On 17 and 18-JUNE-2001, the traditional meeting of the gold and pioneer members of Swatch The Club took place in Biel, Switzerland. If I count correctly, this event was the sixth gold & pioneer event. A great tradition! It is always nice to see familiar faces again and to talk about swatch and other stuff! We met at 10am, monday morning, at the headquarters of the Swatchgroup in Biel:
Nick Hayek jr.'s office is in the fourth floor, on the right on the picture above. It is clearly marked with the pirate skull swatch flag :-) This year, the flag was not given to collectors. For compensation, Nick invited all gold & pioneer members to his office (in groups of five persons). A very nice idea! His office is really rather simple and not very luxurious, as you can see on the picture below:
We all signed on the wall behind him but I don't think that we used permanent markers... I was among the first to visit. At this time, the upcoming James Bond leather suitcase was still to be seen in front of his desk, with an engravure "Nick Hayek jr.". Later, the suitcase was hidden behind his desk, otherwise, it would have been gone after a few groups :-) Nick was very friendly and chatted shortly with everybody. He also handed out a gift to all of us: A video about the 27th canton. I think that you can watch the video somewhere on the swatch website, it is quite funny (Nick driving in a taxi and entering the house of parliament in Berne).
After this short surprise visit, we went to the Swatch building where it was time for meet and greet:
Even Ton Cleijne (former head of Swatch The Club) showed up, he now works for swatch in the Netherlands. Then it was time for presentation of upcoming products, here is a picture of the upcoming fall/winter collection:
We saw lots of interesting stuff, exciting productions are being released in the future! Then it was time for lunch at the Omega canteen. After lunch, we went to the swatch showroom. A complete swatch collection was on display:
For me, the most interesting stuff were the 1983 swatches of course:
Interestingly enough, some 1983 models were missing, and for some models, they showed only rare variants (eg. GG701 with bright green case, some ladies swatches with bright red case and so on). I was a little disappointed that they mixed up GN701 and the 1984 Navy Roman (GN702) but they are human after all :-)
On another desk, the manager of the department for the development of special packagings showed some of the packagings, very interesting as he was looking for input and opinions from collectors.
At the back of the room, they showed a prototype for a new swatch store: A so-called Jelly-Fish store. Very very nice but in my opinion they murdered the Sam Francis watch by cutting a square in the face of the watch (have a look at the middle of the picture):
Afterwards, it was shopping time at the so-called swatch kiosk. We had the chance to buy rare older swatches (sometimes at inflated prices, sometimes at a reasonable price, one per collector [lucky draw]) such as a Keith Haring (notice the bar code at the price sticker!!), Rorrim 5, the new acrylic display special packaging of the five Athens 2004 Kyklos swatches (limited to only 108 pcs), and more. Overall, there were about 30 good swatches, my lucky draw number was 45, so nothing interesting for me...
The two days in Biel were sooo hot (about 36 degrees Celsius), so it was then time for a quick shower at the hotel before dinner.
Click here for page 2 to read more about monday evening (dinner time!).