Swatch introduces the new Bioceramic
The Swiss watchmaker continues to push the boundaries of innovation with this cool tech fusion piece
Swatch has never lost its knack for making cool watches. And it’s a particular strand of cool too: artful, playful and affordable, its designs also have an innovative edge that appeals to a wide scope of consumers including serious watch lovers. Swatch quartz movements also make a lovely sound that is instantly recognisable. Another secret to the Swiss marque’s success is - quite fittingly - good timing. The company mastered the art of collectable “drops” decades ago with its limited edition art watches, long before the sneaker industry caught on to this method of marketing. It knows how to create a buzz and crucially how to foster positive change in the shifting cultural landscape in a way that creates intrigue.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, which offers young artists studio residency, is one example; another is the brand’s most recent release - a range of bioceramic watches. They come in the form of the oversized 47mm Big Bold silhouette with a see-through case which showcases the timepiece’s sculptural mechanism to full effect. Released earlier this spring, the model is two parts ceramic, one part bio-sourced plastic. The design has been cast in monochrome shades, pastel hues of pink and blue, as well as four new dual colour combinations, seen above.
But what’s it really all about? In physical terms, the new Big Bold is ultra scratch-resistant and lightweight with a soft silky texture that feels like velvet against the skin - a novel concept in itself. It is, however, the science that really shines.
Bernardo Tribolet, Swatch vice president of marketing, gives the lowdown on this latest innovation...
What is bio-sourced plastic and how is it sourced?
“Bio-sourced materials are made from renewable biological resources. Our bio-sourced materials come from the castor plant, and are produced from castor oil. The castor plant is a naturally drought-resistant plant, meaning naturally resistant to most pests, and has little value in the food chain to humans and animals. There is no food competition since the land where it grows cannot be used for crops for human or animal consumption. We successfully introduced the bio-sourced plastic in September 2020, and it marked the first time a watchmaker has succeeded in replacing all conventional materials with bio-sourced materials.
“Our bioceramic material is sourced from a mix of two-thirds minerals (ceramic powder ZrO2), one-third bio-sourced material as well as colouration pigments. This hybrid material unites the best properties of both worlds: the hardness of ceramic makes bioceramic more resilient than pure plastic and the flexibility of plastic makes bioceramic less breakable than pure ceramic.
“At Swatch, our mindset has always been driven by innovation with purpose. The search for new materials, new production methods and new forms of expression has always been a constant thread. Within the 38-year old path of Swatch Innovation, the bio-sourced chapter is our latest step in this journey.”
Could you explain the design? It is much larger than many of your collection timepieces...
“We are celebrating the launch of this new material with our Big Bold statement piece. Its size allows us to perfectly showcase the material’s properties, its pureness and sharpness which give a special depth to the product in the literal sense. Thanks to the Big Bold’s 47mm dial, the architectural details and the beauty of the movement are perfectly displayed.
“The choice of colours was carefully curated, starting with unicolour models for the launch of bioceramic – after all, the material is our protagonist. Making the design icons black and white was an obvious choice, and we’ve also selected the colour of the year - grey - along with an optimistic blue. My favourite remains the pink model, a powerful proof that this colour is a fashion statement.”