GENEVA – Designers Marlyse Schmid and Bernard Muller were instrumental in the launch of Swatch in the 1980s. As their unique collection of Swatches comes up for sale, Marlyse recalls the early years of these ground-breaking timepieces with Sotheby’s specialist Pedro Reiser.



DESIGNERS MARLYSE SCHMID AND BERNARD MULLER.


How did you become involved in the project to create Swatch? 
It was an innovative product, and its technology was avant-garde. We had the freedom to design as we liked. Our brief for the project was to take into account the material – ABS, a durable thermoplastic – and take advantage of its qualities and the method of its fabrication using injection molding, and also to consider fashion – to create a watch with universal appeal. 



THE HISTORY OF THE SWATCH DESIGN THE SCHMID & MULLER COLLECTION.
CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE CREATION OF THE 12 FLAGS MODEL, REF. GS 101 & LS 101, RELEASED IN 1984.
ESTIMATE UPON REQUEST.


What were your feelings when the first Swatch was released and so well received?
After lots of work, numerous doubts and many sleepless nights, it was a victory for our little team! Of course, I have to mention the entire team who worked with me and Bernard on the project: Ernst Thomke, the executive, Franz Sprecher, who handled the marketing, and the two engineers, Jacques Müller and Elmar Mock.


Do you have a personal favourite of the Swatches that you worked on?
Certain watches like the Jellyfish or the Blackout will always be favourites for us because they relate to significant moments in the project.



THE HISTORY OF THE SWATCH DESIGN THE SCHMID & MULLER COLLECTION. 
DESIGN STUDY AND TWO "VELVET UNDERGROUND" MODELS, RELEASED IN 1985.
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How did this sale come about and what is being offered?
We’ve had this collection for about 30 years. As we went through our archives recently we realised their historical importance and wanted to pass on the baton. The collection contains more than 4,000 pieces, of which around 1,000 are watches including some 380 prototypes, technical plans, drawings and collages, as well as numerous fascinating letters. That’s not to mention the hundreds of watch cases, faces and other parts.


What do you think is the secret of the enduring popularity of Swatch?
The design, which continually adapts with changing fashions, its reliability, and, of course, the price!


THE HISTORY OF THE SWATCH DESIGN THE SCHMID & MULLER COLLECTION.
THE FIRST MODEL OF SWATCH'S ART COLLECTION BY KIKI PICASSO, 1984.


Important Watches will be on view from 7–9 November. Auction: 10 November.

珍貴名錶

10 November 2015 | Geneva