The Swatch x Blancpain collaboration is more impressive than the MoonSwatch
In recent times, as Nick Hayek Jr, the Chief Executive Officer of Swatch and the mastermind behind the MoonSwatch sensation, shares his brilliant concepts - ones that revolutionize the industry - he enjoys doing it while enjoying the aroma of a lit cigar. To be specific, he indulges in a Nicaraguan Gilbert de Montsalvat Gran Toro Classic.
Last week, things were quite interesting at Swatch HQ. The big news came from Marc Hayek, the CEO of Blancpain, who revealed that Swatch and Blancpain would team up to produce an exceptional series of timepieces that could potentially cause a frenzy online.
The Collaboration: What We Know
Swatch and Blancpain have been engaged in ongoing discussions since August 2022, which is six months after the introduction of the MoonSwatch. However, according to Nick Hayek, there were numerous possibilities being considered for Swatch's future strategic endeavors.
"After MoonSwatch launched, I've had conversations with individuals from high-end brands (excluding Swatch) who are our friends and expressed their interest in being the next to collaborate in a similar manner," explains Hayek. "Their point was that they have a significant number of young customers who admire their brand but cannot afford to purchase a watch priced at $30,000 or $50,000. By teaming up with Swatch, as you have done with Omega, they believed they could extend their reach and connect with a larger audience who values their brand, history, and future endeavors."
After Swatch dropped a mysterious ad, it didn't take long for people to speculate that it would be Blancpain who took the opportunity. The main reason for this prediction was the immense enthusiasm shown by Marc, the nephew of the brand. While Marc had the advantage of witnessing the immediate success of MoonSwatch, Nick highlights that there was a notable difference in how Marc approached this upcoming venture (excitedly) as opposed to Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann (somewhat apprehensive).
This idea is logical for several reasons. One important reason is that Omega is a highly recognized watch brand, thanks to its association with James Bond and the Olympics. Therefore, they had more at stake if the collaboration didn't work out. On the contrary, Blancpain, although having an impressive history and being considered a luxury brand, is not as widely established in the overall horological landscape. This collaboration provides an opportunity for Blancpain to gain more exposure and introduce its watches to a larger audience.
Design Matters, Doesn't It?
Considering the design aspect, it's worth noting that Gregory Kissling, who holds the position of Head of Special Projects for the CEO of Swatch Group, has been extensively involved in this exciting collaboration much like he was with the MoonSwatch. With this in mind, it is safe to assume that there will be several meticulously planned design elements and hidden surprises in this exclusive collection of watches that will undoubtedly pay homage to Blancpain's rich history and traditions.
Based on the most recent Swatch preview, it has been revealed that this collection will consist of five timepieces, with each one being named after a specific ocean on our planet. The Indian Ocean, The Atlantic Ocean, and The Pacific Ocean will represent contemporary Blancpain models, while The Arctic Ocean and The Antarctic Ocean will pay homage to past Blancpain models marking the extremes of our world's oceans.
Although we are uncertain about the exact dial colors or specifics, we can affirm that every timepiece will present fresh bioceramic shades. The inspiration behind each watch's color scheme originates from a unique ocean-dwelling nudibranch species.
For those of you unfamiliar (including us), nudibranchs are a species of sea slug. To be more precise, they are underwater molluscs with soft bodies and no protective shells. With over 5000 varieties existing in all five oceans, Swatch and Blancpain thought it would be enjoyable - and in line with Blancpain's dedication to preserving the oceans - to choose five nudibranchs that resemble the shades of their latest timepieces.
"They are extremely vibrant and serve a crucial function in maintaining the equilibrium of the marine ecosystem," remarks Gregory Kissing. "They consume undesirable seaweed, thus safeguarding the corals, and their hermaphroditic nature allows them to reproduce independently," he further explains. The innovative concept of deriving inspiration for color palettes from nudibranchs originated from Marc Hayek, who, in addition to being the CEO of Blancpain, is an enthusiastic diver as well.
Since Blancpain is celebrated for introducing the initial authentic diving timepiece ever made – ahead of renowned brands like Omega and Rolex – with the legendary Fifty Fathoms (which, by the way, is commemorating its 70th birthday this year), numerous diving watch enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating (and sincerely wishing) that the partnership's connection with the five oceans might imply the release of an affordable version of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms for the first time.
Combine that with the sentimental and exclusively positive charm of Swatch's previous involvement in the world of dive watches – does anyone still possess a Swatch Scuba Happy Fish? – and you have a possibly captivating opportunity. However, all will be unveiled in due course.
Can We Expect A Quartz Blancpain?
Let's present the statement of renowned watchmaker Jean-Claude Biver upon obtaining Blancpain in 1982: "Blancpain has never produced a timepiece with quartz technology, and it will continue to be so in the future."
Is This The Sole Swatch X Blancpain Collab?
"There are no set plans for what we will do," Marc explains when questioned about the possibility of future releases similar to MoonSwatch. "If it is successful, I have a few concepts that I would like to suggest for our next venture, but nothing is definite at the moment."
When & How To Acquire One?
According to Mr. Hayek Jr, the distribution process for the new product will mimic that of the MoonSwatch. All Swatch stores worldwide will feature a conspicuous yellow suitcase in their storefronts, showcasing the watches that will be available for purchase on Saturday, September 9. Blancpain boutiques will also showcase the product, but it will be solely for display purposes and not available for sale.
Discover all the latest details about the Swatch x Blancpain collaboration in this blog post.