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The secret history of Swatch

A look at some of Swatch's key players with a chance to win a White Loop

The latest Swatch Club Special takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane from 1983 to 2013, with the captivating New Gent – the “White Loop”. But don’t let the name deceive you, the only white component on the watch is in fact the loop, with the rest of the Swatch offering a high-octane technicolor strap case and dial hosting a repertoire of signature slices of Swatch watch designs taken from the past three decades, recognisable to any Swatch aficionado.

From the cult 80s “Flumotions” edition to the humoristic “Swiss Mad”, the “White Loop” is steeped with splices of Swatch history arranged like steps on a ladder paying homage to the past. Also staking out a strip of real estate on the watch are iconic Swatch Art Specials paying tribute to collaborations with contemporary artists from Sam Francis to Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. There is always something unique about a watch made specifically for Swatch Club members and the “White Loop” is by no means an exception, those who have already purchased “White Loop” can use their unique code to access to a more exclusive 2nd Club watch later this year. Here we thought it apt to chart the history of Swatch and some of the thirty Swatch watches represented on the “White Loop”.

1983 – The Birth of Swatch

On March 1st 1983, in light of the Swiss watchmaking crisis, the first ever Swatch watch was born from simplicity with a unique twist of social etiquette and a desire for something different. Swatch jet streamed their way into Switzerland, Austria, the UK, France and soon the rest of the world, setting a tone of original affordable luxury which had never been experienced before.

1984 – The “Grey Memphis”

Created in honour of the famous Italian design and architecture group, the Grey Memphis epitomizes the conventional approach to design and product creation dynamited by the Memphis group. The all-grey silicone strapped watch features an angular design in grey and black set off with lime green and bubble-gum pink dials.

1985 – “Breakdance”

One of the very first Swatch Club Specials, the “Breakdance” was born from the 1980’s dance-craze, which was storming the nation. Created in the aftermath of the first Breakdance World Championship held in New York and sponsored by Swatch, this was the ultimate youth statement of the times.

1986 – “Flumotions”

In perfect synchronization with 80s youth culture, the psychedelic “Flumotions” Swatch was fueled by the loud fluorescent plastics and bold graphics of the times. This kitsch dosage of plastic-fantastic wrist candy required the most self-assured of wearers.

1990 – Swatch Collectors of Swatch

By 1990 many people were collecting Swatch watches and this fueled the start of The Swatch Club, a unity based on fun, positive provocation and most importantly, people. The movement started in Switzerland with the “Swatch Collectors of Swatch” club, before local versions of the club started emerging the world over.

1992 – The “Sam Francis”

An action-packed offering of abstract paint drips which morphed the wrist into a canvas. The self-named “Sam Francis” was created by the American artist himself, marking an eponymous Swatch Art Collection collaboration.

1993 – Swatch X Vivienne Westwood

1993 marked the international launch of the Pop Swatch Art Special orb, designed by none other than Vivienne Westwood, at the Pret-à-Porter  show in Paris. Orb – “A Symbol of Unfettered Tradition” was the very first Art Special created by a fashion designer.

1994 – Mimmo Rotella’s “Bengala”

Italian pop-artist Mimmo Rotella best known for his décollage works and his propaganda torn posters created two Swatch Art Special models in 1994, the “Marilyn” and the “Bengala”. The tiger faced “Bengala” disclosed buried meanings by scratching at the world’s glossy and seemingly process-free finished products.

1994 – Swatch X Christian Lacroix

Christian Lacroix collaborated with Swatch to create the limited edition “Xian laX”, unveiled at the designers Paris Pret-à-Porter salon. The stone encrusted all gold watch was enclosed in a kitsch gold and red perspex treasure trunk. It’s Lacroix, sweety.

1997 – Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s “Agatic-Agatac”

The “Agatic-Agatac” encapsulates a slice of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s vividly colourful and expressive imagination in the form of something wearable. Renowned for her bold and bright motifs and her whimsical use of moons, stars, suns and hearts, her Swatch collaboration presents an alternative and visually surprising vision of crayon-quality mosaics in a rainbow of colours.

2001 – “Swiss Mad”

Flying the colours of the Swiss flag, “Swiss Mad” pays homage to Swatch’s native land. Labelled with a humoristic slogan, the watch is a declaration of love to the Swiss plastic watch.

2011 – Jeremy Scott X Swatch

In true Jeremy Scott style, his collaboration with Swatch is a pop-art influenced statement of lightening bolts, picture frames and cartoon drawn wings. Each of the eight designs made a bold statement and they quickly became street-wear staples.

2014 – “White Loop


The new Swatch Club edition, the “White Loop” will be launched online and in stores on Tuesday 1st April. Simply enter you email address below before midnight on 6 April to be in with a chance to WIN a Limited Edition White Loop watch and one year's Swatch Club Membership.