Swatch and watch enthusiast web site Hodinkee are linking up on a co-branded design.
The timepiece group has unearthed a style from its 1984 archives as inspiration for the project — its first tie up with a watch publication.
The resulting limited-edition style, named the Sistem51 Hodinkee Vintage 54, will retail for $150 and is to be released Tuesday.
In teaming with the Internet start-up Hodinkee, which was founded in 2008, Swatch eludes the often stuffy, traditional tenets of the timepiece industry.
“What we found super exciting about this opportunity is that the first approach came from Hodinkee,” said Swatch creative director Carlo Giordanetti. “They are extremely respected amongst watch lovers and we were super interested in getting their stamp of approval on the innovation of our Sistem51 movement. That’s what really drove us to embrace this project.”
Swatch’s Sistem51 movement was introduced in 2013, made of plastic parts. More recently, the same movement was also issued in stainless steel. But for its collaboration, Hodinkee requested that the movement be produced in its original plastic material.
“Especially in the American market where stainless steel is the name of the game, the credibility of this approval is really an added value for us,” Giordanetti said.
Giordanetti noted that consumer attitudes toward watches have recently evolved. “I think that when you have mew things that happen in the market, there is always a counter wave, which means that people go back to the original,” he said of the smartwatch’s ascent.
“They start to think about, ‘What does a watch stand for as a symbolic object?’ I see it as an incredible personality signifier, one of the items that define you as a person whether you are being socially relevant, fashion-oriented, conservative. I think people are finding other products again after realizing that smartwatches are relatively homogeneous,” the designer added.
In recent months, watch brands from Audemars Piguet to Omega have increased focus on their women’s offering in an effort to satisfy a strengthening self-purchasing culture.
Giordanetti said of the recent trend: “I think women are getting more and more powerful. For many years they were interested in borrowing a look from their husbands and wearing big men’s watches and now they don’t need to anymore. They are more than happy to wear a watch that is defined for them in terms of size, in terms of language. Also mechanical watches have never been so trendy for the women’s market and now they are — there is an understanding of movement. “