A tribute to the Swatch watch

Some of my favorite Swatches ranging from 1985 to 2010. Some of my favorite Swatches ranging from 1985 to 2010. As an '80s baby, I grew up with Swatch watches. They were such an important part of the fashion culture. Over the years I've collected nearly 20--some of my favorites are pictured on the right. I remember exactly when I got each one of them, and have specific memories of wearing them. The one in the middle with the purple face broke when I mistakenly wore it in a swimming pool, and I saved up to buy the 3rd one from the left before my first trip to sleep-away camp. I had colorful swatch guards (more for decoration than to actually protect the face), and sometimes I would even wear two at once! I think Swatch watches have maintained their popularity to this day because they're cute, they're durable, they're affordable, and above all else, they put a smile on your face.

Earlier this week I read that Nicholas Hayek, the founder and chairman of the Swatch Group Ltd, died of heart failure at 82. He was known as "a genuine business celebrity" and was credited with saving the Swiss watch industry in by creating the affordable timepieces in 1983. Other models emerged since then like the Scuba watches, Swatch Skins, Pop Swatch (you could pop out the face and swap them with other watches) and Flik Flak kids watches emerged, along with watches designed by esteemed artists and corresponding with events like the Olympics and films like those in the James Bond series (I got my dad the "Dr. No" watch for Christmas last year).

Swatches are fun to wear even as an adult. Mine have all held up so well over the years. I'm currently hunting on eBay for a limited edition Keith Haring Swatch, and one of those giant Swatch wall clocks I always wanted as a kid. Rest in peace, Mr. Hayek. Your iconic, time-telling works of art will live on for generations to come. [NY Times]