Omega played the hypebeasts like a fiddle.
The MoonSwatch was a great idea. It was a cheap way to get into horology and it was a way to revive the fortunes of both Omega and Swatch, two companies that were quickly losing mindshare among young consumers. Don’t believe me? Swatch group revenues were in decline in 2022, down 1.79% from 2021. Between 2020 and 2021 the company saw a 34% increase in revenues, most like attributed to to rising interest in collectables thanks to COVID. But, at about $8 billion a year, the company is running above Casio and just below Rolex in terms of total value. Omega, meanwhile, sees $1.9 billion in revenue in a good year. That seems like a lot but in the luxury market that’s pennies.
When they mashed up both brands they got something that was surprisingly compelling. The colorways were cute, the design was utilitarian and fun, and, like some kind of watch nerd Pokemon Go, it forced fan to leave their apartments after the pandemic to go to the Swatch store. It was a stroke of genius.
All that changed today.
The latest MoonSwatch, the Swatch MoonSwatch Mission to the Moon with a seconds hand made of Omega’s Moonshine Gold, is the dumbest shit ever. Why? The watch features a golden seconds hand that is made of gold. And it, to top it off, the gold hand was produced on during a full moon in February.
This special seconds hand has been produced exclusively during the full moon of February, as stated in the certificate that comes with the watch. It is available for purchase in very special places in Zurich, London, Milan and Tokyo on March 7th, and in other locations during the next full moon. It is not limited and not available online. The Mission to the Moon with a special seconds hand is not going to replace the Mission to the Moon.
So it’s a special watch made during some arbitrary moment in time. It features a gold hand made at an even more arbitrary moment in time, and it’s only being sold in four places. It turns the Pokemon Go of finding a Swatch store into something more akin to hunting down John Wick.
I love the MoonSwatch. It’s a great idea. Omega knows it has a great product and it knows that the hypebeasts will spend loads of money to get their hands on one. But this is outright cruelty, a cynical ploy to reduce the entire product down to non-utilitarian ridiculousness.
The MoonSwatch shouldn’t be available everywhere. By all means, make it a retail-only experience. By all means, tweak the colors and the styles. By all means make owning one a fun little game. And by all means make the MoonSwatch a gateway to owning a real Speedmaster. But this ploy – transparent and deeply insulting – is ridiculous.
Swatch isn’t a luxury brand. This move by the Swatch Group is proof that they think it is and that, in short, is an insult to the history of the brand as accessible fast fashion. Swatch is destroying both its legacy and the MoonSwatch.
So Swatch Group: stop it. Don’t do this. It’s stupid. This move only hurts you, especially when it comes to converting the next generation of watch fans into watch lovers.