Since the initial launch of Swatch watches in 1983, when the brand shot to fame as inventor of the world’s most popular plastic watch, the world has changed dramatically. Computers and other digital equipment may have become ubiquitous, but the unique brand of Swatch watches has created a raft of technological and social innovations.
The design philosophy of the components is best described by the word ‘Simplicity’. Swatch watches proudly announced the world's thinnest wristwatch and contain only fifty-one components rather than the ninety or more found in most other designs. This has been achieved without sacrificing accuracy, whilst increasing the reliability of the mechanism.
Swatch watches – sociability, sport and design
Indeed, the many outstanding technical capabilities and advances in the fields of science and technology were proven by the brand’s role as the Official Timekeeper in several Olympic Games and Ski and Snowboard World Cup competitions, an environment where accuracy and dependability is paramount.
However, it is not simply the engineering employed in Swatch watches' design and manufacture that has made the company a brand leader. The design style of Swatch watches is in itself revolutionary, putting the fun back into timekeeping. It was amongst the first brands to offer plastic and fabric straps creating a larger canvas for the bold, colourful designs that appeal to today’s younger consumers. The diversity of designs has led to a large number of collectors and the production of highly sought-after special editions by contemporary artists.
Swatch watches have also taken steps to make both the watches and time itself a social feature by inventing watches that simplify the process of using ski lifts for winter sports enthusiasts and creating an alternative system of time.
The time system known as Beats was devised in 1998 to simplify the growing number of international telephone calls and emails that had begun to drive global commerce. It attempted to do this by dividing the current 24 hour day into one-thousand beats, each lasting 1 minute 26.4 seconds. As well as decimalising time, the development of Beats removed the need to calculate time zones. The meridian was set at the group’s headquarters in Biel, Switzerland.