KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Swiss watchmaker Swatch today confirmed that its Pride timepieces inspired by the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement have been seized in just one country worldwide: Malaysia.
Malay Mail asked the firm yesterday if there were also any raids or seizure of watches from Swatch’s Pride collection or similarly themed items in Swatch stores in other countries.
“No,” Swatch International said in a specific response to the question while declining further comment on the Pride collection seizures in Malaysia.
It instead provided Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek’s previous statement on the raids and seizures in Malaysia, where the latter had disputed the idea that the company’s collection of watches “using rainbow colours and having a message of peace and love could be harmful” to anyone.
According to Swatch International, its 2023 Pride collection of watches was launched on May 4 this year, describing itself as welcoming all people and celebrating all love.
Swatch International’s promotional information on its 2023 rainbow flag-inspired collection said the watches in six individual colours represent the Pride flag’s six colours which “speaks for all genders and all races”.
Swatch International listed the meaning represented by the six seized watch models: “Proudly Red” for life and passion, “Proudly Orange” for healing and celebration, “Proudly Yellow” for sunlight and the flag’s radiant centre, “Proudly Green” for nature and growth, “Proudly Blue” for harmony, and “Proudly Violet” for spirit.
Malay Mail this morning reported that the Home Ministry seized 172 Swatch watches from 11 shopping malls in Malaysia from May 13 to May 15, with nine watch designs seized including the six designs mentioned above.
When contacted by Malay Mail yesterday, Swatch declined to comment on the case of the watch seizures, but said its “legal department is taking care of it.”
Read here for Malay Mail’s summary of what we currently know about the Swatch watch seizures in Malaysia.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he did not have enough details to comment on the seizure of 172 Swatch watches and said he would leave it to the Home Ministry to explain.
“The only fact I know is that the confiscation was because the watches had LGBT symbols, not because of the colours,” Anwar said.