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My first watch, the Swatch Irony Diaphane Gyrotempus

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Back in 2001 when I was a computer consultant fixing Y2K bugs in Poland I had a layover in Zurich. I wandered through the airport marveling at all the things I could buy. Chocolates. Leather goods. Watches. Having recently graduated college I wondered what kind of people shopped at those places. Then I realized that I was working a good job and had some money.

I wanted to get something for myself. I rolled back through the duty free, intent on finding something. I found the Swatch booth.

I didn’t really wear a watch – it made not sense because I carried a Nokia cellphone shaped like a brick. But Swatch was a Swiss brand and I was in Switzerland so I perused the selection.

Among the candy-coated timepieces in the Swatch boutique I found the Irony Diaphane. It was a precursor to the metal Irony line with a bonded case made of plastic and aluminum. The ETA movement ticked away behind a little balance wheel window and the clear casebook let me see everything that was going on inside. It was perfect but I didn’t know why.

I did know that I didn’t like quartz. After high school my parents bought me a Seiko auto quartz but, recalling my Dad’s 1970s-era mechanical Seikos, it seemed too new, too inelegant. I loved the idea of a mechanical even though I didn’t understand the mechanics behind them and their long history. The Irony unlocked all of that.

I bought it. It was my first real watch purchased with my own money. It was like meeting an old friend after a long absence.

The Gyrotempus couldn’t have cost more than $100 and I wore it for years, setting and resetting it as I flew around Europe and the US. When I settled into journalism in about 2002 I started exploring new watches and it was quickly relegated to the watch box. But I just pulled it out today to look at it and aside from some junk in the crevices it still looks just fine. It’s the perfect first watch – plastic and metal and a great movement work in nearly flawless concert. It’s cheap, sure, and the design is a little dated but for a newly-minted world traveler it was just the thing.

We remember firsts because they are momentous or mundane. We joke that our first kiss was an accidental peck in the school yard or crow that our first beer led to an epic party. But our first watch is uniformly special, uniformly fascinating. Watches are living things that live alongside us and, when we feel nostalgic, can spring back to life with a flick of the wrist. It’s respect for that kind of magic, that kind of power, that defines what it means to be a watch lover.

Swatch Touch Zero One, Set – Spike

Swatch Touch Zero One 06When the biggest name in the watch industry decides to get into the smart watch/fitness tracker business, you expect a watch that is made for the masses.  What you don’t expect is a watch made for a niche sport; but then again, Swatch does not do things in the normal way.  The Swatch Touch Zero One is, as the name implies, the first watch in a planned ecosystem of fitness watches tied to the sports that Swatch supports.

The Swatch Sistem51 Hands-On Review

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It’s not uncommon for there to be great anticipation when a new product is announced, and then we anxiously wait for it to actually hit the market. The watch industry is certainly not immune to this effect, and there’s been one mechanical watch that has been generating a lot of buzz over the past months – the Swatch Sistem51.  The day has finally arrived, and Sistem51 is here on our shores. On July 1 it was unveiled at the flagship store for Swatch in Times Square, and on July 8 a pop-up store hits San Francisco (101 Grant St) for the watch.

Swatch Sistem51 Update, Something for Everyone

Swatch Sistem 51 005When Swatch debuted the Sistem51 automatic, I was excited about the prospect of a very affordable Swiss made automatic, but I was not all that excited by the design choices.  The original four designs definitely showed the Swatch DNA, but they were not designs I would wear, other than as a novelty.  With the Swatch Sistem51 update released earlier this year, there are 5 new watches in the family, really expanding the appeal.

REVIEW: Swatch Touch

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The last time we looked at a model from Swatch, we focused in on a more subdued three-hander.  Today, we’ll have one that’s rather a different piece altogther.

Just released: Swatch BioCeramic

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Swatch is certainly no stranger to playing around with how they use plastics in the manufacture of their watches. They’ve done quite a bit with plastic and all the colors they’ve brought to wrists around the world. At the end of 2020, they introduced their BIORELOADED lineup, which brought some more eco-friendly plastic in. Now, they’re evolving that a bit further with the Swatch BioCeramic collection.

3 Lessons Learned While Speed-Dating Watchmakers

I recently returned from a week photographing the annual conference of American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI). I was there to teach photography and get images of the event that has been held annually since 1960. I felt like I was speed-dating at a club of modern-day watchmaking shamans, who openly talked about missing their watch bench and the trance-state in which they function as they solve our watch-wearing woes.  I learned a lot about what to look for in a watchmaker.

Blue Man Group Jelly in Jelly Swatch Watch

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You saw them in Vegas, now see them on your wrist.

This watch is considered the first artist watch of Swatch’s brand new collection “Jelly in Jelly” which they launched with a very special Blue Man Group event in Lugano, Switzerland in June, 2006. Swatch’s long history of working with great artists like Keith Haring, Kiki Picasso, Pedro Almodavar, Robert Altman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfred Hofkunst, Jean-Michel Jarre and others now includes a very honored Blue Man Group who have designed this fun and casual light weight plastic watch with three Blue Men and splattered paint on the band.

Product Page [Blue Man Group]

The WWR 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

1024x1024 christmas ipad wallpaper 026Earlier this year I was attending an alumni event and the conversation subject matter turned to watches (how I turned it there I don’t recall).  One of the group asked what I would recommend for her to get her boyfriend as a gift.  My first question was how much money she wanted to spend.  When she said roughly $1,000, I immediately recommended a Weiss.  This question got me thinking about how I could organize the 2015 holiday gift guide.  So for this iteration, I will recommend my favorite watch (or watch related gift) in each of several price ranges.  Chances are, if I like it, especially if it under about $1,500, we have covered it in the past, since that is the kind of people we are; but there may be watches here (especially at the higher end) that have not graced our pages.

Swatch to release $8,000 Turn to Him and Turn to Her tourbillons

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A little bird sent us these images Swatch’s upcoming Tourbillon collection, the Turn to Her and Turn to Him. I don’t have much information but I do know that Swatch used to make automatic mechanical movements but stopped some time in this decade. This new movement appears to use a rotating cage to move the balance wheel in a full rotation around the central stalk, a design decision which differs from the standard stationary tourbillon cage.