Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch

Microbrands often proclaim that their purpose for being is to disrupt the status quo.  Usurp the rulers.  Offer collectors viable alternatives.  Give us a viable Nautilus 5711 alternative for $99.99.  Which is why no one expected Swatch to conduct an absolute masterclass in industry disruption with the MoonSwatch.  Let’s take a closer look at Biel’s little watch that could.

Photography by Ronald Chew

by The Balance Coq

  • October 10, 2023

For years now, new watch brands – usually untested and reeking of hubris – would lay claim to be the ones destined to disrupt the watch industry, with their derivative Submariner-adjacent diver designs, no less.  How sweet is the irony when the biggest disruption since the Quartz Crisis came from one of the largest watch groups in the world.  No one (not even Swatch CEO Nick Hayek Jr. himself) could have predicted the horological zeitgeist the MoonSwatch would become in the span of just a few months into the year 2022.

The premise of Hayek’s ingenious plan is simple and outrageous.  Year on year, brands try to outgun each other with new movements, complications, collaborations, and technical achievements, in a bid to grow market share and acquire new younger buyers.  Well, on 26 March 2022, Hayek tore up that playbook with the MoonSwatch collection.  Instead of going bigger and brighter, he went cheaper and downstream.  The original idea behind BioCeramic – as a watch-case material – was to allow Omega owners to have facsimiles to wear while their Omegas are getting the appropriate attention at the service centres.  Swatch cannonballed the Omega brand well into mainstream consciousness with just a slight pivot on that original strategy.

As with every other hobby interest unhealthy obsession, there are detractors of the MoonSwatch.  These self-appointed Omega simps rage (note the use of present tense) in forums, and in the comment section of watch-focused Instagram accounts about plastic watches devaluing the Omega halo product, and the brand itself.   The bile is palpable; if one doesn’t know any better, one would think these are comments from major Swatch shareholders, or sitting board members, staring at the possibility of some imagined declining fortunes.  And yet, facts and figures paint a very different picture.

In a year where the Omega Speedmaster Professional line had no significant anniversary to celebrate by way of (yet another) limited edition model, Swatch broke from their financial reporting norms of not going into performance of individual brands in their stable.  Curiously specific, the watch conglomerate pointed out that “In the wake of the MoonSwatch hype, the entire Omega Speedmaster collection, for example, the Moonwatch models, also profited from greatly increased interest.”   Swatch also pointed out that they sold over a million MoonSwatches in 2022.  Now, what makes this all the more significant is that the MoonSwatch has not been offered online (as originally promised) anywhere in the countries Swatch operates in.  To get one, you have to have to commit the old-fashioned way – queue.

The MoonSwatch may measure 42mm in diameter but figures much larger than its dimensions.  It is many things, to many people.  To someone who loves the Moonwatch, the MoonSwatch is a playful take on a serious heritage watch and should be viewed as nothing more than that.   There are more sober colours for those who do not want to stray too much from the original, and there are the more playful colours for those looking to express themselves.  To those who have never really taken to “serious” watches, the MoonSwatch is that gateway drug, shepherding them away from mall watches and other horological flotsam and hopefully into something with “Swiss Made” on the dial.  To Swatch, it is what is needed to get the uninitiated through the doors of Omega boutiques, and other Swatch-brand boutiques.  The same crowd that sees smart watches as the only wrist accessory they will ever need.

The MoonSwatch is affordable at any scale, but especially when compared to an Apple Watch, with its planned obsolescence and daily charging (with real world use).  And to other watch brands, it is a sign that Hayek is at least as savvy as his father; and that they should probably visit Biel and propose collaboration ideas.  Only time will tell if the CEO sees any proposals that will pique his interest.

Can you just imagine the queues for a Bioceramic Nautilus 5711?

Specifications

BrandSwatch
ModelMoonswatch
ReferenceSO33J100 (Sun), SO33A100 (Mercury), SO33P100 (Venus), SO33G100 (Earth), SO33M100 (Moon), SO33R100 (Mars), SO33C100 (Jupiter), SO33T100 (Saturn), SO33L100 (Uranus), SO33N100 (Neptune), SO33M101 (Pluto)
Case MaterialProprietary BioCeramic
Case Width42mm
Case Height13.25mm
Lug-to-Lug47.2mm
Lug Width20mm
MovementQuartz
Production Your guess is as good as the Swatch brand managers’
WearsTrue to size

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