I remember deciding against this watch because it was orange and I had no orange clothes. Back then, that was really important. Now, the fact that it’s an Egyptian-themed Swatch is WAY more important. I didn’t start becoming obsessed with Egyptian art until the late 90’s, so this watch was disregarded almost immediately back when I was a teenager.
This is the second Swatch I bought. Back in 1989, the money to buy a Swatch felt like SO much and I spend days deciding which one to get. I only consider two of my Swatches to be “beloved,” and St. Germain is one of them.
I must have looked at that band a million times. I had this watch when I was in college and I remember thinking how mature it was: the handwriting, the French words on the face, and the mysterious picture of a girl in a long coat. Depending on how the hands swing, the watch can read one of twenty four things:
Tu es magique. – You are magical.
Je te veux magique. – I want your magic.
Tu es absolu. – You are absolute.
Je te veux absolu. – I want you absolutely.
Tu es univers. – You are universal.
Je te veux univers. – I want you universally.
Tu es temporel. – You are temporal.
Je te veux temporel. – I want you temporally.
Tu es espoir. – You are hope.
Je te veux espoir. – I want you hopefully
Tu es rever. – You are a dream.
Je te veux rever. – I want to dream about you.
Tu es enigme. – You are an enigma.
Je te veux enigme. – I want you enigmatically.
Tu es illusion. – You are an illusion.
Je te veux illusion. – I want your illusion.
Tu es obscur. – You are obscure.
Je te veux obscur. – I want your obscurity.
Tu es desir. – You are desire.
Je te veux desir. – I want your desire.
Tu es hasard. – You are chance.
Je te veux hasard. – I want your chances.
Tu es vertige. – You are giddy.
Je te veux vertige. – I want your giddiness.
Before Yahoo! Babelfish, I used to just sit there looking at the face of the watch, trying to guess what each phrase meant. With a good training in Latin languages, I was able to figure out almost all of them.
The original band for my beloved St. Germain finally cracked and broke (I still have it). Luckily, I was able to find a replacement band (shown here).
In the end, this is STILL one of my favorite watches to wear, either with this band or a plain black one.
Back in 1989, when I bought my St. Germain watch, it was a choice between that one and this one. It was a difficult choice, but I went with the St. Germain because it was black and white and I thought it would go with more of my clothes.
I bought this watch on eBay two weeks ago. Now that I’m an adult and I can afford it, I was able to buy the other watch of my dreams from my teen years.
I’m scared to wear this watch. I can’t buy new bands for it, so I don’t want to wear it with its original band. Maybe I’ll replace the band and wear it. Why is it so hard for me to think about wearing a watch that I have wanted for so long?!
I just received an email from Cam in Australia:
Hi Laura, love your blog.. I searched for ages to find a photo of my long lost Swatch, turns out it was the “Coloured Love” model you feature below.
I received it for my 13th birthday, mine had a bright pink face guard attached, my mates ribbed me about it, but girls loved it, good conversation starter!..
Unfortunately on a night of silly behaviour when I was about 16, a friend of mine became seriously drunk in our small town here in Australia, long story short; the local police locked us up to teach us a lesson.. They took all of our possessions, including my swatch, and held them until we got out. When they were signing us out, my watch was gone, as was my friends fathers Vietnam Zippo, I protested and received a short jab to my stomach, whoops, haven’t been in any trouble since, Haha!.
Oh well, looks like my chances of replacing “Marilyn” have improved now that I have the model name and photo reference.. Thanks.
It made me so happy to hear this story about Coloured Love that I just had to share it with you. Cam told me that he has found a Coloured Love on eBay and is planning on keeping it for posterity instead of wearing it. I have yet to wear my Coloured Love Swatch because it was new in box. I did find a beat up one later, however, and I wear it from time to time, even though it just has a black band instead of the original.
I bought this one at Costco. Mike and I were married by then, so it must have been in the 90’s sometime. The original band was colored like the face of the watch. I still have it, but it is so damaged it was impossible to photograph.
