Opinion: I'm Still In Love With My MoonSwatch, Even After All The Chaos
When the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch first launched around a year ago, I was smitten by the idea of getting a £210 or so lookalike to one of my very favourite watches of all time.
The original Speedmaster Moonwatch's story is well-told, so I needn't expand further than saying it was the first watch worn on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the infamous Apollo 11 mission from 1969. Needless to say, it very quickly became an icon in both horological and non-horological circles, where it has remained as one ever since. By contrast, the MoonSwatch has been dismissed by many as a toy; a clever marketing campaign alongside a sub-par product.
Sure, it's got issues. The Bioceramic case doesn't exactly scream that it belongs on a £210 homage to a watch that's well into the thousands in terms of price now, considering it weighs just 32g. The strap makes it a bit of an uncomfortable fit for people to the extent that most people replace them. Moreover, the pushers next to the crown can break, and when you find out they're non-replaceable, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a product backed by one of the largest conglomerate watch groups in the world with two of the most iconic brands' names on the watch's dial.
To go along with this, Swatch handled the launch of the MoonSwatch awfully. Long queues at boutiques where people were met with very little to no stock, and when people did get their hands on them, they were met with people immediately wanting to buy the watch off them for a fortune. There was hope that the MoonSwatch, in all its forms, would be released online. A few days after launch, Swatch came out from behind the queues, hype, and insane secondary prices, and stated that they wouldn't be sold online, but that they were working hard to get more stock, reassuring consumers that the watches were not a limited release.
Just over a year on however, that's still the case, and although prices on the secondary market have settled to being mostly a small tad above retail, it's still not easy to get one. I feel insanely lucky I've got a handful of the most sought-after models sat here at home. The Mission to Jupiter came first, then an Earth and Mars, swiftly followed by a Pluto, Mercury, and my beloved Mission to the Moon that I had wanted for the best part of a year. I sit and alternate between them when I go out most days, and I can't help but continuously look down at my wrist to realise I've got a MoonSwatch on my wrist.
For the people complaining about the poor finishing and the QC issues on them, I hear you, and for some parts of it, I agree. Swatch should have opted for a sapphire crystal to prevent the numerous scratches I've seen other MoonSwatch owners getting, which is why MoonSwatch crystal protectors are now a thing. Moreover, the chronograph pushers should be replaceable, that's a definite. However, even despite these issues, I'm still smitten by the MoonSwatch because there's something here that money can't buy - the feeling of having such an iconic watch on your wrist. It might not be the real thing but for those of us who can't afford the real thing easily, and don't want to dive into the problematic issue of fake watches, then it's the best thing since sliced bread.
The MoonSwatch was an exercise in insane marketing that numerous people, myself shamelessly included, bought into. Omega and Swatch are already two iconic watch brands for completely different reasons, and bringing them together created an altogether different beast. However, even if it hasn't all been plain sailing, not just from the stock issues, fights outside the store and everything else, it remains an important watch for a different reason than the original Moonwatch. The Moonwatch is the watch that went to space, the MoonSwatch is the watch that kickstarted a new generation of watch collectors.
That might be a big claim, but it's one I'm willing to back wholeheartedly. When I got mine, it sent me down a rabbit hole of learning about watches and taking in as much information as I could about different complications, movements and all the rest of it. I've been sent down the road towards microbrands such as Christopher Ward with their gorgeous C1 Moonglow and the likes of Behrens' Constell. You can probably see a bit of a theme emerging here with the watches I'm beginning to like. Even if there is a theme emerging however, the MoonSwatch kickstarted all of that, and for a lot of other people, it's been much the same story.
The watch world has been a different place since the launch of the MoonSwatch, and I'm happy to sit here and say I'm still smitten and wholly in love with mine. I might not be wearing them just as often now, having taken recent delivery of a new Swatch Great Wave and going back to my trusty Hamilton Ventura for an odder aesthetic, but they remain a focal point of my fledgling watch collection.
No watch has been so divisive as the MoonSwatch in the watch world in recent times, but I'm going to stick by it. To be honest, I think you should, too.
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