In Hindsight: The Omega X SWATCH MoonSwatch

Oftentimes in life we gain a healthy portion of perspective when we take the time to look back on decisions past. Not to second guess, but to reflect and evaluate, and if needed, update our biases and opinions. This is especially the case with watches that come into and out of (and sometimes back into) the fold of our collection or admiration. It’s particularly interesting to look back at what some consider hype watches, and ponder them outside the cloud of the masses. Shortly after the launch of the Omega X SWATCH collaboration, the MoonSwatch, we had a feeling that this would be one of those watches worth coming back to. 

Indeed, the drama around this launch may have faded, however it’s just beginning to carve out its own space in collector and enthusiast circles on its own merits. The watch never did end up being offered online officially, and it’s still a tricky one to land, but thankfully, second hand prices have settled into retail or near retail territory, limited instead by their availability at scale. We reviewed the watch, both in full form from Zach Weiss, and from an owner’s perspective alongside a steel Speedmaster Professional, and now, we’re asking members of our editorial team if the watch has left any form of a lasting impression, all these months later.


Zach Weiss

I really want to love the MoonSwatch. I want it to be this moment where snobiness and elitism in the watch industry (from both brands and collectors) got confronted, manifest in a fun, plastic form. I want to be wearing the MoonSwatch proudly, and perhaps, with a touch of defiance. As you can see/read in my review, I certainly was quite smitten with it at first. But, sadly, the situation has changed.

The continued lack of in-store availability, mixed with a decision for, at least the time being, to not sell online has turned what should be accessibility incarnate, into another kind of exclusivity. They exist for those willing to pay more, and those with quick access to Swatch boutiques who can stop by and check in with ease. That leaves a large population of people who might have wanted one incapable of getting one. And that just isn’t what the MoonSwatch should be about.

Admittedly, Swatch has created a roadshow of sorts to bring the watches to the people, so to speak, but that clearly depends on one’s awareness of the brand’s activities to work, and they can’t get everywhere, so it still will leave out plenty of people. Until they make them available on-line and from Swatch retailers at large, the MoonSwatch won’t reach its true potential.

As for the watch, well, it’s not on my wrist as often, but I still think it’s a lot of fun. A nice, lightweight quartz chrono that’s great on a nylon strap on a hot summer’s day. They wear well and look even better, giving you a quirky twist on the Speedmaster. I think once and if the MoonSwatch is easily accessible, and the fog of the launch and this past year has dissipated, I will enjoy it more again.

Zach Kazan

The MoonSwatch is almost certainly the most talked about and controversial watch release of the year. There are people in my life who are not into watches that are conversant in all things MoonSwatch, and by the same token, it’s the one watch that just about every hardcore enthusiast has an opinion on. For me, months after the watch’s release, I find that I have views on it that feel somewhat in opposition to one another. The MoonSwatch did something great for the community, but it led to something not nearly as desirable. And the watch itself? A mixed bag, in my opinion. 

To state the obvious, I’ve never seen anything quite like the hysteria upon the release of the MoonSwatch. Maybe there are comparable drops in the sneaker world, or video games, or, I don’t know, Harry Potter novels, but the kind of line-around-the-block, up all night atmosphere outside Swatch stores all over the world is absolutely unprecedented in watches, and it sent a jolt through the industry that was needed and welcome. It’s a fundamentally good thing for our community when a new watch has such obvious crossover appeal. It creates new enthusiasts and builds a head of steam that will hopefully lead to more fun products and releases down the road, and it’s nice that it gives us all something to talk about, too. 

But almost as quickly as SWATCH unfurled the MoonSwatch and so much goodwill upon us, things seemed to go south. Promised restocks came slowly, online sales didn’t come at all, and, worst of all in my opinion, we saw a vibrant and borderline predatory reseller’s market for MoonSwatches develop on the forums and popular second hand sources. I’m generally fine with the market dictating the price of a watch based on demand, even if that means a selling price that sits somewhere north of the MSRP, but it was disconcerting to see watches that are ostensibly mass produced out of plastic and meant to bring new people into the hobby selling for several multiples over retail. It’s a very different thing than a purely luxury object selling for more than its original retail price. It shut a lot of people out of the fun. 

