Exaequo Softwatch: Full Guide on Value

The Softwatch, made by Exaequo, with a white dial and yellow gold case 

The Exaequo Softwatch is a bold fashion statement.

The dial case is a nice mix of elegance and oddity. It is a conversation starter that appeals to art lovers and watch enthusiasts. 

In this article, we’ll explore the unique history of the Exaequo softwatch, why it is so collectible, and if it is possible to resell these watches.

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The History Behind the Exaequo Softwatch

The Exaequo Softwatch is a vintage watch produced in the 90s.

White dial, gold case Exaequo Softwatch on the wrist

Its pear-shaped dial case was modeled after Salvador Dali‘s infamous painting, The Disintegration of The Persistence of Memory. Swiss entrepreneur Philippe Muller conceived the idea for the watch after he saw Dali’s painting inside a Museum. 

The company was founded in 1991 and the first softwatch geniously mimicked the fluid melting watches in Dali’s painting. 

The launch was a raging success. Famous vintage watch collector Andrea Casalegno estimates that the Exaequo Softwatch first retailed at about $250 with over 1 million pieces sold. 

Sadly their success was short-lived. Three watch series and a couple of collections later, the company was sued out of existence because they added the Dali signature to the dial without authorization.

One of the main reasons the Exaequo softwatch became popular again is because many people associate it with the Cartier Crash, as there are some similarities between their shapes. 

For context, the Cartier Crash began getting public attention and media coverage in 2018, when Kanye West tweeted a few pictures wearing one. Other famous celebrities like Jay Z, Tyler the Creator, and Jack Dorsey have been spotted wearing the Cartier Crash.

One big reason consumers choose the Softwatch over the Crash is the price tag: most Cartier Crash on the market go for six figures, even up to the seven figure mark in some instances.

The Exaequo Softwatch is no imitation, however. The Cartier Crash is older, with its first series released in 1967. Whether or not its design was also inspired by Dali’s painting is unclear.

What is indisputable about the Cartier Crash, however, is that it is more expensive. In fact, many vintage watch collectors only learn about the Exaequo Softwatch on their hunt for affordable Cartier Crash alternatives.

Exaequo Softwatch vs Cartier Crash: Important differences

Image comparing the Exaequo Softwatch and the Cartier Crash side-by-side

In comparison, The Exaequo Softwatch is cheaper, with a similar unique case design. 

The next difference is in the dial case shape. Despite their similarities, the shapes of both watches are distinguishable. The Cartier Crash has a dial case with pinched ends and the centerline of the dial is aligned to the left diagonally, 

The Exaequo Softwatch, however, has an asymmetrical hourglass shape with a smaller top.

White dial, gold case Cartier Crash with black leather strap

Another critical difference between these watches is their case sizes. The Exaequo Softwatch is bigger with a 45mm height and a 30mm width, while the Cartier Crash has a 45mm height and a 25.5mm width. 

The Exaequo Softwatch: Dial and Distinguishing Features


Exaequo Softwatch with white dial, gold case, and black strap

These are some of the features of an original Exaequo Softwatch. 

  1. Dial Shape: The Exaequo Softwatch has an asymmetrical hourglass shape, inspired by the melting watches in Dali’s painting.
  2. Colors: Common dial case combinations of this watch are: white dial on a gold plated case, gold colored dial on a gold plated case, rose gold dial on a gold plated case, and white dial on a silver plated case. 
  3. Movement: The Exaequo Softwatch contains a reliable quartz movement which is low-maintenance.. 
  4. Printed straps: The Exaequo Softwatch has printed straps mimicking alligator leather in green, brown, black, blue, red, and yellow. Also, it often has a curved end, similar to the melting shape of the case.

Exaequo Softwatch Series

In the seven years that the Exaequo Softwatch was in production, they produced several series.

The first series of Softwatches, released in 1990 had gold-plated cases with a white dial. These watches measured 47mm in length and 23mm in width. They also came with green straps.

There was only one screw in the case back, which allowed the battery to be replaced through the watch crystal. Although this was an awkward way to change batteries, they came up with a more elegant solution later.

The second series of Softwatches was released in 1992. In this series, the screw for the crown feature was totally removed, and different variations of the dial were made available. But overall, the aesthetic of the dial case remained the same. 

Different colors of dial-case combinations were introduced, like the white dial on silver dial case and the blue dial on silver case. They measured 47mm in length and 23mm in width. This time, they came with black straps.

This was also when the ill-fated Dali inscription was added to the dial.

The third series of Softwatches launched in 1994 were smaller with a 40mm length and a 20mm width.  In/between this series and the last model, they experimented with painted dials. It was with this series that they implemented a better way to replace batteries. Instead of one screw, there were four screws that made things easier.

The last model of Softwatches was released in 1996 with a similar size to the third series and a more curved shape.

Dealing the Exaequo Watch Profitably

Although dealing the Exaequo Softwatch won’t make you a millionaire, you can still make a profit as prices have only gone up. The trick is to sell when there’s a scarcity.

Also, if you have a rare model, you can make big bucks. For example, the yellow dial on the gold-plated dial case is rumored to be limited to only a few pieces in the world. As the years go by they will become even rarer as owners lose or damage their watches.

Exaequo Softwatch with painting dial

Now, you can still buy other rare pieces like the painting dials, or the red dials on gold-plated cases, and hold to sell for a nice profit. 

Andrea Casalegna, renowned vintage watch dealer says that you can buy these watches for about $800 online. He has even resold some for $3,000. 

A fat $2,200 profit.

Is this watch worth adding to your collection? Yes.

As these watches have become more popular, the demand for them has also skyrocketed.

The Exaequo Softwatch is also a much cheaper alternative to the Cartier Crash, so you don’t need much money to find yourself a piece.

The watch market can be confusing. And if you’re not in the know, you could end up wasting your hard-earned money buying overhyped junk that might lose value.

If you want to stay informed about the hottest watches and the latest trends in the vintage watch market, be sure to check out our other articles.

For instance, you can read about the Buckley Dial here, or the Guide to SeikoWatches here.

Be sure to sign up for our email list below as well for the latest news and information so you can keep your watch game on point.

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