It is claimed that raids conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) on Swatch stores across the nation a couple of weeks prior only confiscated specific models, an alleged ministry insider claims. Speaking to Free Malaysia Today, the source revealed that the timepieces targeted are only those that contain the letters “LGBTQ” inscribed on the face, which stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.”
“We did not seize the watches just because they had the rainbow colour,” the anonymous tipster said. “If that’s the case, we would need to seize Paddle Pop ice creams.”
Despite the claim, photos of the raid (via The Edge) contradicts this. Visible in them are authority members confiscating Swatch’s 2023 Pride Collection, which consist of watches that are offered in six individual colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Even though each of these are the same colours used on the Pride flag (which is also present on each of their bands), none of the models contain the LGBTQ letters on their faces.
In fact, the only known Swatch timepiece that features the acronym is the Stripe Fierce model that was launched globally in June of last year. To be more precise, it has the letters “LGBTQIA2S+” inscribed instead, where the latter half represents “Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and others.” This is followed by a Pride flag watch face, which is housed within an opaque body and straps.
It is unclear whether the authorities actually targeted this model exclusively during the raid, though the source claims that hundreds of watches bearing the “LGBTQ” letters were seized. According to Malay Mail, a total 172 watches were confiscated from Swatch stores in 11 different shopping malls in Malaysia from 13 to 15 May. Despite the incident, the Stripe Fierce model as well as the 2023 Pride Collection are still available via the Swatch online store.
Meanwhile, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek argued that the confiscated watches did not include any reference to the LGBTQ community, though he specifically mentioned this year’s collection. The company is seeking to take legal action as the home ministry has refused to return the seized timepieces, he added.