Swatch watches are designed to be affordable for everyone, but did you know that just a few years ago, a vintage Swatch watch collection was sold for $1.8 million? Let's have a look together at the most expensive Swatch watch models of all time. You never know what limited-edition Swatch model you may come across, and have no idea how valuable it really is!
Stick to the end and we'll let you in on a few secrets on how to determine the value of your very own vintage Swatch watch model!
What are the most expensive Swatch watches of all time?
1. Kiki Picasso
The most expensive Swatch watch model ever sold was the Kiki Picasso, a model that was launched as part of a limited-edition collection, in Paris, in 1985. There were 120 Swatch watches part of this release, and each had a different dial variation.
This Swatch model is so far the most expensive one ever sold to a collector, for a price of over $22,000. Check out this article for some interesting facts about the Kiki Picasso watch collection.
2. Andrew Logan Jelly Fish Swatch GK100AL
The Jelly Fish Andrew Logan Swatch reference GK100AL was also part of the 1985 Spring Collection. The watch comes with a unique bracelet design, and a see-through dial, and it was sold for no less than $10,300.
3. Swatch Oigol Oro by Mimmo Paladino
One of our favorite Swatch models from the 80s, the 1989 Oigol Oro was designed by the Italian painter and sculptor Mimmo Paladino.
In his words, "The idea was not to decorate a watch, but to design time. My Swatch is like a humorous vanitas, a poetic symbol of passing time that was industrially manufactured". Only 100 such models were created, so Oigol Oro can be found today at a price of over $10,000.
4. Keith Haring Special Edition Swatch Collection
Some of the most popular Swatch watch designs of all time are the special edition Swatch models part of the Keith Haring collection. Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist that was particularly popular in the 1980s, and whose visual language has become easily recognizable over the years. If you know a thing or two about Swatch, you may have seen this Keith Haring collection before:
Any of these four limited-edition Swatch models will sell for an impressive price today. And the whole collection is easily worth thousands of dollars.
Just recently, Swatch has launched the Mickey Mouse X Keith Haring collection, a fun collection of Swatch models that feature Disney's most beloved character in a pop art design inspired by Keith Haring's unique aesthetic.
If you want to get your hands on one of these watches, now is the time. From what we've seen, the first two models can be bought online, but the last one can only be purchased in Swatch stores. Will these models become collectible Swatch watches over time, and grow as valuable as the first Keith Haring collection? Only time will tell, but these Swatch watches are definitely worth considering.
5. Swatch Diaphane One Turning Gold SVAZ100
Swatch is famous for their affordable watch designs, cased in plastic, colorful, and durable. But in 2007 the brand has released a surprizing luxury-edition mechanical watch known as Diaphane One Turning Gold, reference SVAZ100.
This Swatch model is part of the Swatch Irony line, and it's a skeleton watch: the movement is visible from the front and the back of the case. A little work of art showing that Swatch can create luxurious timepieces just as successfully, there are only 100 such watches out there. If you want to read more about the specifics of this watch and have a closer look at it, we recommend this article.
6. Swatch Velvet Underground 1985 GZ999W and GZ999B
Sold for a price of over $3,000, the 1985 edition of the Velvet Underground Swatch watches, reference GZ999W and GZ999B are also rare, collectible pieces to come across. There are other Swatch models belonging to the Velvet Underground collection, some of which can still be found online at a reasonable price, but it's the prototypes that hold their value throughout the years.
7. Swatch Chrono-tech GB403If you don't have any of the Swatch watches above in your collection, maybe you'll get the lucky with the Swatch Chrono-tech, reference GB403. An original model from 1985 was sold for as high as $1,100, and we're sure that Swatch collectors nowadays are just as eager to get their hands on this Swatch model.
8. The Veggie Line
The "Veggie Line" is a series of three Swatch watches designed by the Australian artist Alfred Hofkunst. When they were released, the watches could be purchased in fruit and vegetable markets. Can you imagine? This was one of the many out-of-the-box marketing strategies the Swatch brand has introduced over the years. This collection is valued today at over $500, depending on the condition of the watches.
9. Swatch PAGO PAGO GL400
The 1986 PAGO PAGO GL400 vintage Swatch watch is a design that has earned much appreciation over the years. It is now one of the most sought-after Swatch models and its value on the market is constantly increasing.
10. Swatch Prototypes & Limited Releases
We can continue listing Swatch watches that have sold for hundreds of dollars over the years, but instead, let us tell you about some key factors that increase the value of a Swatch watch. Because more often than not, it's not the model that determines the price of an expensive Swatch.
What is the value of my Swatch watch?
In order to determine whether your vintage Swatch watch is a rare, valuable item, you need to consider these two variables: 1) is the watch limited-edition, and 2) is it a prototype?.
1) is my Swatch model part of a limited release?
Limited-edition Swatch models will only be produced in a limited number of pieces. You may have noticed that this is the case for some watches we have talked about above. Oigol Oro and Kiki Picasso, for example.
Why are limited-edition Swatch watches so expensive? It's simple. There is only a pre-defined number of these watch designs available in the world. As the years pass, these will become harder to find, and the Swatch collectors will seek them out more and more. Once the brand announces a limited edition release, you know that these watch models won't be produced again in the future. So this is all you get.
2) is this a prototype Swatch?
What are Swatch prototypes? you may wonder. Well, Swatch has been around since 1983. Their plan to revolutionize the Swiss watch industry consisted in creating an affordable quartz wristwatch that will be entirely produced in Switzerland. So the first Swatch designs were prototypes: preliminary versions of how these colorful Swatch watches would appear on the market in the years to come.
How can you determine if a Swatch watch is a prototype? First of all, you need to consider the year of the watch. Most prototypes date back to the early years of the brand, 1983-1986. Secondly, you will notice that in the majority of cases, the dial of prototypes read "Swatch Quartz" (see the photo above), instead of simply "Swatch". If you've ticked these two boxes, then it's time to keep researching your Swatch model by reference, and maybe contact an expert, or a Swatch collector, to get more information.
Finding the name & reference of your Swatch watch
If you're new to the world of Swatch watches, you should know that every Swatch watch has a reference that can be used to identify its model. Unfortunately, this reference is not written on the watch. This makes it difficult for watch owners to identify the name of their Swatch watch model, and to find more information about it.
There is a way that you can search for your vintage Swatch watch model, and that is by using the Swatch finder. You can use it to identify your Swatch model by year, and you can also set filters, like Family, Line, or watch functions. If it gets too complicated, what we suggest is turning to Facebook groups or pages. There are many Swatch enthusiasts out there that will gladly help you identify the model of your Swatch!
We hope these steps will get you a bit closer to estimating the value of your vintage Swatch watch. If you're a Swatch expert and have some more valuable insights about this topic, make sure to comment below!
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