The Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Six Months On — Is The Hype Still Alive?
It has now been six months since the launch of one of the year’s most talked about watches. The Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch sent shockwaves through the watch community after its announcement on the 24th of March. We all witnessed the phenomenon of people queueing overnight for the launch, hoping to get their hands on one. I witnessed this with my own eyes at the Rotterdam boutique, where hundreds of hopeful punters claimed a spot in the line. The hype was real. And its grip on the watch community (as well as a fraction of streetwear enthusiasts) did not loosen for quite some time. But half a year later, we ask ourselves: has the hype truly died down? In a world of lightning-fast trends, has the MoonSwatch been left in the rear-view mirror? Or is it still as present as it was at the start?
We’ve been in touch with our local Swatch boutiques and keep an eye on not-so-local ones on our travels to try and answer those questions today. Before we look at where we stand today, it’s worth looking back at where it started. After the initial surge, limited availability led to only a handful of people coming away with a MoonSwatch. This was followed by a surge of gray-market resellers looking to make a profit. A lack of online availability and limited stock in-store saw tensions flare, and people lost their patience. Critical voices argued (without proof) that Swatch was limiting supply on purpose to stoke the embers of hype. In the end, it seemed more of a matter of supply and demand, where demand was (and continues to be) high while supply continued to catch up slowly.
A horological phenomenon unlike any other
In recent times, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing people gather in large crowds for certain releases. Perhaps it’s the new iPhone, maybe an exclusive sneaker drop, or even a recurring sales event like Black Friday. People seem to love coming together and sharing in the excitement of a new product launch. However, it was hard to imagine that this kind of thing would jump across from the world of technology and fashion into that of horology. From a young perspective, it can seem like a stuffy old place full of older gentlemen listing off references and ranting about how much cheaper watches used to be “back in the day.” So how did such horology jump onto the radar of the young and hip? I suppose all it took was the right brand, a new concept, and a little bit of luck.
Don’t get me wrong; a lot of the time, some of the most fascinating and intelligent exchanges take place in rooms full of stuffy old people. And there are worse things to do in life than to become a wise old man (or woman) slowly. But let’s face it, other than for some minor overlap, the watch-enthusiast audience and the Hypebeast crowd don’t tend to align too much. Not at first glance, anyway. Looking closer, perhaps we can see that below a seemingly superficial and materialistic quest for the latest and greatest lies roots set in the detail-oriented appreciation for fine craftsmanship, clever design, and the history of both. Maybe these two crowds are not as different as one might think. Therefore, seeing masses of young people lining up for a watch in 2022 makes perfect sense. It just had to be the right one.
Is the Speedmaster MoonSwatch hype still alive?
I think the short answer here is a resounding “yes!” Sure, maybe it’s not at the same white-hot levels as it was in March of this year. But I’ve gathered some evidence that shows that it’s still alive and well. For instance, the picture you see above. Taken on the 21st of September 2022, it shows the line found outside the London Swatch boutique on a Wednesday afternoon. I hate to speculate, but it’s hard to imagine that this line is any shorter come the weekend. I think those of you familiar with London will definitely agree. These recurring queues show that, regardless of people’s skepticism and vocal critique of the limited availability, some are still willing to wait in line for a chance to get a MoonSwatch.
But lines are commonplace everywhere. For example, at the Rotterdam boutique, there aren’t lines very often. Nevertheless, demand remains high. Our ever-dedicated social media manager Sinara often pops in to check on the current situation and reports back at Fratello HQ. The latest we’ve heard is that there is a board inside showing those currently available. This is regularly updated, with usually only 2–3 different MoonSwatch models in stock at any given time. Having checked in several days in a row, Sinara let me know that models like the Sun and Pluto would often quickly sell out, whereas Venus was slightly less popular and might still be around for a couple of days. But the daily change in availability shows that the store regularly sells out its limited stock.
What’s next for the MoonSwatch?
Now we’ve seen two cases that clearly show that the demand remains. Perhaps the novelty has now worn off. Seeing a MoonSwatch on somebody’s wrist is certainly not common, but it doesn’t cause the same excitement as it did earlier this year. Having seen a handful at this week’s #SpeedyTuesday event and unveiling of the X-33 Marstimer at ESA, the over-the-top reaction I described having experienced at Watches And Wonders earlier this year just wasn’t there. That said, people still enjoy the MoonSwatch for what it is — a fun watch with a modest price, appealing to the unknowing watch buyer and nerdy collectors alike. But all of this makes me wonder: what’s next for the MoonSwatch?
I suppose a logical step would be to make them available online. We’ve seen Swatch employees make the rounds in their modified MoonSwatch-mobiles. But operating as mobile sales points is still not a huge step forward (have you seen the trunk capacity of a Fiat 500?). However, selling the MoonSwatch on the Swatch website would certainly make many people happy. That said, I understand why Swatch would want to keep it a boutique exclusive. It just adds to the experience. Sure, it’s wildly inconvenient for many people, but it also makes it that much more special when you do finally manage to get one. And if you really want one, you can always pay the €50 gray-market premium and be done with it. I put it to you: what would you like to see next for the MoonSwatch?
How to buy a MoonSwatch — A word of advice
In the subtitle of this article, I promised to offer some advice on buying a MoonSwatch. I don’t know if I’m the best person to do so as I don’t actually own one. But I know many who either own one or have recently bought one. Now, I’m not here to tell you to get a friend to go to the Dubai Mall boutique on Thursday morning and have them ship them to you. Though that very well may work, I really think that this kind of effort simply isn’t worth it. My first word of advice is this: you don’t actually need a MoonSwatch. I know that desire and necessity can sometimes seem one and the same. But I’m here to tell you that you should embrace a very casual long-term hunt. Ignore the voice of FOMO in your head, and just wait it out.
This is what I’m doing. Do I want a MoonSwatch? Sure. Am I willing to stress out over getting my hands on one? Absolutely not. I’m just biding my time, waiting for the chance to present itself. Then, when a situation arises when I can easily get the one I want (Jupiter, by the way) I’ll whip out my debit card and go do the deed. That said, if you want to expedite your hunt, maybe just go down to the local Swatch boutique. Strike up a conversation with an employee and ask them the best way to get one. A lot of the time, it seems that they avoid selling to those looking for a quick gray-market sale and looking for genuine buyers to turn up. And the only way for Swatch employees to know is for you to talk to them. Simple, right?
Even six months on, the phenomenon that is the Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch continues to draw crowds. Sure, the heat has died down a little bit since the explosive launch, but the hype certainly lives on. Today I gave you a couple of examples, for London and Rotterdam, of how people’s desire for these Bioceramic watches manifests. But I have also asked friends in Madrid and others in Amsterdam about the local MoonSwatch situation. And though there were no other reports of great lines, the story was always one of low to no stock. This seems to indicate that they continue to fly off the shelves. And though numbers are limited (making the selling out of all stock somewhat less surprising), people certainly have not forgotten.
Now I pass the word on to you. What’s your latest experience with the MoonSwatch? Did you manage to get one? If so, did it live up to expectations? Have you had one since the start? If so, how has it held up? And finally, what has it been like at your local Swatch boutique? Business as usual, or lines of MoonSwatch-hungry fans? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Remember also to share your thoughts on what you’d like to see from Swatch/the MoonSwatch going forward.