Tag Archives: swatch

Swatch NASA Collection Has a Bioceramic Edge

With Space X sending rockets into the skies, and then landing the boosters back on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship – yep, the videos are so cool – the time is right for some 60s/70s Spaceman type watches.

So, Swatch Group has launched a new NASA inspired collection, plus it ticks the recycling box as they are using reclaimed plastic waste materials making these watches. Hopefully Elon Musk will sign a deal with a big watch brand to create some amazing Spaxce X watches, or manufacture them in-house. Now that would be interesting.

Here’s the word;

Time is what you make of it, and at Swatch, the sky’s not the limit; dreams are. While the perceptions of NASA differ across generations, one thing remains the same – the space agency’s ability to capture the public’s imagination and desire to explore the stars and new horizons. The brand’s latest collection taps into this feeling, inspiring people to dream big, create their own universe and make the most of their time on earth.

Fueled by a passion for innovation, the Space Collection celebrates NASA and reveals the next chapter of the BIOCERAMIC Swatch story. Two-thirds ceramic and one-third bio-sourced plastic, BIOCERAMIC boasts a silk-like touch and is extremely resilient—the best of both worlds. Three of the five watches feature elements of bio-sourced material and are directly inspired by the spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts.

BIG BOLD CHRONO EXTRAVEHICULAR looks to the iconic white spacesuit for inspiration. First worn in 1983 by NASA astronauts Story Musgrave and Donald Peterson, the white suits shield astronauts from the sun’s radiation.

The white chrono features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The chrono timer is not set to the usual full hour marker but ten seconds prior and highlighted in red as a nod to the final countdown to liftoff. The crown is positioned at 3 o’clock alongside two pushers, while the red and blue strap loops, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

The orange Advanced Crew Escape Suit, also known as the Pumpkin Suit, inspires the BIG BOLD CHRONO LAUNCH. The bright orange color of the watch mirrors the highly visible suits worn by astronauts for the ascent into space.

The orange chrono features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The chrono timer is not set to the usual full hour marker but ten seconds prior and highlighted in red as a nod to the final countdown to liftoff. The crown is positioned at 3 o’clock alongside two pushers, while the blue and white strap loops, silver-colored dial, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

The BIG BOLD JUMPSUIT echoes the everyday go-to blue jumpsuits astronauts wear for press conferences or working in the NASA facility. The blue watch features a 47mm BIOCERAMIC case and a bio-sourced plastic glass. The crown is positioned at 2 o’clock, while the white strap loops, hands with Swatch glow and NASA logo complete the design.

Rounding up the Swatch Space Collection is TAKE ME TO THE MOON ‘NEW GENT’ with a transparent case, and SPACE RACE ‘GENT’ with a mirror-effect ilver-colored dial.

Watch out for the Swatch Space Collection exclusive set that includes the youngest member of the Swatch family. Available in selected Swatch stores from June 3, 2021.

IWC Factory Picks Up Sustainability Award

Congrats to IWC who have won Factory of The Year Award, here’s the press info;

IWC Schaffhausen has won the GEO Award in its first-ever entry into the industry competition “Factory of the Year”. The prize is one of the most desirable awards for European companies and attests to the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer’s outstanding operational excellence across the entire value-added chain. But the strong performances of IWC in the areas of quality and sustainability have also been recognised by the jurors.

Perfect quality can only be achieved by excellence on all levels: The very highest performance is required in innovation, development and design, but above all in terms of various production processes, so that every individual timepiece from IWC fulfils the strictest requirements for quality, reliability and long service life. In 2018, IWC consolidated the production of movement parts, movement assembly and case-making in a new Manufacturing Center. Now the transparently structured watchmaking company, in which IWC combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest production methods and technologies, has been awarded with the GEO Award (Global Excellence in Operations) at the industry competition “Factory of the Year”.

Does it matter how sustainable watch production is? Of course, because we now live in a world where activists are running campaigns against capitalism, against the ownership of ANY possessions. Seriously, just Google it. So IWC using 100% renewable electricity, or Swatch opening a HQ made largely from sustainable wood really does matter. The consumption of resources is going to be used as a stick to beat companies with during the 2020s, by politicians of all persuasions – it’s an easy bandwagon to jump on.

So well done IWC, now let’s see Bremont and other British watch brands celebrate the benefits of UK based production. It matters.

Why Cousins Battle With Swatch Group Matters

Spare parts and servicing may sound a tad dull, but it gets exciting if your £10,000 Breguet, Vacheron or Patek cannot be serviced by an independent watchmaker – instead you have to send it away and pay whatever the manufacturer demands. That can easily cost £800-£1500, depending on which parts the manufacturer decides need upgrading. It’s a kick in the wallet that many Rolex owners are familiar with nowadays, as it’s been difficult for indie watchmakers to get factory parts since 2016.

Some might say that watch manufacturers want their products serviced by authorised dealers only – but that argument fell to pieces when car makers tried to lock out independent garages from their parts supply chains a few years ago. However UK trade supplier Cousins took on Swatch Group (owners of Omega, Breguet, Longines, Glashutte, Mido, Harry Winston, ETA, Hamilton and others) in a legal battle in 2016, here’s the latest update;

“Our fight with Swatch over the supply of parts has only been slightly delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak. Because the Swiss judicial system relies on written submissions rather than Court appearances, the impact on our case has been less than expected. The deadlines for submission of documents were extended for an extra four weeks by the Swiss Federal authorities. Then an extra two weeks extension was granted by the Judge in Bern.

