The new Swatch X You collection allows fans of bright colours and outlandish prints to create their own watch… it may not be new, but it sure is fun
By Sarah Jordan
There is an irreverence to colour in watches that signals the wearer has opted to kick the rules to the curb. Gone is the versatility of a black, brown or blue colour palette, and in walks sunshine yellow straps and turquoise blue dials.
When it comes to luxury timepieces, there is also a bravery in choosing colour. The Richard Mille RM 27-03 Rafael Nadal, with its alternating waves of red and yellow, isn’t exactly playing it safe. The same can be said for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Divers in shades of lime green and “acid yellow”. Let’s just say you would need to be a passionate advocate of an unusual colour before investing at this level.
Unsurprisingly then, it is the more affordable, fashion-led brands that ensnare those with a fleeting love of orange or pastel pink. When you’re spending less than £100, a summer love affair with a timepiece isn’t going to sting when winter arrives. A brand that knows this all too well is Swatch, which has recently launched its Swatch X You design your own concept.
The five-step process, which can be done online or in-store, starts by selecting either the 34mm Gent or the 41mm New Gent case option. Next, the budding artiste can choose from a concise selection of cases, straps, loop straps and additional pins or loops to complete their design. Colours and patterns range from mint green and rainbow stripes, to deck chair pin-stripes and stark white.
Many brands have experimented with the same made-to-measure approach, including Shore Projects, Fossil, Brüggler, and Timex with its Timex Archive ‘Mix Your Watch’ concept. Even Ralph Lauren caused a stir in the summer of 2016 with its interchangeable RL888 model with around 40 strap options. What’s surprising then is that Swatch – the 34-year-old bastion of quirky-cool affordable timepieces – hasn’t offered this personalisation service before now.
Perhaps the answer lies in the simple and effective online tool behind Swatch X You, which makes many of its competitors’ builders appear slow and frustratingly complex as a result. There is also the added bonus of seeing your personalised watch from every angle thanks to a 360 degree visual tool.
If we had to quibble with a sub-£70 timepiece, we’d probably point out that the customisable options in the Gent are different to the New Gent, meaning you’re out of luck if you want a 41mm case and a pink dial. The options make it clear that the brand is expecting women to opt for the smaller case size and men the larger, but in the spirit of design-your-own, these sort of ‘limitations’ are frustrating for anyone wishing to flex their creative muscles.
However, when it comes to zero risk bright colours, we know where we will be starting this summer.