Swatch introduces a new bio-ceramic material for their Big Bold NEXT. Available from April 2021 in 5 colours – basic white and black, as well as the spring colours of pink and light blue, and grey – the Pantone colour of the year. We look at this new watch in detail.
Swatch has been an innovative company since its beginnings in 1983. Then, they were the first to introduce a new material to watches – plastic. To do that, they had to develop the manufacturing system to do micro-injection of plastic materials. And have made an industry landmark not only in the creative and fun designs but also with the pioneering use of new materials.
In 2020, they introduced the next chapter – the Bio Reloaded – which uses new age composite material with a high proportion which is bio-sourced. And now with the bio-ceramic. An innovative material made of 30% biio-sourced material and 70% ceramic to create an interesting, tactile material for their new watch. The Big Bold was chosen as the launch platform for this new material. As it is a rather large watch which make visible the use of the properties of the bio-ceramic. But also as a statement by the company – big and bold next step in the future.
The material used is very interesting. The bio-sourced base of 30% is from castor oil – an oil extracted from the beans of the castor plant (Ricinus communis). The oil is made into beads which is combined with ceramic to form the new material. The base pure material is a bright white, used in the White model. And pigments are added to produce the other colours – Black, Grey, Pink and Blue.
Swatch has made a commitment that by the end of 2021, all key Swatch product lines will further explore the use of bio-ceramic.
Review: Swatch Big Bold NEXT C-Blue
We have the Blue version, Ref. SB03N100 for our photography. The watch is the property of our Chief Editor, and retails for SGD 194 inclusive of GST. The retail price is the same for the other colours.
The case, dial and hands
The case is in the standard Big Bold BLUEINJELLY‘s rather substantial 47mm case (11.75mm high seems just right on the wrist). The original Big Bold which we reviewed has a plastic see through case, while in this new Big Bold NEXT, the case, bezel and crown is made of the new bio-ceramic. The material has a nice tactile feel. It has a silky smooth feel, very nice to the touch. The ceramic element also means that it is neither warm nor cold to the skin, and even when left in the heat or cold, it normalises to skin temperature very fast.
The rest of the watch is in bio-sourced plastic (including the crystal), while the buckle is aluminium. The dial is transparent, showing the entire movement. The super-structure serving as the base for the movement to provide structural integrity, and is visible from the front is in the same blue as the rest of the watch. We think it is injection moulded in plastic, but the Swatch literature does not specify the material used. Visually, it has a textured surface which is different in the silky smooth case and bezel. Also, the bio-ceramic is highly capable of retaining definitions of the mould, creating sharp edges and highly defined lines, while the superstructure is more akin to plastic in this regard.
The pale sky blue is rather fetching, and is perhaps a weakness of our Chief Editor, as seen in his Big Bold BLUEINJELLY also features blue accents on transluscent plastic. Here the case, strap is in the sky blue, as is the aforementioned superstructure movement plates which form two concentric circles, and visible from the dial. The movement, which is a quartz standardization movement of ETA manufacture, is also given a coat (or several) of blue paint, leaving a textured grained finish with tiny black dots, giving the dial view depth with the contrasting surface finishing.
The hands are white, very thick, rectangular shaped structures. Interestingly for the NEXT C-Blue, they carry an infill of SuperLumiNova, as opposed to no lume on the Big Bold Jelly. The seconds hand remains a slender needle like appearance with a counterweight, and is finished in the same blue hue as the rest of the watch. The Swatch logo and SWISS is printed on the underside of the crystal, which seem to carry antireflective coatings, though not stated in the Swatch literature.
As with the Big Bold Jelly, the movement is a standard quartz standardized movement by Swatch. The caliber number is not published, and thus not known. The battery is located on the back of the watch, and can be removed easily with a small screw driver or coin. A very convenient design that is used in many Swatch watches. But the owner need not bother with battery changes. Swatch provides free battery change for all their watches for life. This service is available at all Swatch boutiques worldwide.
The water resistance integrity is 30m, and should suffice for normal day to day use and abuse.
As we concluded in the review of the Big Bold Jelly, the new Big Bold NEXT C-Blue is a fun watch. The same remarks we made then, still applies. It is uber cool looking, with the fun element played up by the use of the innovative material, which is so nice to the touch. And despite being 47mm in diameter, it wears superbly on regular wrists and even smaller ones. The entire case and bracelet seem to just wrap itself around the wrist for a good comfortable fit.
And at SGD 194 (a SGD 30 premium over the plastic Big Bolds) is a no brainer.
Photographed in our studio. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 Macro and HC 2.8/80 with H28 extension tube. Profoto strobes.