My Swatch Story

Inspired by Jennyonthespot's brave history with her Swatch watches, I decided to share my own.

One of the great things about growing up in a tiny North Carolina town was it didn't take much to set yourself apart from your classmates. You could make the twenty-mile drive into The City, walk around the mall for five minutes and discover fashion, movies, and music that never entered your city limits.

The year was 1984. I was the first kid at my school to own a Swatch watch. Does this mean I was cooler than my peers? I was, but not because I was the first to own a Swatch. But that did add to my mystique.

I don't know how I heard about Swatch watches. Maybe it was an ad in Rolling Stone? MTV? Whatever the origin, I knew I had to own one. So I picked up the phone book and started calling stores in the mall in The City.

Store: Hello?
Me: Hi! Do you sell Swatches?
Store: Yes, we sell watches.
Me: No, Swatches.
Store: Watches?
Me: Swatches. Swatch watches.
Store: Son, I have no idea what you're talking about.

I must've had that conversation five or six times until I found a store that had just ordered some and told me they'd have them in a week. The next week, I somehow persuaded my Mom to take me to the mall and drop $35 on this piece of Swiss plastic:

Wasn't she beautiful? I was in love with my Swatch. I strutted into school the next day. You know how a girl will walk around, trying to get people to notice her ring finger when she first gets engaged? That was me with that stupid watch.

Me: [clears throat]
Other Kid: ...
Me: [clears throat again, tries to draw attention to the Swatch but stops short of waving it wildly in front of Other Kid's face]
Other Kid: What?
Me: I just got a Swatch!
Other Kid: Ooh! A Swatch! [examines Swatch carefully]
Me: [beams with pride over Other Kid's acknowledgment of my awesomeness]
Other Kid: What's so great about it? What does it do?

What's so great about it? It's a Swatch. It tells time. It doesn't do anything except tell time and look cool. Stupid commoners.

Other kids soon had Swatches and by the end of the year, most everyone had one. Some even had two or three. Eventually everyone had Swatch Guards, those thin plastic strips that supposedly protected your Swatch from scratches. And one or two kids even had those plastic bangles to put over their Swatch bands.

And people gripe about Silly Bandz.


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