A collaboration between two iconic watch brands – Swatch and Omega – was one of the biggest talking points of 2022 and led to pandemonium in shopping centres around the world, including Melbourne and Sydney.
Nearly a year later Omega CEO Raynald Aeschliman has now conceded that much of the hysteria surrounding the launch could’ve been avoided.
“From the beginning I was not sure about the huge success. It would be too arrogant for me to say we knew it. The production might have been much bigger,” he told Esquire UK.
“But we’re back to the customer-centricity. I was sure that customers would be very sensitive about every single detail. We would do the watch the Swatch way, but with every single detail – up to the case back, the way we hid the battery – that goes back to what we do [with the Speedmaster].”
The Omega x Swatch Speedmaster Bioceramic MoonSwatch collection features 11 models, one for each planetary figure within our Solar System, as well as additional models representing the Moon and Sun.
The collection launched globally on 26 March and ahead of the US and European markets, Australian enthusiasts were among the first to get their hands on the new release.
In Melbourne, shoppers formed lines within the Chadstone Shopping Centre the day prior to the launch. A similar scene unfolded at the Pitt Street Boutique in Sydney.
Police officers monitored crowds in Australia without incident, however in Singapore, one man was involved in an altercation which drew public complaint from law enforcement officials and in the US, one person was hospitalised during the unrest.
Much of the hype generated by the MoonSwatch collection was due to the pricing, set at just $AU380 – a fraction of the cost of the iconic Speedmaster ($AU7600) after which it was designed.
Aeschliman believes that the frenzy around the release of the MoonSwatch collection was evidence that the product was not merely a ‘collaboration’ and that it was valuable in its own right.
“And to put it at a price level that is unique is very democratic,” he added.
“It’s the strengthening of two brands, without having any shadow side. It’s a new way of showing Speedmaster to a generation in a different way. And that was its success.”
Supply was far exceeded by demand and at the launch in New York City a crowd of more than 2000 shoppers was told that the Fifth Avenue store had just 150 units available.
Market researchers Morgan Stanley estimated that the MoonSwatch collection could provide $US128 million in top-line revenue in the first year alone.
Police presence was required to man the line at Chadstone in Melbourne that
spanned hundreds of meters and began building at 6pm the previous day.
A local Melbournian vlogged the launch from 3:28am on the eve of the MoonSwatch launch at Chadstone.
Time+Tide Watches chronicles the madness of the launch at the Swatch boutique in Geneva, Switzerland.