The Value Proposition: The Swatch Skin Classic

By Stephen Pulvirent

Maybe it’s a symptom of spending well over half of my waking hours looking at, researching, and focusing on watches, but sometimes I want on my wrist that’s a little less… I don’t know, “watchy.” I still want to know what time it is and I still want to enjoy gazing down at my wrist, but I just want, yeah, less. When I get that itch, there’s only one thing to scratch it, and that’s the Swatch Skin Classic. It’s almost an anti-watch, daring anyone horologically inclined to give me a hard time so I can launch into a polemic about why I think it’s one of the best designed little products of all time.

My friend’s well-worn Swatch Skin Classic.

I first learned about the Swatch Skin Classic a few years ago from a friend who’d been sporting one for a while (you know who you are). And it looked the part. The transparent case was scratched and even a bit cracked in one spot, the red hands didn’t look quite as bright as I’d bet they were when the watch was new, and the bracelet had a healthy veneer of dirt about it. In a funny way, the watch looked even cooler in a way that I don’t typically associate with plastic products. Something about the way this little thing had aged seemed to lend it gravitas. That it was often paired with a beautiful bespoke suit or a killer suede jacket only added to the appeal for me. I’m a sucker for some good high/low action.

The transparent case and black dial make for a high-contrast option.

Now, don’t confuse the Skin Classic with the newer Swatch Skin models. The latter are much larger at 41mm and the proportions are totally different. They’re fine, but I don’t think they have the same panache as the smaller Classic models. What you get with the Skin Classic is a 34mm watch in a svelte plastic case that measures just 3.9mm thick. It wears more like a 35mm watch though, so don’t panic about it being “too small.” It’s also water resistant to 30 meters, so swimming this summer shouldn’t be a problem. You can get them in transparent or solid colors, on rubber straps or metal bracelets, and in a variety of dial styles. The options are updated regularly, though I …read more      

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