In a year already stacked with outrageous watch releases, no one could have anticipated an AUD$380 timepiece stealing the show. However, on the cusp of Watches & Wonders, the world’s premier horological event, that’s exactly what happened. The long-heralded collaboration between luxury watch brand OMEGA and perennial fan favourite Swatch stormed into stores over the weekend, causing chaotic scenes not just in Australia, but all over the world.
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In Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne‘s culture and fashion destination, queues were forming well before the Swatch store was set to open. As the clock struck closer to 9am, crowds were at fever pitch, jostling for position and a chance to spy a look at the remarkable new lineup. In Sydney, it was a similar story. The Pitt Street boutique was flooded with watch fans, eager to snag a bargain Speedmaster before the limited allocation was exhausted – a feat easier said than done. So, what’s all the hubbub about?
At its heart, the new OMEGA x Swatch Speedmaster BIOCERAMIC MoonSwatch collection is a bold play at one of the most iconic timepieces ever released by the Swiss legend. Referencing the original mechanical OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch inspired by NASA‘s Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, the collection comprises 11 Swatches, each representing a different planetary figure. From Mercury and Jupiter to the Sun and of course, the lunar body itself, the Swatch pieces bare a striking and bold resemblance to their OMEGA counterparts, albeit with one major difference – the price point.
Priced at just USD$260 (AUD$380), the OMEGA x Swatch Speedmaster BIOCERAMIC MoonSwatch collection offered a rare opportunity to score an (almost) Speedmaster for a fraction of the price. For reference, the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Chronograph 42mm goes for around AUD$7,600, marking the $380 release as a truly enticing premise.
For watch fans, it’s little wonder the release is gaining so much traction. The groundbreaking collaboration marks a welcomed departure from OMEGA’s traditionally restrictive price point, while also adding Swatch’s robust credentials to the mix. For years, the Moonwatch has remained one of the best-loved OMEGA releases, thanks in part to its cultural and historical significance, but also the incredible precision and stunning finishes. The Swatch quartz variation might not boast the same performance specifications, but it delivers good looks in spades.
Crafted from Swatch’s patented BIOCERAMIC, a mixture of two-thirds ceramic, complemented by a material derived from castor oil, the unique result makes for an interesting addition. Sustainable by nature and beautiful by design, the new OMEGA x Swatch Speedmasters capture the original’s ethos, albeit targeted to a slightly different market.
With a more palatable price point, the People’s Speedmaster has gained crossover appeal with different generations. Older watch fans who appreciate the original Moonwatch can revel in the new iteration, while those younger fans who may not traditionally have the funds to afford the iconic timepiece can finally get their hands on one, if they are quick enough.
Swatch has already confirmed that the MoonSwatch is not a limited edition release, with restocks expected to come later this year, however, that hasn’t stopped inflation from taking effect. Scalpers have been quick to move, already flogging the coveted release for more than 10 times its original price. Listings on eBay show the MoonSwatch going for as much as $4,500, proving that while affordability is a virtue, people will always find a way to ruin it.