All the formal submissions by both sides have now been completed. The remainder of the process consists of informal comments by both sides (Swatch are due to submit theirs in the next two weeks and we will reply after that), and then a hearing in the Bern Court. We would expect the written verdict from the Judge around two to four months after that.

The date for the hearing has not yet been set. The summer recess for the Courts runs from mid-July to mid-August and we expect it will be some time after that. A lot will depend on travel restrictions and quarantine issues, but hopefully by the Autumn this will not be a factor.

As we said in our last News update, we were happy that our first submission was a very robust defence. As before, we can’t go into detail, but we can say that we think our second submission is even stronger than the first, and are very confident that the judge will reach the right verdict.”

Our view is that every serious watch collector deserves the right to make their own choice on service and repair. Some watches may well benefit from keeping their old hands and patina-pickled dials. It might actually increase their resale value long term. Others want their Rolex, Omega, TAG, AP or Hublot pristine, and why not?

The key issue is that customers willing to spend up to £100,000 on a watch should not be restricted as regards choosing their watchmaker. If they want Roger Smith to personally strip and inspect it, then so be it – and Roger should be able to order a new winding stem, or chrono pusher if required. As the EU constantly bangs on about free trade, and Switzerland is obliged to toe the line regarding EU regulations on all kinds of matters, the sensible thing would be to allow customer choice. Servicing locally also saves on air miles, therefore saving emissions – another point that the court should consider.

Swatch Can Sell ETA Movements Again, But Not Swamp Indie Market

Swatch Group will be free to supply mechanical watch movements wherever it wants, but won’t be allowed to abuse its dominant market position by undercutting rivals’ prices, Swiss competition watchdog WEKO said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The Swiss watch manufacturer has been in a battle with Sellita over the supply of movements to independent brands. For some time ETA dominated the indie watch brand market, with its 2428 series workhorse providing the power for many mechanical watches.

Many indie brands now use Seiko or Sellita, especially the SW200/300 series – which are related to older ETA designs. Why does any of this matter? Well, basically a competitive market in movement supply means lower costs for those brands who want a power unit that has proven reliability and a dash of Swiss prestige.

In the sub £600 watch market the margins are tight, so if Swatch Group can gain a near-monopoly position that is bad for business in the long run.

 

New Longines 1832 Black Dial – Is It Enough For £1700?

Longines is a well established brand in the UK, with a long distinguished history. Owned by the Swatch Group it obviously shares some expertise with other Swatch companies, plus Longines watches generally use ETA sourced movements – ETA is also owned by Swatch Group. That was the case for many years, but things are changing on the calibre front.

Since the EU told the Swiss to end their reliance on ETA sourced base movements about five years ago, things are changing fast and many brands are now building their own calibres in Switzerland. Or at least heavily modifying something that they used in the past.

The situation is now getting more complex after the temporary closure of factories during Covid-19 and the actions of the Swiss anti-trust regulator, again seeking to restrict over-dependence on ETA movements. It is an ongoing problem within the industry and it means that Longines, and others, will really have to work hard to stand out as truly separate watchmaking brands at some point. They might need their own movement assembly facility to please the EU, it’s hard to say how the politics will play out.

Why does any of this political wrangling over where a movement is made, or who supplies different brands, actually matter? Well here are the rules on what counts as a Swiss movement; 50 percent of the parts must be made in Switzerland. That means you could outsource 50 percent to say China, and still stamp Swiss Movt on your calibre. That get-out clause could be the salvation for many sub £1800 Swiss watches, because costs are going to have to be cut after Covid19 and the rise of many indie watch brands.

You can buy a 300m dive watch on Kickstarter, ETA/Sellita movement, sapphire crystal from about £400 upwards. Watch manufacturing has been democratised and that is arguably the biggest challenge to the Swiss industry since the Seiko Astrolon quartz.

Longines 1832 black dial 2

So What’s The Scoop on The Black Dial Longines 1832?

This 1832 Longines has a 64 hour reserve, automatic movement. Good selling point we say. It’s also an in-house L897 calibre movement, which is great from a collector point of view, although according to Watch Calibre.com that movement still has its roots in an existing ETA engine.

There’s a ladies version, with a champagne dial option, as well as black, and both using a smaller movement and 30mm case. The gents 40mm case models include a moonphase model, as well as a more traditional black dial, three hand format – either with date, or day-date windows at three o’clock. They look superb, but at £1700 or so, are undeniably expensive for what they are; beautiful dress watches that lose a stack of value the moment you walk out of the door, or the website Checkout Cart.

Selling a pre-owned Longines on is no easy task, as many Swiss watch enthusiasts know that in the past Longines shared ETA movements with many relatively cheap non-Swiss brands. That is a fact that sort of taints the 1832 unfairly, given this movement is kinda the AMG version of the ETA movement. Is it woth more than a standard Longines Heritage model at £875 or so? Heck yeah, but is it worth almost two grand? Hmmm, not really.

As a  budget dress watch alternative we suggest a Seiko Presage Zen Garden with a black dial at £394, found on Watch Nation. Or how about a Hamilton Intra-Matic Classic at £725? Again, ETA sourced movement, Swatch Group watch, but less than half the cost of the 1832 Longines – spotted on Beaverbrooks website today.

Those options show how big a mountain Longines must climb if it is to survive as a genuine prestige brand name long term, within the Swatch empire. People often ask where the bespoke, unique craft is within the watch build and design these days – you have to justify a price point near two grand with some impressive technology. Otherwise we would all buy a Hamilton or a Tissot, right?