picasso to create the avant-garde GZ008, limited to 140 pieces. Despite Swatch’s spark in popularity before this collab, the project with Picasso propelled the brand to new heights. The GZ008 was more than just a watch. It was art that represented that decade all in one. Starting at USD 48, the watch is now sold for up to USD 30,000.
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[All images courtesy of Swatch]
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok