When you choose a watch, what are your first thoughts?
Are you thinking about, whether the timepiece can tell the time, how long it will last, or are you visualizing how the watch will complement your outfit?
This mindset or “mind shift” is thanks to the Swatch Watch.
The Genesis of the Swatch Fashion Watch
Swatch was the progenitor of the fashion watch.
This revolution changed the meaning, purpose and emphasis of the watch.
Swatch re-crafted the idea of the traditional watch and elevated it to a transitional and multifunction existence.
The Japanese quartz revolutionaries did not foresee this development and progression. Here it was that people wore a watch, an instrument used for telling the time, for its aesthetic appeal.
The watch was now a fashion accessory.
Another direct revolution launched in the marketing, advertising, branding and sales realm. It started a domino effect in the fashion world where brands were now eager to have a cut of the pie by associating their label with a watchmaker.
Luxury watches were now a maintain stay, and it was logical for these fashion brands to associate with them.
Can You Remember A Fashion Watch Before Swatch?
The answer to this question might be no.
There was no category defined as a fashion watch category before Swatch launched their products.
Yes, there was Anne Klein and Gucci, but they were licensees of watch making brands. Swatch started it this trend. They are the innovators of this category.
CEO of the Swatch Group, worked from the mantra, “Innovation, provocation, fun, forever.”
If you examine the name, you might think the “S” stood for Swiss, as in the Swiss Watch.
However, that is not the case, between 1983 and 1992. It represented second, hinting that people should have a second watch that’s a fashion accessory. When you consider their masterful branding messages, it lured the consumer into buying more than just a “second watch”
They bought as the company coined it, “A Swatch for a season, not a watch for all seasons.”
Swatch’s marketing guru in the mid 80s, Max Imgrüth said, “What we’re marketing is much more a lifestyle, an idea rather than something that just ticks.”
Born in 1983, Swatch geared their products towards trendy youngsters. Back then, their first vintage Swatch watch sold for $35. A plastic quartz analog watch that had groovy dials. The design of each watch incorporated a plethora of vibrant, vivacious, sassy designs.
Each unique Swatch Watch had a cartoon, photograph, painting and other designs on the dial.
They have their designers a license to experiment and innovate.
But they went beyond that.
They collaborated with fashionable artists of the time, who designed limited edition timepieces. Kiki Picasso, an artist started the trend and many more soon followed.
The memorable design by Alfred Hofkunst’s was a phenomenal hit, in 1991. These were bacon and eggs, chili pepper and cucumber replicas. All three designs went in a matter of hours at trendy food stores.
Swatch Innovative Marketing Strategies
Swatch took watch marketing to a whole new level.
It was fresh. It was bold. It was unlike anything seen before by a watchmaker.
One of their focuses was event marketing and creating Swatch watches that depicted a brands true essence. For example, in New York, the Roxy Theater hosted the World Break Dance Championship. Swatch designed timepieces for that event.
Paris and London hosted various painting performances associated with the brand. Trendsetting sporting events like mountain biking, freestyle skiing and freestyle skiing associated with the Swatch brand.
The Watch Club concept was used by their marketing team. It had over 74,500 members, who joined up in over a year.
Long live the “Swatch Collectors of Swatch.”
Then game another game changer. Their watches were launched in U.S. department stores by Imgrüth, not only Swatch Stores. This caused mammoth sales, which saw huge returns on their investment, for the Swatch Group.
Because of this strategy, the world was their oyster.
Swatch Watch fever had gone global and it was a never-ending pandemic. They produced their 100 millionth Swatch watch, on April 7, 1992. This “Frische, Frische” model was later autographed by Hayek Sr.
It was a celebration of a major achievement.
Thanks to the Swatch Group, we now have timepieces and watch accessories that complement our fashion sense.
They are the all stars of the fashion watch. Their innovative decisions and designs lead us to a new era for over 25 years.
Their goal was for consumers to have, “A Swatch for a season, not a watch for all seasons.”
Who knows where watch making will take us in the next 25 years?
Right now, Apple is leading the charge by providing technologically savvy timepieces that are multifunctional and literally out of this world.
Feature image via Swatch Watch