I have a soft spot for Swatch. When I was a kid, I was gifted an ocean-blue version with vibrant orange and yellow fish scattered along the wristband that might now reside in a kitchen-drawer corner in my childhood home. It lives large in my nostalgic heart, though. I also got a Swatch phone for my tenth birthday, a limited-edition, multi-hued twin phone — each side was a receiver so that two people could speak into it at once — that was translucent enough for you to make out the colourful mechanisms inside. It was designed by Memphis Milano (I did not know this at the time — I was not that design-fluent a kid) and I cherished it deeply. I imagine plenty of people my age have fond memories of the 38-year-old Swiss brand, its playful spirit appealing to kids and grown-ups alike.
So when I learned that Swatch had created a new material, eschewing its go-to plastic for a bioplastic, I was amped. The company was founded, after all, on the premise of inexpensive and disposable timepieces, its name a contraction of “second watch,” even if the individual designs were more than worthy of keeping and collecting. Times have changed since 1983 (the heyday of here-today-gone-tomorrow style) and a certain amount of environmental sensibility has taken hold in makers of consumer products. And in 2020, Swatch announced Bioreloaded, a re-release of its debut collection but with a case, strap and strap clasp in eco-plastic derived from the seeds of the castor plant. Even the packaging is biodegradable, made of a “paperfoam,” created with tapioca and potato starch.
Only a few months later, the company is going further by introducing Big Bold in Bioceramic, a collection made with a blend of two-thirds ceramic and one-third bio-sourced plastic; it’s “both resilient and resistant with a silk-like touch — uniting the best of both worlds,” according to the company. Swatch states that by the end of the year, all of its key lines will explore this newfangled material.
For now, the Big Bold in Bioceramic collection includes wrist watches in five colours, including powder blue and pink, and with a transparent face. “The 47-millimetre diameter case, deep and architecturally structured, provides plenty of room to appreciate the pure and refined Bioceramic characteristics to the fullest,” notes the company. The bracelet, glass and loops are made from bio-sourced plastic.
This new line might just make the brand a favourite of a younger, environmentally conscious generation.
Big Bold in Bioceramic, the Swiss company’s new collection, features classic designs in bio-plastic and bioceramic materials.