Swatch Irony Review (Struggler)
Since most of us are a bit poorer these days, I thought it made sense to explore one of the brands that is really equated with both value and quality, Swatch. Oddly, I have never owned a Swatch until now. But, when my local jeweler came into a number of NOS (new old stock) models at discounted prices, I decided to take the plunge. My initial thought was that a Swatch would make a terrific year end gift to a co-worker who had been wistfully eyeing some of my other toys. (I got him a "Wealthy Star" model chronograph if you are interested). What I wasn't expecting was to like it enough to want one for myself.
The model you see above is called the "Struggler". It dates from 2001 and is one of Swatch's Irony models. Being a NY Mets fan, the colors immediately appealed to me. (Come to think of it, the name makes sense too) Swatch, as most of us know, made its name in making fashionable plastic Swiss watches. The Irony takes this concept and extends it to stainless steel. The result is a solidly made man's wristwatch that frankly seems to be a relative bargain, even at today's list price. (The Swatch Group incidentally is the powerhouse in the Swiss watch industry. The story behind this company is a good read if you are interested. See here or here as well as this Wikipedia entry as well).
The watch itself measures 40mm in width not including the crown (Swatch says 39mm but my ruler says 40 so I'm going with that number), 14mm in thickness 47mm lug to lug and has a 22mm band lug width. Internally, it is powered by a 4 jewel ETA G10.711 quartz chronograph movement. Water resistance is rated at 30 meters and the lume, despite this example's age, is quite good. The bracelet on this Irony is especially worthy of praise. For what is marketed as a consumer/fashion watch, it is a heavy solid link design with a nicely made signed clasp. As watch bracelets go, it is better than many others I've encountered. Lastly, the watch case is also interesting with drilled lugs and a one-piece design with an access point only for the battery.
All told, there is really no downside to a Swatch Irony. It is affordable, even in these awful times, very well made and looks terrific (albeit by my eye). If you are looking for a good solid daily wearer or a nice gift, you really can't go wrong with a Swatch.
As an aside, I got this one at Watch Station located at the Third Avenue entrance to the Lexington Avenue/53rd street subway station in NYC. The shop is one flight down at the back of the news stand. Raphael, the owner has a number of these new old stock Swatch models available and I got the impression that the prices were negotiable. (He has some beautiful vintage pieces too by the way) It’s worth checking him out.