Watches are often called wearable works of art, but Swatch’s efforts are more literal than metaphorical. Swatch has collaborated with the art world since 1985 to create its series of Art Special watches, often with great success. Now, Swatch announces a new chapter in the form of the Swatch Art Journey series, which will have five capsule collections released from mid-March to May. The Swatch Art Journey 2023 debuts with seven new masterpieces in its flagship Gent and New Gent models. Made in partnership with world-renowned art museums and foundations, these new Swatch x MoMA, Swatch x Magritte, Swatch x Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi, and Swatch x Louvre Abu Dhabi watches celebrate the work of Roy Lichtenstein, René Magritte, Sandro Botticelli, and Katsushika Hokusai.
The pair of Swatch x MoMA watches pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, who was famous for his comic-style art and single-color Ben-Day dots. The first is the Girl by Roy Lichtenstein, The Watch (ref. SUOZ352), which houses a recreation of the famous artwork Girl (1963) inside its blue 41mm New Gent case. The back of the watch, from plastic case to silicone strap, features a zoomed-in version that clearly shows the dots of the famed Ben-Day technique. The other Swatch x MoMA model is the Reverie by Roy Lichtenstein, The Watch (ref. SO28Z117), which brings together a canary-yellow 34mm Gent case, matching yellow strap, and the reproduction of Reverie (1965) on the dial. There’s also a speech bubble loop on the strap printed with the artwork’s text, “The melody haunts my reverie.”
Created in collaboration with the Fondation Magritte, the pair of Swatch x Magritte models highlights two iconic works from surrealist painter René Magritte and honors the 125th birth anniversary of the artist. The first of the duo is the La Trahison des Images by René Magritte watch (ref. SO29Z124), featuring the pipe from The Treachery of Images (1929) on the dial and the text “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” on the strap. Swatch also playfully added “Ceci est une Swatch.” to the strap so together it reads, “This is not a pipe. This is a Swatch.” Next is the Le Fils de l’homme by René Magritte watch (ref. SUOZ350) with the bowler-hat-topped head and green apple-obscured face from The Son of Man (1964) printed across the dial, and the image carries on to the bottom of the case and throughout the lower strap. Both Swatch x Magritte New Gent models include loops imprinted with the painter’s signature.
The next pair of the Swatch Journey 2023 collection is the Swatch x Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi, featuring two of the most celebrated works by Italian Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli: Allegory of Spring (ca. 1480) and The Birth of Venus (ca. 1485). Though the original painting includes a group of mythology figures, The Allegoria Della Primavera by Botticelli watch (ref. SUOZ357) includes the depiction of Flora, the goddess of flowers, on the strap, accompanied by a fruit tree on the dial inside the New Gent case. The Nascita di Venere by Botticelli watch (ref. GZ360) has a smaller Gent case, which includes a portrayal of the gods of wind and breeze, Zephyr and Aura, on the dial while the face of Venus is on the strap.
The final watch is a Swatch x Louvre Abu Dhabi collaboration that combines Under the Wave off Kanagawa (ca. 1830–32) by Katsushika Hokusai and the Astrolabe (ca. 1726-1727) navigational instrument by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Battûtî. The front of the Great Wave by Hokusai & Astrolabe watch (ref. SUOZ351) showcases a close-up portrayal of the cresting wave whereas the back is decorated with parts from the Astrolabe, a flat projection of a night sky once used to calculate stars’ positions and calculate exact time of day.
Creativity and approachability have always been at the heart of what Swatch has to offer. And these Swatch Art Journey watches for 2023 illustrate how the brand can playfully reinterpret a medium as serious and highbrow as fine art into something that just about anyone can own and enjoy.
As is customary for most Swatches, the Art Journey 2023 watches are powered by quartz movements and are water-resistant to 30 meters. The price for the smaller Swatch Art Journey Gent models is $95 USD while the price for the larger New Gent variations is $105 USD. The Swatch x MoMA and Swatch x Magritte watches will be available from March 16, 2023, while the Swatch x Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi and Swatch x Louvre Abu Dhabi watches will roll out on April 13, 2023. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.