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10 Ways Watches Have Evolved

Swatch This
A wall of swatches (Creative Commons/Flickr/Aine)
A wall of swatches (Creative Commons/Flickr/Aine)

When Swatch debuted its inexpensive, brightly colored watches in 1983, it was nodding to the history of the watch more than it knew. Not with neon and rubber face protectors, mind you, but with the idea of watches as pure fashion, as those first wristlets were. Swatches were not meant to be your only watch, passed down with solemn ceremony from father to son, a la Christopher Walken in "Pulp Fiction." Swatch wanted you to buy a bunch of its cheap, plastic watches and change them up every day. Or wear a stack as if they were bracelets or -- dare we say it -- wristlets. According to the company, its mission is right in the name: It's a portmanteau (the fancy term for "smashed together words") of "second watch."