Swatch, the Swiss watchmaker, known for its vibrant and playful designs, is revisiting its roots from the 1980s. The brand is set to launch the “What If?” collection in 2023, which reimagines its original designs in a square format, a concept that was a close competitor during the brand’s inception.
This collection is a nod to an alternative universe where the square design became the face of the brand, instead of the classic Swatch shape we know today.
The “What If?” collection features 33mm wide, matte bioceramic cases, small enough to fit any wrist but with a sharply angular shape that makes a statement. The cases, available in black, medium gray, forest green, and creamy beige, are simple yet clever.
They are lightweight, comfortable, and feature a downturned, hooded lug shape that contours to the wrist, maintaining the angular design language. The bioceramic material used gives the watches a silky, weightless feel and a monochrome matte look that harks back to the 80s. The beige case, in particular, seems reminiscent of the original Apple Macintosh desktop computers.
The watches in the “What If?” collection have a unique feature where the bio-sourced glass crystal wraps around at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, extending to nearly midway down the case sides. This design allows the dial to be viewed from almost a 90-degree angle, giving the watch an airy, open quality.
The casebacks of the watches depict one of the original early ’80s Swatch dial variants in impressive detail, a playful nod to the round models that started it all. The dial layout varies across the collection. The black-cased model features an ultra-minimalist design with a matte white base and simple printed black lines for the hours and minutes.
The beige-cased model, on the other hand, has a royal blue dial surface with printed white Arabic numerals and slanted indices.
The “What If?” series is powered by a quartz day-date movement. Paired with a bio-sourced rubber strap in a case-matching color, these watches offer a clean, uniform look and a comfortable wearing experience. The “What If?” collection is a commendable attempt by Swatch to channel the styles of the original lineup into a striking new shape. It blends the simplicity of early Swatch designs with the innovative bio-sourced materials that the brand champions today. The collection, available through authorized dealers, is priced at $110 USD per model. You can check them out on Swatch’s website now.