or: Those were the days...
Here is a great story that Desmond Teo from Singapore sent me. Credit is
also due to Dan Komar.
Last update: pictures of
two Sandwatch prototypes and two more interesting prototypes.
In 1991, Robert Casagrande, a wealthy Swiss souvenir shop owner and a small team of Swatch enthusiasts established the first International auction for Swatch. He wanted more than a simple auction, more like a multi-day event complete with organized dinner, traders bourse and of course a quite glamorous auction with many rare Swatches and also plenty of unusual prototypes. Additionally, his team decided to devise a multi-year theme to go along with the specially created event "Timepiece" that they would create each year. They never really told anyone about this theme until it became evident in the third year.
The first watch was called the Big Flat. The concept of Fire
was to take actual Swatch dummies and smoosh them under
pressure and heat to create a unique looking piece of art. The concept was
primarily that of Klaus Zaugg, another big collector and artist and
photographer, and very close friend of Robert Casagrande. So... with
concept in hand, they devised a method to smoosh the watch in just such a
way as to create a unique look, then mount it with a magnet onto a signed
plinth (black acrylic board base). Each plinth was signed and numbered by
the creator Klaus Zaugg. Robert Casagrande has a Bonaparte Big Flat given
to him by Klaus Zaugg. Below is a picture of Big Flat #182/444,
with a melted Tutti (GW700,
Click image to enlarge!
For the 2nd auction in 1992, the theme was Earth.
It was the Sand watch and they got Franco Bossisio, then boss of
Swatch Italia, to create for them casings that had no middle section. It
was not a Swatch casing, but another plastic watch similar to Swatch and
also made by SMH. They also had very tiny sand clocks made in different
colors of sand. The main color was white. Lesser quantities of red, green,
yellow and blue were made,with blue being the rarest.
In 1992 (31-JUL), Dan Komar also released the L'orage d'été special. 120 different automatic specials which were subject to a lawsuit with Swatch AG. Details can be found in the following photos (incl. special note and press release)
The 3rd year watch (1993) was the last one designed in total by Klaus. It was the Wind watch. Once again they used an open casing, this time of special color, and included to pinwheels that rotated in opposite directions. These too were is special colors and were sold in sets as well as individual pieces. The pictures below show the VIP version with four watches in one box, normally, the box contains only one watch.
Additionally some few odd (prototype) colorations were made as one offs, around 25 total pieces. Robert Casagrande signed a prototype color wind watch for Daniel J Komar.
In 1993, Dan Komar also created the Monster set, consisting of three different Automatic watches with special dials:
The 4th and final year (1994) of the Luzern auction saw the completion of
the 4 year series with Water watch:
This was created in memorial to Klaus Zaugg who had tragically died as
the result of a minor gunshot wound to his leg in a robbery attempt, then
died as a result of the medications given to him at the hospital. The
concept had been Klaus', but the implementation was finalized by Robert
Casagrande. Robert had been in a lawsuit that entire year brought on by
Swatch over his Sand watch from the 2nd year, as part of the terms of
settlement, Robert had to agree that after the 94 auction he would have no
more auctions and do no more non-swatch swatches. It was pretty much the
end of the major Swatch era in Switzerland and brought with it the loss of
interest from many collectors and especially those in Switzerland. Prices
also started to drop and no other auctioneers were interested in doing any
more low-end actions, save the one last-ditch effort by Rudolf Mangish in
There is a price package for the Auction event, according to the Auction
catalogue. It is SFR333 which includes: 1 Auction catalogue, Fondue -
Dinner, Entrance for Bourse , 1 Pin, Entrance to "S"-Watch Party, Auction
- Cocktail & Auction watch.
Recently in 2006, some prototypes and one-off's by Klaus Zaugg surfaced
on ebay. There are some nice and interesting pieces among
them. Here are the pictures:
These pictures show that Klaus was a real artist! Here are
two more interesting Zaugg prototypes:
Thanks to Markus Strobel for some pictures.
Next room: Luzern Access to Space event in '96