Update 09-04-08 3:24 pm: Today I pulled out the original band for Beauchamps Place and I was able to flatten it out enough to photograph it.
The funny thing about this watch is when I was looking up its name, I mistook it for Borgo Nuovo. I even ordered a new band for it. Unfortunately, the Borgo Nuovo is the Gents size version of this watch, so now I have a band for a watch that I don’t own. Sadly, there are no bands available for Beauchamps Place, so I’ll have to be happy with it just the way it is.
Update 09-22-08: I found a brand new band for this watch and it is back to its original beauty. I also found a Borgo Nuovo. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I can’t wait to photograph them side by side.
I bought this watch in 1996, thinking it was part of the watches that Swatch made for the 1996 Altanta Summer Olympic Games. It kind of looks like an Olympic watch with the figure on the face in laurels.
I knew that the watch was about Dante’s Inferno. For years, I called it my Dante Swatch, but when I looked for its real name, I couldn’t find the watch in the 1996 collection. That’s because it wasn’t in that collection. It was part of the 1994 Spring Summer Collection.
The quote encircling the face reads,
“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita.”
It is from Dante’s Inferno and means,
“In the middle of our lives.”
The separation of the angels on the top of the watch and the demons on the bottom strap is a pretty good illustration of the concept of heaven and hell. When I wear, it however, heaven and hell become intermingled at the inside of my wrist. I always found that ironic and loved wearing the watch with its original band.
After the cracking of the band on my beloved St. Germain, however, I was reluctant to wear this watch with its original band. I replaced it with a plain black band and I ended up not liking the watch as much in the process. Despite removing the band, there is still some aging to it. Notice the yellowing behind the angels. I don’t think it looked THAT yellow when I first got the watch.
Fortunately, Squiggly.com, specializes in providing bands for Swatches. I have two brand new bands for this watch on the way from them, so I can wear this watch with its original band as often as I want now.
I bought this watch during the heyday of the first Dot Com boom. There was a Swatch store in Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas. I remember wishing that we had our own Swatch store in Salt Lake City. We DID get one at the now defunct Crossroads Mall. They set up the store right before the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics and closed it soon after. This is the ONE watch that I bought at that store. Mostly, I just bought bands, guards and batteries there to keep my Swatches alive and beautiful.
I wonder how big Salt Lake City will have to become before we can get a Swatch store again, because the Olympics aren’t coming back any time soon.
This is another watch that I didn’t want to wear the band for fear it would get damaged. For most of the life of this watch, I have worn it with a transparent band. Unlike Le Poeme, however, Oxygen keeps the art, even when the original band is long gone. I put the original band back on for these photos, but I will be removing it and replacing the transparent band so I can continue wearing this watch without guilt.
This watch was part of a collection of three. Each watch represented an element. Oxygen represented air. There also was a water Swatch named Chlorine. Zerkon represented land. Squiggly.com has photos of what they look like: Chlorine and Zerkon.
They actually have these watches for sale, but no replacement bands. I don’t want my Oxygen band damaged any more than it already is, so I guess I’ll be wearing this one with a transparent band.
I love this watch. I am ALWAYS early to everything, so I thought this watch was so funny! If you notice, the face is shifted five minutes clockwise, so it looks like it’s later than it really is. On this watch, it looks like it’s 10:30, but it is really 9:25.
It NEVER fooled me.
This watch was also part of a collection. The other watches in the collection were called Always Late and Always Now. Always Late had the dial face rotated the other way, and Always Now was some non-sequitur that didn’t match the other two.
Personally, I think the watch dials should have been rotated in the opposite directions. Us people who are always early, bug normal people who show up on time. Our watches should make us a little late so that we end up showing up at the right time. The people who are constantly late need a watch like Always Early, so that it will fool them into showing up on time.
Ever since the mid-90’s, I have been obsessed with Egyptian art, so when I saw this watch in the Swatch store back in 2001, it took no deciding at all to buy it.
