July 19, 2013
by James Lamdin
A few weeks back, Swatch treated us to an unveiling of their all-new Scuba Libre novelty collection – a fun assortment of brightly colored models with a decidedly aquatic theme. Scuba Libre’s tag line is “Mad About The Sea,” and Swatch put together this artistic video (commercial) interpretation of our obsession with the whimsical underwater world to coincide with the release. It is impressively well done, and interestingly a similar concept to the ill-fated TechnoMarine “Ocean Addict” campaign that was short lived while Vincent Perriard was the CEO. Swatch has adopted the concept very successfully. Have a look below. (sorry iPhone/iPad, the video may not come through for you – it’s worth checking out on another device)
In keeping with the Swatch brand DNA, all of these pieces are cased in plastic and powered by quartz movements. This keeps prices down (under $100 each), and collectors are jazzed. After all, for about half the price of a rugged mechanical diver, you could swipe up the entire collection and still have enough left over for a trip to the shore. The case looks bigger than it is at 43mm wide.
Naturally, these timepieces aren’t designed to be serious workhorses, so you professional divers best look elsewhere for equipment you might need to rely on for your life – but for the rest of us, these are great looking, lighthearted pieces you could certainly wear to the beach or while snorkeling without giving it a second thought. All of the pieces have a 200M depth rating, which is more than enough for seaside activities.[Editor’s note – UPDATE – Have a look here at Ariel’s video review of the Scuba Libre Chlorofish added October 2013]
From a design perspective, the Scuba Libre collection espouses traditional design traits such as unidirectional rotating bezels and Plongeur hands from iconic divers of the past, with a particularly jovial je ne sais quoi only a Swatch could pull off. The pieces are all lightweight and most feature an extremely comfortable silicone strap perfect for wet-wear. With model names like “Clownfish,” “Whalebone,” and “Playero,” it is pretty clear that Swatch is really just having fun. My personal favorite is the “Deep Turtle” – a black and green model with a nylon NATO-style strap.
From time to time we’ve been known to get a little too serious about our watches around here. The Scuba Libre collection flies in the face of all that, and we dig it.
Bottom line? It’s summer – chill out and get your beach on. The Scuba Libre is Swatch’s answer to simple and cheap aquatic fun. swatch.com
>Model: Scuba Libre Collection
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Why the heck not?
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone in serious need of a Mai Tai.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Nitpicking here, but some unique Scuba Libre packaging would be welcome.
>Best characteristic of watch: Great colors and straps