Put Down the Smartphone and Put on a Vintage Swatch

by Sammy in 4 Comments — Updated December 21, 2019

vintage swatch watch

The best kind of time is the Swatch watch kind of time.

Swatch watches are colorful, charismatic time pieces that became a fad of every trendy girl/guys’ closet in the 1980s and 1990s. An advertisement would depict a wearer rocking not just one but multiple Swatch watches on his or her arms.

The fad was to wear more than one at once, proving that the Man Repeller’s popularization of the “arm party” may not be so original after all.

If Timex had a crazy cousin, the Swatch watch would be it. If the Swatch watch had a rich stockbroker uncle, Timex would be it.

So while the Swatch isn’t for dandy gentlemen wearing three-piece suits and wingtip shoes, this vintage watch is for the cool kid looking to incorporate vintage pizzazz into their wardrobe without looking like (or spending like) everyone else on the neighborhood block.

How many of us don’t have a wall clock or a wrist watch? Chances are, at least half of you reading this post right now fall into a quickly-growing watchless society.

Glancing at our smart phones for the time is fine enough, but what happens when each time we check the time we fall prey to checking our social media and email accounts, too? I’d rather sport a Swatch to avoid the productivity paralysis that digital communication provides.So I dare you, #vintagelovers: Put down the iPhones and pick up a vintage Swatch watch. They’re guaranteed to make you smile and if in need of a social media detox like me, will distract you from checking (and wasting your) time on your digital device.

Did you grow up wearing vintage Swatches? Do you still own one in your personal collection? Let me know in the comments! I want to hear your stories about #vintagelove.

Or say hello on TwitterFacebookInstagram or subscribing to my newsletter. Check out my book, the 100 Best Vintage Shops Online, now for sale on Etsy! 


 Swatch Watch History

vintage swatch advertisement

Swatch was founded in 1983 in response to a growing trend for more cheaply made watches.

While the watch used to be an item as valuable and coveted as a diamond ring or engagement band, inexpensive Asian production significantly cut into the market share for meticulously crafted quality watches. According to Swatch.com, “The Swiss share of the market dropped from over 50 to 15 percent, and competition from Asia slashed the number of watchmaking jobs in Switzerland from 90,000 to fewer than 25,000.” 

Enter Swatch in the early ’80s. With the brand positioning that everyone can own a fun, flavorful watch for less, owning a watch became not just a thing your parents did. Bright colors, trendy designs and collaborations with dynamic artists and fashion personalities made Swatch the go-to brand for all the cool kids who wanted to tell time and look good doing it.

Anyone who lived in the ’80s can remember the Swatch craze that swept the nation. Not only was the Swatch a must-have timepiece, but with prices so low the brand marketed the watch as an accessory you should wear in the multiples. That’s why you see models’ wrists layered with Swatch watches as if they were hosting a throwback version of the Man Repeller’s arm party.

Celebrating its 40 anniversary this year, Swatch is an iconic brand of vintage personality and forward-thinking design. A typical vintage swatch watch retails for $50, proving that even in the 21st century this is a brand for the spend-thrift who saves for style.

Vintage Swatch Watches

vintage swatch watch with faces

“Colored Love” from 1988, $129 on Etsy 

vintage swatch watch

Seaside-themed from the 1991 Collection, $42

vintage swatch watch

 Massimo Giacon 1991 Collection, $50

vintage swatch watch

“Squiggly” from the 1984 Collection, $99

vintage swatch watch

 Scotty Dog Coca Cola Watch from the 1989 Collection, $449

vintage swatch watch

 Coca-Cola Men’s “Pink Passion” from the 1989 Collection, $54

Swatch Watch Advertisements

vintage swatch ad

vintage swatch ad

vintage swatch advertisment with thompson twins

vintage swatch advertisement

vintage swatch advertisement

 All advertisements from Vintage Ad Browser 

4 thoughts on “Put Down the Smartphone and Put on a Vintage Swatch”

  1. What’s an arm party???

  2. Totally had a swatch when I was young!! lolzzz

  3. Totally had multiple Swatches. Also had a zip dress like the pink one above, just in mint green. Wish I still had it!

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