I bought it at the Swatch store in Las Vegas back when they used to be in Fashion Show Mall (now they are at Caesar’s Forum Shops). Mike and I were staying at the Luxor hotel and I remember thinking how lucky I was to be able to have an Egyptian watch from Swatch.
I had completely forgotten about the Horus Swatch from back in the 80’s. And I didn’t even know Osiris and Amneris even existed.
Here are some photos from the Luxor Hotel back in 1996. They were remodeling the hotel and my heart was breaking because they took out the Nile River Ride. Little did I know how far the Luxor depths could reach.
It’s funny how this watch represents so much to me. It’s not just about Egyptian art. It’s about a hotel in Las Vegas. It’s about the REASON we went to Vegas, which was Comdex. I look at that watch and can see the first Dot Com boom. It’s so much more than just a silly little watch.
I bought this Swatch in 2002 and I’ve worn it maybe five times. It came into my life right when I was changing from wearing gold jewelry all the time to wearing silver jewelry all the time, so it ended up in the back of the drawer.
That makes me sad for this watch. Maybe I’ll wear it today to make it feel better.
I bought this watch in 2007 when I was looking for a good watch that displayed the day and the date. I wanted a women’s watch, but I settled for this one. In the end, I have loved it dearly.
This is the first Swatch I bought while I was blogging. I found it at the Las Vegas Swatch Store in the Caesar’s Forum Shops. When I got back home, I took a picture of myself wearing it for my daily Self Portrait.
As you can tell, I had already replaced the leather band with a transparent one. I liked the leather band, but I was worried that I would ruin it (just like the St. Germain), so I immediately bought a transparent band, which are easily replaceable. I’ve since found a couple of leather bands as back ups, so I feel comfortable wearing it with the leather band now. I think it might look really good with a metal band, though and might try that.
I wanted a digital watch that actually looked good. I had owned one that looked good, but it was broken, so I was looking for a replacement. Unfortunately, I expected a lot from my watch. Here is what I was looking for:
Metal case and band
Time and Date on the display at the same time
The Red Vibration didn’t fit the bill I was looking for. I was willing to spend a few hundred dollars on a watch that fulfilled all these qualifications, but I just couldn’t find it. I still haven’t found it to this day. I bought Red Vibration just a few months ago and it is the closest I’ve ever come to getting a women’s watch that is pretty AND functional.
Sure, there is no stopwatch or countdown timer, but now that my iPhone has those capabilities, I don’t necessarily need those functions on my watch. It would be nice to have a beautiful women’s watch that is digital and has all those functions, but the only one I’ve been able to find was the Phillipe Starck watch from Fossil. They no longer carry this watch and mine has finally died.
It was just an added bonus that Red Vibration was red, which is my signature color right now. It’s not the perfect watch, but it’s okay for now.
I got a NASTY scratch on the crystal, but last month the guy at the Swatch Store buffed it out for me and it looks good as new. Did you know that the plastic crystal on Swatches could be shined up? I had no idea and I nearly cried when I realized that my beloved Sir Swatch was just a buff and and a battery away from looking new.
What? This doesn’t look like a watch Laura would like: no bright colors, no day of the week, no flashy graphics. What was Laura thinking?! Before you judge this watch too harshly, you have to understand the gadget appeal of this watch. Heracles is an automatic watch, which means that it doesn’t require batteries and is powered by the movement of my hands while it’s on my wrist.
Here is a look at the back of the watch. It has a clear back so you can see the inner workings of the watch. It has 21 jewels, which help it keep time. That is the minimum of jewels you need for a good automatic watch. The half-circle metal piece twirls around the watch and powers it with my movements.
Over a year ago, my brother, Dan, got obsessed with automatic watches and I was unimpressed. They tended to cost more than a quartz watch. I LOVE gadget appeal, but not enough to pay an extra five hundred dollars. An extra fifty bucks, however, was completely within my range. When I found out Swatch had automatic watches, I immediately bought Heracles and have enjoyed it ever since.
