Swatch is a brand name for a line of wrist watches from the Swatch Group, a Swiss conglomerate with vertical control of the production of Swiss watches and related products. In 1982, Swatch was conceived and it was introduced to the market in Switzerland in March 1983.
The first collection
The first collection of twelve Swatch models was introduced on March 1, 1983 in Zurich, Switzerland. Initially the price ranged from CHF 39.90 to CHF 49.90 but was standardized to CHF 50.00 in autumn of the same year. Sales targets were set to one million timepieces for 1983 and 2.5 million the year after. With an aggressive marketing campaign and a very reasonable price for a Swiss-made watch, it gained instant popularity in its home market. Compared to conventional watches, a Swatch was 80% cheaper to produce by fully automating assembly and reducing the number of parts from the usual 91 or more to only 51 components.
Swatches enjoyed their peak popularity during the mid-1980s. Such '80s fads included wearing two Swatches and using a Swatch as a ponytail band. Some models, like Pop Swatch, allowed wearers to attach Swatches directly to clothing. During this same time, Swatch introduced the idea of partnering with noted artists, including Keith Haring and others. Artist watches gave a new cachet to what had previously been a trendy youth article.