So, the culture around the MoonSwatch was mostly unfortunate for much of the year. But how about the watch itself? In my opinion, it’s exactly fine. While I almost certainly could have been cajoled into buying one for myself in the heat of the moment on launch weekend if they had been a little more available, having handled almost every variant of the MoonSwatch to this point, I can’t help but take a “That’s what all the full was about?” posture. While SWATCH likes to tout the Bio-Ceramic material used in the case, to me it just feels like run of the mill plastic, and reports of pushers breaking off and unfortunate dye transfer experiences from some users are a reminder that for around $300, you probably aren’t buying an heirloom. And that probably would be fine if these watches were readily available, but their continued “hype watch” status magnifies their shortcomings in a particularly unflattering light.

Blake Buettner

I try not to pay attention to the hype around products, and that certainly includes watches. If I like something for my own reasons, and it happens to be hype, so be it. That’s what I tell myself, at least. I have conviction in what I like and don’t like, but that is, like many things, subject to change. I prefer to keep a scout-like mindset, constantly updating my reasoning and thinking with the latest available data and more accurate information. The MoonSwatch was a few things for me, and my reasons for nabbing one had little to do with my impressions of the watch itself, but much more to do with the message that was being sent. 

I detailed my feelings on the design of the watch in my Owner’s Review, and I largely stand by those impressions. The dial layout isn’t exactly to my liking, and while It’s big on personality and charm, it’s a bit shy on quality, which is reflected in its price. I was more impressed with the concept of Omega bringing a high end luxury watch to the masses via SWATCH and their BioCeramic material. I was, and still am, eager to welcome a new cadre of Speedmaster enthusiasts to the Speedy family. 

Of course, things didn’t pan out so smoothly. The mere existence of the watch brought out some of the less flattering attitudes around this hobby, and this was compounded by the limited availability and subsequent flipping at way above retail pricing. I was initially optimistic that we’d see these watches listed for sale online directly from SWATCH, and all who wanted one would have access at retail. That never happened, unfortunately, and to this day the watch is still a rare find at select physical retailers. 

As to the watch itself, well, it gets little in the way of wrist time. Rather, it’s sat atop a container on my desk, where I see it everyday and show anyone curious to go hands-on with it. I still don’t love the layout, and I’m still not overly impressed with its build quality. I still subscribe to the idea of its creation, but seeing the fallout of its release unfold over the course of the year has taken more than a bit of the shine off of what was supposed to be something fun.

Ed Jelley

I’ll admit it, I do tend to get caught up in the hype around product launches. I won’t get caught up in things that I’m clearly not interested in, but there is something fun and exciting about a new launch that’s right up your alley – planet-themed Speedmasters in fun colors with an affordable price tag? Sign me up! Oh, and even better that you can buy them online! But then things kind of changed for me. No online availability, flippers galore, and people being downright terrible to each other in order to get their hands on this Omega that’s got the street price of a Swatch. In retrospect, I don’t think any of this played out quite like how Swatch and Omega wanted it to and it ended up leaving a sour taste in my mouth for a few reasons.

They had way too few watches and selling an item under a luxury brand umbrella brought out some of the worst attitudes from flippers. But like with most products, the hype fades and so does interest. I wanted to get my hands on a Moonswatch pretty badly at first, but as time went on, they just kind of faded into the background. Flipper prices for watches with the quality that can’t back them up definitely helped. Reviews came out where the quality of the watches were not the best (I didn’t expect a Swatch-made Omega to be on par with my Moonwatch), and the gimmick kind of wore off. As the excitement wore off, the realization that it would probably sit idle in my watch box with its battery slowly draining, akin to the slow death of the Voyager Spacecraft that continues to travel further and further outside of our solar system with no chance of being useful again in the future. 

It’s clear that Swatch and Omega want the MoonSwatch hype to continue, because instead of taking the past several months to shift production to bump up stock numbers and get these things in store, they’ve created a literal hype train (okay, it’s a fleet of cars, but still). Swatch’s newest marketing idea is to paint up a couple of cute Fiats like the planets, and sell watches out of the back of these cars in a traveling roadshow of sorts. It’s disappointing to see a watch that was supposed to be the best way for the casual enthusiast to get into the world of Omega and the iconic Speedmaster in an affordable and available way turn into a case study about product hype and marketing. Was the Moonswatch truly for the people, or are we just witnessing a marketing experiment in real time? There’s no denying that the MoonSwatch is still fun and whimsical, it’s just everything else around it that’s not.

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