This is my first automatic watch. I bought it at the Swatch store in Las Vegas two months ago. It came with a leather band (I still have it), but I wanted a metal band, so I bought one that day and the clerk at the store changed it for me. It keeps great time, but only if I wear it at least every other day.
Back when I bought Red Vibration, I had been trying to decide between it and Strawberry Jam. A couple of months later, when I found myself at the Swatch store again, I splurged and got Strawberry Jam. I bought it the same day as I bought my Heracles automatic. The gadget appeal of the Heracles has won out whenever I choose a watch, so I have only worn this one about two or three times.
I’m sure this watch will get its day in the sun, but right now, it is still nearly pristine.
When I bought my Heracles and Strawberry Jam watches, they said I could get another watch for half off at the Swatch store, so I picked this one. I’ve only worn it a couple of times in the last two months.
It’s a Skin Swatch, so it’s incredibly thin. It feels like I’m wearing nothing on my wrist.
So many of those gears and parts look like they are for show, but when I pull out the crown and move the hands around, all those gears move. They are actually working parts of the watch.
It reminds me of the Jelly Swatches from so long ago. Swatch never really stopped making the Jelly Swatches, they have just changed over the years. Now, it’s a Jelly Swatch that’s golden or maybe a Jelly Swatch that is incredibly thin. I kind of wish they would release the old watches again. I would buy 100 Sir Swatches if they did.
After the guy in the Swatch Store restored my Sir Swatch to its former beauty, something inside me snapped. All the love for Swatch came back in full force and I wanted to buy more. Sure, I had spent almost sixty dollars just in batteries to bring all my old Swatches back to life, but I wanted a new Swatch that felt like one of the old ones, so I chose Color The Sky.
The bright colors, stripes and those funny numbers that look like someone wrote them on by hand all remind me of the Swatch of the 80’s, so I bought it. Even though I just bought this watch, I already love it. I have a clear blue Swatch guard that matches the body of the watch perfectly and I love the stripes. Most importantly, I bought two replacement bands for it, so I don’t have to worry about ruining the bands just by enjoying the watch.
I found this group of Swatches on eBay and they couldn’t have gone to a more happy home.
I bought a collection of watches for Golden Tan. New in the box, this watch is worth $250, so I was willing to bid pretty high for the group. I ended up paying ten bucks for all four watches, so I’m VERY happy with the set.
They actually photograph very well and look much better in person than they did on the eBay listing.
This watch reminds me so much of my Beauchamps Place watch. They are both brown and I’ve put the Spiga in the same band and I used to have on my Beauchamps Place, so it’s hard for me to tell them apart.
I still need to get an original band for this one, but for now, it looks good in this cheery yellow band.
It’s funny, but my favorite of this group so far is Ibiskus. I haven’t even worn the Vasily or the Golden Tan because I don’t want to hurt them. The least precious of the group has won my heart and I’ve worn it three times since getting these. Isn’t that ironic?
Update 09-22-08: I bought a brand new band for Ibiskus and it looks lovely. I took the time to photograph it. Here it is now:
Seeing it look so good made me want to stop wearing it and keep it in a box. Once I realized this, I took off the floral band and replaced it with a blue one. Now, I have no qualms about wearing it.
This was a very popular Swatch when I was in high school. I loved my Sir Swatch and I knew I had made the right decision, but I always wanted this one as well. I thought that it would look so good worn with Sir Swatch, but it was always considered secondary to my beloved one.
The watch is named after the McGregor tartan. Here is a sample of what the McGregor tartan looks like, so they weren’t too far off the mark. Senior year in high school, I had a plaid mini-skirt that I kept closed with a kilt pin. I loved wearing Sir Swatch with it, but I think McGregor would have matched much better.
As much as I loved that skirt, I don’t have even one picture of myself wearing it. I still have the kilt pin, somewhere, but the skirt is long gone. It’s funny that someone else’s watch could remind me of all that.
