SWATCH Big Bold Jellyfish


SWATCH Big Bold Jellyfish detail

In 1983, SWATCH introduced the Jellyfish (below). Designed by Marlyse Schmid, it was the first transparent watch and SWATCH’s first limited edition timepiece (200 pieces). The Big Bold Jellyfish marks the return of the historic design. No doubt the superb demonstration of the watchmaker’s increased technological prowess will be a big hit. But is the Big Bold Jellyfish swimming agains the tide?

Original SWATCH Jellyfish

Thirty-six years after the Jellyfish’s debut, some say G-SHOCK has stolen SWATCH’s millennial mining mojo. Smart Watches? Them too. SWATCH’s ad copy for the $110 BBJF indicates that the Swiss horological leviathan is at least aware of the existential threat.

Born with a unique design, marking an era where you can speak out your personality, as crystal clear as can be. With a fully transparent 47mm dial and a semi-transparent silicone strap, you can discreetly keep track of way too long meetings and tedious Friday night dates, without offending a soul. 

Always-on Apple Watch just after turning on

Notice the dig at the Apple Watch – you have to turn your wrist to activate the screen to see the time. Offending folks who’d never glance at their watch during a meeting or a tedious Friday night date (as opposed to a tedious Wednesday night date).

Only that was before the always-on Apple Watch Series 5. I guess SWATCH didn’t get the memo. Email? Tweet? Fax? Something. Anyway, how does the SWATCH Big Bold Jellyfish’s transparency make it easier to read discreetly? If anything it would make it harder. Oh wait. Hands!

SWATCH Big Bold Jellyfish with weird stuff

The flashy blue, red and yellow hands? Those mark the time to speak your mind aloud without making a single sound. Except the ticking, that one we love.

Speak your mind without making a single sound? Sounds like Chinese propaganda to me. Either that or Google translate’s been infected by the One Hand Clapping virus.

Snark aside, the 47mm Big Bold Jellyfish is entirely in-keeping with Swiss SWATCH’s big bold brand. (No commission on link.) It’s a cheap timekeeper that says “Look at my watch! LOOK AT ME! I’m trendy, up-to-date, edgy and cool AF.”

SWATCH Big Bold JellyfishMy problem here: the BBJF’s quartz movement is plain and plain ugly. As are all quartz movements when compared to even the most basic mechanical movement. Which is why no one other than SWATCH sells a low-end watch where you can see the quartz engine tocking away.

More generally, does the Smart Watch’s endless supply of sharp, always-on, ever-changing, even animated faces put SWATCH’s style parade in the shade? Yes, but it takes decades for a strong brand to die.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to [discreetly] check your watch – or Swiss watch export stats – to see the times they are a changin’. Limited edition art watches like the Big Bold Jellyfish are destined to get a whole lot more collectible. If you know what I mean.


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