Here’s a fun fact: no one knows for sure how many Swatch models have been produced.
That’s because they launch dozens of new models every month, and these often come with different colourways and variants that usually spawn spin-off and limited-edition models.
Conservative estimates suggest that at least 900 new models have been launched every year since 2010, but that number varies every year.
The first Swatch was introduced in 1983 and for a few years, this unassuming watch brand carried the weight of the whole Swiss watch world on its… case.
Back then, the Swiss watch industry only knew how to make automatic watches and these were being annihilated (in the market) by cheaper and more accurate battery-powered Japanese watches.
Swatch saved the Swiss and fast-forward to 2022, the company now owns a variety of legacy brands from Blancpain to Longines, from Omega to Tissot and Hamilton.
1. MoonSwatch ($250)
We might as well start with the not-so-expensive but still unattainable – literally – Moonswatch.
Why? Because sooner or later the madness and the hype will die down a little bit, and the watch will be available for everyone to buy.
After all, Swatch has already said about a hundred times that this timepiece is not a limited-edition model and it will soon be available online as well as at every Swatch store in the world.
So what is it? It’s a simple bioceramic (a blend of ceramic and bio-sourced plastic) watch made in partnership with Omega, one of many brands owned by Swatch, specifically designed to look like a $5,000 Speedmaster, the watch that went to the moon.
It is available in 11 different colours (nine planets plus the Moon and the Sun) and it only costs $250.
2. Sistem 51 ($150)
Spelled with an ‘i’ not a ‘y’ – no one is sure why – the Sistem 51 is an automatic Swatch with a record to brag about: it is the world’s first mechanical movement with entirely automated assembly.
In other words, it is made entirely by robots, not humans, and it only consists of 51 components.
The bad news is this makes it de-facto unserviceable, because you can’t really open it or repair it, but the good news is you probably won’t have to, and it’s affordable.
There are several available models and colourways, it officially retails for $150 but new-old stock models (second hand, but never used) can be had for less than that in the pre-owned market.
3. 007 ²Q ($235)
This watch was actually designed twice. First, in 2019 for No Time To die and then again in 2021… for No Time To Die.
The problem is No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, was postponed a number of times first due to production issues and then of course because of the pandemic, and that convinced Swatch to redesign this timepiece just in time for the theatrical release of the film.
It is thin (6.7 mm) and elegant, coming in with a transparent dial, through which you can see the quartz module (in blue, it was red in the first edition), complemented with a brown and red rubber strap.
It is sold with a cool 007 gadget-style box and it costs $235.