The Swatch Club forums asked us to share one of our Swatch Moments. Here is one of mine:
Clark Edvick took me to the concert early. We waited for the Thompson Twins to take the stage. There was a HUGE Swatch hanging from the ceiling of the Salt Palace, counting down the moments before they would perform.
When they sang “Lay Your Hands On Me” we all threw our hands at the stage in unison. I had never seen the video, but Clark showed me how to do it. I watched the Swatch tick the evening away.
It was 1986.
P.S. Clark, if you’re out there, thank you for taking me to see the Thompson Twins. I hope your life is wonderfully full now and I’m wishing you the best that this world can give you.
I have been looking at my St. Germain Swatch for nearly twenty years now and I’m beginning to wonder what it means. What did Swatch mean naming it St. Germain? Sure, I know what the watch means to ME, but for the first time, I’m wondering what the designer of the watch was referring to.
There are a number of saints with the name Germain and many of them are French. Considering the words on the face are French, I thought there must be some connection there. But which saint would it be and what does any of them have to do with the images on the watch?
Patron Saints Index: Saint Germanus – Nephew of Saint Patrick. Missionary monk in Ireland, Wales and Brittany. Bishop on the Isle of Man where several locations are still named for him.
Patron Saints Index: Saint Germaine Cousin – Born: 1579 at Pibrac, France – Daughter of Laurent Cousin, a farm worker, and Marie Laroche. Her mother died while Germaine was an infant. A sickly child, she suffered from scrofula, and her right hand was deformed. Ignored by her father and abused by her step-family, she was often forced to sleep in the stable or in a cupboard under the stairs, was fed on scraps, beaten or scalded with hot water for misdeeds, real or imagined. – Patronage: abandoned people and peasant girls
Of all the references available, I believe Saint Germaine Cousin to be the best fit for this watch. She is the patron saint of abandoned peasant girls. What better visual representation of that than the lonely woman in the coat and the forest?
Then there is the lengendary Count of St. Germain, who is rumored to be immortal (or maybe even a vampire). He is represented quite often in literature, including Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
One of the representations of the Count of St. Germain is a French television program called “Le Collectionneur des cerveaux” or the “Collector of Minds.” I found a YouTube clip of the movie that has been dubbed into German:
Chess playing robots and piano virtuosos aside, I don’t really believe that the Collector of Minds was the basis for my St. Germain watch. For all I know, they were merely referring to the city, St. Germain in Quebec. They speak French there, don’t they?
In fact, the closest representation of the watch from independent sources is this:
Here is St. Germaine of Cousin alone and cloaked under a sprawling, but leafless tree. Very similar to the St. Germain watch from Swatch. Am I close or have I been thinking about my watch for FAR too long?
Can anyone out there direct me to what Swatch was thinking about when they designed the St. Germain watch?
I received this nice email from one of the readers and I think he’s totally correct!
Email Dated 10-14-08:
many thanks for featuring that classic French-style Swatch on your blog. I remembered my own one morning and googled “tu es hasard”, one of the few combinations I remembered (the other was “tu es vertige”) and yours was the single result.
I also loved my watch, which I owned from about 1989-92 I think. It seemed so expensive, classy, mysterious and pretentious. The original strap broke, and then it stopped working entirely.
It reminded me, back then, of Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire, and also of some academic theory I was reading at the time — and re-read today, which put me in mind of the watch. Jean Baudrillard wrote, in The Ecstasy of Communication, of the new cold universe, of “hazard, chance and vertigo”. It seemed more than chance and coincidence that those were two, or three (translated) of the terms on my watch, and it made the object seem even more “adult” and intelligent.
However! I think you have mistranslated, or I have always misunderstood the watch. I believe the watch is saying, with the small hand, “you are chance”, “you are vertigo”, and the long hand ALWAYS says “I want you”.
I don’t believe “je te veux espoir” and the other combinations are any kind of grammatical French, and that they do not mean “I want you hopefully” and so on.
