The name Swatch stands for Swiss Watch, as Swatch was built as a joint consortium of most Swiss watchmakers. This move came in the 80's, when Japan dominated the wrist watch scene with digital LED Casio watches and Swiss watchmakers were facing a crisis on the budget range of products (no real crisis for Rolex and Patek Philippe, though).

Swatch had a unique technology that made it possible to produce very small lots of alike watches, so that they could handle the production of thousands of different models and had a very short time to market. In some sense, Swatches were the biggest show of Swiss technology in watchmaking since the Accutron.