Sotheby’s Hong Kong. It’s April 2015. An anxious 68-year-old watch collector from Luxembourg waits at the auction area. Later, Paul Dunkel calls it “some of the most anxious 20 minutes” he’e ever spent. Not surprising, considering that it was his 5,800-piece ‘super lot’ of Swatch watches that was going under the hammer. To his surprise, the lot was sent off for a cool $6 million. Not a bad deal for someone who’d been collecting the watches since Swatch unveiled its first few pieces in 1983.
But why are we talking about auctions here? Probably because Swatch’s new Spring/Summer 2015 line is worthy of starting Dunkel’s new collection (now that he’s free and loaded and has enough storage space in his home). If you ask why, we would suggest you take a dekko at the watches that have everything—from the sun, sand, water, pets, even snacks—on their dials and straps.
This isn’t the first time that Swatch—a company founded by watch maverick Nicolas George Hayek—has decided to amuse its patrons, the ones who don’t mind ditching classic metal for shiny plastic once in a while. Segregated into interesting themes—Surfing the Wave, Mediterranean Dolce Vita, My Pet & Me, Spring Breeze, In the Playroom, Gran Turismo and Red-White-Blue—the 90 new watches promise to be a collector’s delight. How else would you find fish and onions on your wrist?
Think of it as a watch for every season, every occasion. If you are packing your bags for the beach, you could pull on a sports watch inspired by the high tides, called Surfing the Waves. The watches come in colour combination of sea and sand. For those who believe that the jazz age was the best and would pay anything to be transported to the 1920s, the Spring Breeze watches might offer some consolation. Delicate designs in pastels, shimmer and metal give a sense of the roaring twenties. Pet lovers can carry their furry friends on their wrist by choosing a watch from My Pet & Me line that comes with cats, dogs, owls and panda prints. Gran Turismo with its tough-looking watches is for those who love the fast lane, tarmac and smoke emanating from wheeled beasts. The Red-White-Blue line is inspired by the life of a sailor, his lady love and adventures on the high seas.
But what really caught everyone’s eyes at the launch, and we’re not surprised, was the ‘Mediterranean Dolce Vita’ line. These timepieces carry slices of onions, oranges, tomatoes, and even a smoked fish, on their face and strap. Well, we’re not sure how many of us would like to walk around with food strapped onto our wrists, but it’s definitely an out-of-the-box idea.
All the watches, much as usual, are crafted in stainless steel, leather, silicon and high quality plastic. The graphics are printed on to the dial and strap using a patented technique at its Swiss factory. “All watches have quartz movement. The finished pieces were imported last year well in time for the launch in India,” says Gaurav Suri, deputy brand manager for Swatch India.
While most of the watches were made available in Swatch stores across India from February, Surfing the Wave and Mediterranean Dolce Vita were launched only in April. after a formal unveiling. “We’re not retailing it online,” Suri says. We wonder why since the price range (Rs 2,900-10,150) might attract online consumers.