It’s not every year that one of the most hyped-up watch releases is a watch from a brand outside of the usual suspect. Your Rolexes, APs, Pateks, and maybe a handful of other brands like some independents typically dominate the news cycle. However, a few weeks ago, suddenly, the talk of the town was centered around two brands that usually don’t make the headlines; well, one of them sometimes does; Omega and Swatch.
Following some teasers of a collaboration between Omega, one of the most historic and iconic watchmakers ever, and Swatch, their entry-level relative, the watch world was suddenly ablaze. So what could the two brands possibly have in store? Omega produces finely crafted luxury wristwatches for thousands of dollars, and Swatch produces the opposite, children’s watches and extremely accessible watches for a few hundred dollars.
Well, the answer was one of the most hyped-up releases in living memory, the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch. Modeled on the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, the MoonSwatch, as it is called, was launched as a fusion between one of the most iconic and important chronographs ever created and Swatch’s widely-accessible blueprint. Available from only select Swatch stores and with unprecedented hype, the MoonSwatch had Omega and Swatch fans camping outside of their nearest Swatch store lucky enough to have taken delivery of the MoonSwatch for days, with some people camping for as long as two nights.
Of course, with this insane hype came the scalpers and opportunists who didn’t want the watch for themselves but rather they wanted the opportunity to sell on their MoonSwatch for a profit. Originally retailing for $260, some variants were selling for over $2000 on the first day of the launch, even after Omega confirmed that these watches were not limited edition and would be constantly restocked and available online in the future – which is no longer the case following a U-turn. In any case, the MoonSwatch launched with queues and hordes of customers dying to get their hands on one of the most hyped watch launches in living memory.
Inspired by the Omega Speedmaster and its role as a space-faring timepiece, the MoonSwatch is available in 11 colorways inspired by the planets and moons. Modeled on the Speedmaster’s 42mm case, the MoonSwatch features an identical case to the Speedmaster but swaps the Speedmaster’s stainless steel construction for a Bioceramic one – a type of plastic created by mixing ceramic with bio-sourced plastic derived from castor oil. As a result, the MoonSwatch can be worn on any strap that can fit a Speedy, much like our very own Omega Speedmaster Horus Straps.
Of course, like most things in the watch world, the story wasn’t over after the MoonSwatch launched. It has since been embroiled in controversy ever since its debut – not a surprise given that people were stabbed during the chaos caused by the frenzy of its release. The MoonSwatch has been in the news yet again for staining people’s wrists with the dye from darker variants running onto people’s wrists if they sweat while wearing it.
Offered on a Velcro strap like the ones NASA astronauts wore the original Speedmaster, the MoonSwatch is naturally worn tight to the wrist – something you should avoid if you own and enjoy your MoonSwatch. Instead, set it on another strap with some looseness to accommodate for airflow to cool your wrist and the watch down. Additionally, the MoonSwatch will not be available online like Omega originally promised. It seems that Omega enjoyed the frenzy they caused and decided to keep the elusive nature of the MoonSwatch going for as long as possible.
Ultimately, the Omega x Swatch Moonswatch is a curious case. The watch blew up beyond either of the two brand’s wildest dreams after an unplanned leak ruined their reveal, and has since managed to remain in the headlines. While some negative press does surround the MoonSwatch, at its core, it is an accessible and fun timepiece for watch lovers to wear and enjoy without having to worry about a true luxury timepiece, and that is something to be cherished.
While opinion is split about the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch and whether it is a good purchase or timepiece to own, ultimately, it is a Swatch dressed to look like the real deal, and with that, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It is made of a type of plastic that can be damaged, unlike metal, and is powered by an inexpensive quartz movement – if the watch community takes it too seriously, then we run the risk of losing the fun in the hobby of watch collecting. Sure, there might be the argument that it cheapens Omega’s brand or was a quick cash grab, but at the end of the day, we have a cheap and cheerful watch that we can enjoy, and that is worth protecting – no matter the reason the watch lands in the headlines.