Grandmother's Swatch

No one in my family ever seemed to notice how weird it was that one day my grandmother started wearing a Swatch.
I have no idea how it came to her, or when.
Ok, it wasn't a fluoro coloured glow-in-the-dark Keith Haring edition.
It was a relatively demure black one with a white face and roman numerals.
But still, it was a Swatch.

Visually, I'd always thought of my grandmother as a prototype "little old lady". Classic, a bit elegant, with no particular acknowledgement of current styles or trends beyond the comfort zone she'd mapped out years previously.

Throughout my childhood she wore the same delicate thin gold watch with a very tiny face, in keeping with someone born in an earlier part of the twentieth century.
She wore it with black leather open toe shoes, forties style, opaque white stockings and dresses. Always.
From these givens I could take some unintellectualized kid comfort.
When I first caught sight of the Swatch on her wrist, I couldn't quite process why I found it so curious.
But the disconnect between my grandmother and this plastic disposable pop-up fashion item was so huge to me, I wondered what else I might have to re-evaluate in my life.
The reverberations were potentially massive.

From that day on, I could think of my grandmother in no way other than Swatch wearing.
And it never became any less curious to me that the gold watch had mysteriously been replaced with something from another era.
The one we were currently living.
When she passed away I knew I had to inherit her Swatch. Just that. Nothing else mattered.
No one really understood my obsession.
It was happily handed over to me.

Valerie Phillips
Photographer