News: Swatch D’Schwizer – kitschy souvenir with a sense of humour

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Swatch has just announced the D’Schwizer, which appears to be emblazoned with the coats of arms of each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. But they are actually humorous interpretations of the cantonal arms, though the real coats of arms are on the back of the watch.

Part of the Swatch Gent collection, the D’Schwizer has a plain black plastic case and silicon strap. But examine the cantonal arms on the front up close and that is where the fun begins. These are the cantonal arms as interpreted by Swatch. The most hilarious for someone well versed in horology is the coat of arms of Geneva.  The official Geneva coat of arms comprises an eagle and a key. In the Swatch D’Schwizer the eagle has morphed into a chicken, or poulet in French. Hence it is the poulet de Genève.

This is obviously a play on the Poinçon de Genève, or Geneva Seal, which is not used by any of the Swatch Group brands. None of this was announced in the official press release, but someone at Swatch is clearly having some fun. And for those with some time, here is the list of cantonal descriptions form Swatch you can match to the coats of arms on the watch. Aargau: The Aargauers are speedy by nature – they joined the Confederation 210 years before Swatch. Appenzell Ausserrhoden: Secluded cheesemakers yodel a Zäuerli while disguised as Silvesterchläuse (rather like English mummers).  Appenzell Innerrhoden: The locals display traditional Swiss spirit by raising their hands to vote at a cantonal meeting. Basel-Landschaft: Friendly folk among cherry orchards. Basel-Stadt: Swiss, Germans and French meet at the zoo for coffee and Läckerli biscuits. Bern: Where the government bides its time in taking decisions. Freiburg: Rumours suggest that the locals dig for their Rösti, a Swiss potato dish. Geneva: No one’s too small to be a Calvin. Glarus: The frogs from Muotathal don’t just croak, they even predict the weather*.  Graubünden: The Olympics have given this canton sleepless nights and five dark circles around the eyes. Jura: The locals are considered to be stubborn revolutionaries – who have been known to hide Unspunnen stones^.  Lucerne: Prospectors sought gold in the Napf region long before there were any cowboys in America. Neuchâtel: Much that pleases the eye and palate comes from this canton – the most attractively crafted watches, the finest chocolate and the “green fairy”, also known as absinthe.  Nidwalden: Without this forest canton, the Rütli oath of independence would never have been sworn. Obwalden: At the Brünigschwinget wrestling competition, sparks have flown every year since 1904. Schaffhausen: Nowhere else does so much water flow down the Rhine. Schwyz: What would Switzerland be today if Bailiff Gessler had missed his turning to the Hohle Gasse, where he met William Tell? Solothurn: If you dig straight through the earth from Solothurn you will emerge at the other end in Honolulu (say the Solothurn carnival revellers). St. Gallen: The fried sausages from the local butchers are so good that they can be eaten even without mustard. Ticino: Where Swiss palms sway in winter. Thurgau: In this cider country shaped like India, apples and pears share the isolated countryside. Uri: Where Egyptians meet to ski, thanks to local investment by one of their own. Vaud: Native Claude Nicollier, the first and so far the only Swiss astronaut ever, must have said to himself “I want to rise high“. Valais: Where queens go in for the attack – the Eringer cows at their annual fights. Zurich: The idea for Swatch was born in Solothurn’s Grenchen, but the watch was actually presented for the first time in Zurich in 1983. Zug: Every year on 15 November, the decisive battle of Morgarten is commemorated – keeping the militia on their toes in case things get serious again. *The Weather Frogs are members of a society of weather forecasters who predict the weather each year using a secret method. ^An Unspunnen stone is a stone weighing 80 kg, used in the stone-throwing contest at the Unspunnen festival. The D’Schwizer is available only in Switzerland, from 15 April 2013. – SJX

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