That is, I think the watch can only say 12 things: “You are chance, I want you”, “You are hope, I want you”, “You are dreams, I want you”, and so forth.
But thanks again, because I really wanted to see that watch.
Email Dated 10-16-08:
Yes, I’d be very glad for you to include my thoughts about the watch., with my name if you like. The association with “Wings of Desire” is pretty tenuous as the watch evokes 1940s Paris more than 1980s Berlin (I agree with your correspondent that the name is meant to evoke the place, Paris St Germain, and probably a “Casablanca” feel), but I think it was the figure in the long coat, in black and white (or grey-green and white?) that reminded me of Wim Wenders’ film.
This photo may make the visual connection clear.
The parallel with the terms discussed by Baudrillard is also entirely coincidental I’m sure, but it added to my feeling that the watch was very adult, sophisticated and profound. In fact, I didn’t mention that my first serious girlfriend bought me that watch, perhaps for my 21st birthday — which is probably why it would not be fitting to have it again now, because it was something of that specific time and point in my life. I remember feeling that the watch face and strap were like a kind of romantic lost world, which I could immerse myself in by looking at them.
I also enjoyed your discussion of the Mondrian/”Studio Line” style watch, which is so wonderfully 1980s! I remember that advertisement well, and I also bought the product (specifically, the mousse) because of the advert and the Mondrian design. I’m sure if I smelled it now, the distinctive fragrance would immediately recall that time.
Like many things from the 80s, I think it may be better in memory, but your site provided some great nostalgia.
Please feel free to post this mail as well on your site, as it gives a bit more context to my experience of the St Germain watch, and the associations it had for me at the time. It is good to know that the watch meant so much to someone else, as well.
Here is another example of France in the Thirties that reminds me of this style of art.
They were selling a new one in the box for $357!! What?! Why is this watch worth so much more?! My Mackintosh that I had just sniped on eBay was only worth $97 NIB (new in box), so why was this one worth so much more?!
The Swatch X-Rated or more commonly know as the swatch X watch is in such high demand for one reason, Straight Edge, a Subculture closely tied with punk/hardcore music, Straight Edge, is a label / lifestyle in which a person chooses to live life for themselves free of addiction,and societal pressure its very large subculture fueled by music, Straight Edge people tend to be proud of their decision, and this is where the x watch comes in. the symbol for Straight Edge is the X, and this watch has become a collectors item among the community, popularized by bands. there are even knock off versions of this watch.
Drew was right. He included a link to the knock-off:
It all came flooding back to me in memories. Back in 1986, I had a friend named Doug who played in a band called Better Way. They were punk rock and played at the Spoken Word a couple of times. They were also WAY Mormon, so they didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. All their songs were about leading a clean life.
Their band died the same death that a lot of bands in Utah die: all their members went on LDS missions.
I don’t know where Doug is today. I wonder if he ever picks up his guitar and remembers his old days. He was Straight Edge before Straight Edge was cool.
In the end, that Swatch on eBay sold for $92.05. I wasn’t the one willing to pay so much for a broken watch, so I’ll have to be happy with my memories.
I found this little guy on eBay and won it for only $20. The reason it was such a good deal is because it was missing its battery case on the back. I replaced it and gave it a new battery and it runs perfectly.
On a side note, this design is similar to the arms of Edward III. Flipped and colors switched and you have the same thing. The lions are more stylized, of course, but it looks very much the same. The funny thing is, it’s Richard I that is called Lionheart. His coat of arms is red with three lions down the middle, though. Edward III came two hundred years later.
I always liked the design of this watch, especially the fleur-di-lis on red. When I was in high school, my grandma gave me a huge pile of old costume jewelry that she had left over from her days running an antique store. I had a little collection of fleur-de-lis pins that I used to wear.
This Lionheart watch would have gone perfectly with those pins. Now that I’ve brought them out of storage, I think I’ll wear them all together this fall.