Nicholas Hayek, the founder and chairman of the Swatch Group Ltd, died yesterday of heart failure at 82. Hayek was a charismatic businessman (the NYT's obit cited a Harvard Business Review article that described him as "a genuine business celebrity"), and widely credited with saving the Swiss watch industry with the creation, in 1983, of the affordable and adorable Swatch watch.
As a child of the '80s, I get nostalgic about Swatch watches. My favorite had a bright green band and a pink face and the hands had little faces on the ends. (Also Swatches made learning to tell time easy.) And I'm not the only one who waxes nostalgic about Swatch. The brightly colored plastic watches have become highly collectible and can go for as much as $1200. Swatch launched "Swatch the Club" in 1990 for their growing fan base, and, according to one Swatch-head site, by the end of that year the club had over 20,000 members.
Each year, the Swatch Club creates a specially designed Swatch for its members. (Don't worry, you can still join the club.) So as a tribute to Hayek, we put together this retrospective of Swatch Club watches and even earlier vintage models. Which is your favorite?
Golden Jelly Club Watch 1990/1991 "The very first Swatch designed explicitly for Collectors and Member of the Club, Golden Jelly has the trademark Jellyfish feature, a transparent plastic case that reveals, rather than hides, the watch movement inside."
Lots of Dots Club Watch 1992 "Designed by the multi-talented Italian artist, architect, writer, sculptor and designer, Alessandro Mendini. The first ART special designed for Club Members only."
Lots of Swatch Club Watch 2002 "A patchwork quilt that calls up 13 different designs from the past Swatch models."
Crystal Surprise Club Watch 1994 "On the dial the Cystal Surprise that gives the Club Watch 1994 its name: a diamond (a real one!)."
Happy Pig Club Watch 1998 "Produced in a limited and numbered edition of only 20,000 pieces, this Happy Pig shows his little pink face on the dial, with dark pink ears and snout, white eyes, white hour and minute hands and a pink seconds hand that ends in a curly-cue."
1985 Spring Summer Collection Vintage Swatch Watch Modele Avec Personnages designed by Keith Haring
1998 Spring Summer Collection Swatch Watch Agatic Agatac designed by Agatha Ruiz De La Prada
1990 Spring Summer Collection Pop Swatch Encantador