What happens when you cross a famed luxury timepiece with an equally popular yet significantly lower-priced fashion icon watch? You get a piece of marketing perfection, as well as a pretty nifty example of Swiss timekeeping prowess.
Introducing the MoonSwatch, a pairing of the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, or “Moonwatch,” and the fun and always creative Swatch watch.
Consumers love a good collaboration – think peanut butter and chocolate, Doritos and Taco Bell, Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart. Watch repair enthusiasts and collectors are no different. Over the years, we have enjoyed some great collaborative timepieces, including Tag Heuer and Porsche’s Carerra, Audemars Piguet and Marvel’s Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon, and Casio G-Shock and HondaJet’s Gravitymaster.
Watch brands usually partner with companies and individuals outside the watch industry, such as artists, video game creators, movie makers, airlines, and luxury car companies. The MoonSwatch differs from these standard pairings in that it’s the first of its kind between two major watch brands, Swatch and Omega. And while both brands belong to the Swatch Group, they lie at almost opposite ends of the consumer target spectrum, making this alliance an unlikely one. It’s perhaps the ultimate case of opposites attracting.
NASA and Omega: The OG Collaboration
Omega’s connection to all things space began in 1962 when astronaut Walter Shirra brought his personal Omega Speedmaster into space on the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. Three years later, NASA decided it needed to have a standard watch for all crewed space missions. After putting several watches through rigorous testing, the Speedmaster emerged as the only timepiece to stand up to the space agency’s intense requirements. And in 1969, Buzz Aldrin’s historic walk on the lunar surface with his Omega made it the first watch to land on the Moon. Hence, its titular nickname, “Moonwatch.”
Today, even though the space agency works with several other watchmakers, the only watch approved for EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) space missions remains the Omega Speedmaster Professional.
Not Another ‘Knock-Off’
The MoonSwatch represents an ingenious marketing strategy. It offers a spiced-up replica of the Speedmaster Moonwatch to the mass market while simultaneously increasing interest in the considerably more expensive original. However, rather than merely echoing the Omega starlet, the MoonSwatch also finds its voice as a unique and fascinating collector’s item.
And collectors and consumers alike have sat up and taken notice. Swatch Group marketers sorely underestimated the demand for the $260 bit of planetary wristwear, and the MoonSwatch collection completely sold out in worldwide stores shortly after its March 26th launch.
Although the company assured consumers the MoonSwatch is not a limited edition item and will soon be available for online purchase, that hasn’t stopped the auction sites from going crazy. People who want the watch now continue to pay hundreds of dollars over retail, further validating the tremendous success of this unique collaboration.
A Celestial Collection
Like its cousin, the Swatch, the MoonSwatch comes equipped with a battery-operated quartz movement. Our Swatch repair technicians welcome the new case material, though. Instead of using plastic, watchmakers formed the case in bioceramic, a mixture of ceramic and bio-sourced plastic. In the immortal words of Neil Armstrong, this bold move toward sustainability represents “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The MoonSwatch comes in 11 different colors, each one representing a different planetary body:
Mission to the Sun (white strap, gold yellow dial and case)
Mission to Earth (navy blue strap, navy blue dial, light green case)
Mission to Mercury (metallic gray strap, gray dial and case)
Mission to Venus (white strap, white dial, light pink case)
Mission to Neptune (black strap, navy blue dial, light blue case)
Mission to Mars (white strap, white dial, red case)
Mission to Saturn (dark brown strap, light brown dial and case)
Mission to Uranus (white strap, light blue dial, light blue case)
Mission to the Moon (black strap, black dial, light gray case)
Mission to Jupiter (black strap, beige dial and case)
Mission to Pluto (dark gray strap, white and burgundy dial, light gray case)
The 42mm case, watch hands, chronograph seconds dial (albeit in a different position on the face), and tachymeter scale all reflect the design of the original Speedmaster. Omega watch repair experts also note that the MoonSwatch features the iconic “dot over 90” and the Speedmaster logo.
New in the design is the inclusion of the MoonSwatch logo on the right side of the face, the Omega X Swatch trademark at 12 o’clock, 60-minute and 1/10th seconds subdials, and a somewhat hidden engraved ‘S’ on the crystal at the center of the dial. The battery cover has a picture of the model’s planet, and five phrases are engraved on the outer edge of the case back: Dream Big. Fly Higher. Explore the Universe. Reach for the Planets. Enjoy the Mission.
The MoonSwatch sports a strong Velcro strap, quite reminiscent of the one NASA used to keep the Omega Speedmaster securely attached to their astronauts while in space. And even though you won’t have the same zero-gravity issues to contend with here on Earth, this strap should keep your MoonSwatch firmly on your wrist for many years to come.
We have seen a lot of timepieces in the watch repair business, but the MoonSwatch has quickly become one of our favorites. While it stands out as a superb piece of Swiss craftsmanship, it also inspires one to dream.
“I know the sky is not the limit because there are footprints on the moon – and I made some of them!” – Buzz Aldrin.