Timepieces like the Random Ghost (ref. SUOK111) are examples of how Swatch made inexpensive timepieces cool in the 1980s, and how Swatch’s artistic way of approaching wristwatches is still extremely relevant today. The Random Ghost is in the New Gent collection and is a totally transparent watch with a colorful, exposed quartz movement. The reason Swatch calls it the “Random Ghost” is because the pieces of the movement are colored and chosen at random when the watch is produced resulting in 15,120 possible color combinations.
This effectively means that you’ll be hard pressed to find two which are exactly the same, and most all Random Ghost watches are unique. The concept is simple, but quite satisfying as the watch’s quartz guts are the most prominent feature on this totally skeletonized watch thanks to the clear plastic case. Visually interesting, this under $100 watch is arguably much more fun to wear than pieces costing many, many times as much.
I got to play with a Random Ghost watch recently and quite enjoyed it. The clear plastic case is strange for sure, but it feels appropriate with the design and Swatch brand. Swiss companies aren’t known for their ability to come across as easy-going and liberal, but Swatch certainly has a cheerful and simple approach to their designs which results in tons of interesting timepieces being released each year. Given the staunch conservatism of the Swiss watch industry that aBlogtoWatch writers experience on a daily basis, it is refreshing to wear a Swiss timepiece such as the Random Ghost that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but nevertheless celebrates the tradition of the Swiss watch industry.
At about 41mm wide this isn’t one of those small Swatch watches you are used to. When Swatch released the New Gent collection a few years ago I personally welcomed in a new era of cases sized for modern male preferences. The case is just under 10mm thick and like the strap, is produced in totally clear plastic. The fully viewable movement is cool enough, but with all those (random) colors, the design proves even more appealing. There is something very 1990s about this timepiece, in that colorful, cartoony sort of way.
The chart above is an example but not a complete list of the various colors and parts that are randomly mechanically assorted for each watch. There are five different parts of the movement that come in random colors, and each part has a different amount of color options:
- Electric Module (quartz) comes in 7 colors (blue, red, light blue, green, orange, and yellow)
- The Reel comes in 8 colors (green, red, violet, yellow, light blue, pink, lilac (shade of purple) and dark yellow)
- Stator / Motor comes in 9 colors (pink, yellow, blue, orange, green, light blue, white, violet, and sky blue)
- The Driving Wheel comes in 5 colors (orange, red, white, yellow, and blue)
- Maintenance Plate comes in 6 colors (turquoise blue, orange, green, violet, blue, and yellow)
While it is cool that there are so many colors, it probably isn’t possible to order a specific combination. So most of these will need to be purchased either in a store where you can see the specific watch, or online if the specific piece is pictured. But then again people may just want to ‘roll the dice’ and see what Swatch sends them. Though, minor color differences can dramatically change the look of the watch making it either more masculine or feminine. In a way it is probably a very clever way of getting people into the many Swatch brand boutiques located all over the world.
For less adventurous types, the standard Swatch New Gent collection comes in a more predictable assortment of colors, but the personality of the Random Ghost collection gives it a distinct appeal. Swatch’s little tagline for the piece is “Take Your (Colorful) Chances,” but we think there is no risk in not enjoying a watch like this.