Objectively speaking, the MoonSwatch was something of a horological revolution. A few years from now, perhaps we will talk about it in the same way people talked about the Quartz Revolution decades after it happened (or Quartz Crisis, depending on how you want to look at it.) Since I was only an infant in the 1980s, I would be curious to know what people said of the first Seiko quartz model. What is a revolution or an abomination? Did watch enthusiasts flock to Seiko retail shops or went on the radio to complain about it?
I really wish I would have been around for that important period of horology.
Since the MoonSwatch was officially announced almost a year ago (March 26, 2022 to be exact,) I thought now would be a good time to look back at the release that rocked the watch world in both positive and negative ways. In this article, we will therefore look at the good things that came out from the MoonSwatch release—what it means for watch enthusiasts from both ends of the budget spectrum—as well as the not-so-good—primarily, the way it was released and hyped.
Good Things About the MoonSwatch
Although Bioceramic did not make its debut with the MoonSwatch collection—it has been around in other Swatch collections before—it is in itself an interesting material. Although the details of what it is made of exactly have never been shared before, what we know is this: it’s a mix of ceramic powder and organic materials sourced from castor oil. I know, it doesn’t say much but we do know that ceramic is a strong compound. The unique blend seems to make Bioceramic soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. (That’s what I’ve heard, not experienced.)
Being powered by an ETA quartz chronograph movement, the MoonSwatch is an easy-to-use watch that is perfect for those who are not into watches or who like to keep things simple. There is no worry of having to set the time regularly. Just grab it and go. Although Swatch does not specify which movement is inside the MoonSwatch, one can be assured that it is relatively accurate and low-maintenance, again two positive points in my book for a watch that retails below $250.
Naturally, the best thing about the MoonSwatch is the fact that it opens new doors for watch collectors and for those who couldn’t care less about watches before. Swatch and Omega managed to popularize the Swiss luxury brand by making the iconic design of the Speedmaster Moonwatch accessible to the masses. Although the quality of the two are as far apart as the sun is from us, one cannot deny how neat it is that the MoonSwatch does look like a Moonwatch. Furthermore, there are now 12 variants to choose from, so one MoonSwatch to match everybody’s preferences.
Not-so-Good Things About the MoonSwatch
What people complained the most about is the way the watch was released. Too many watch enthusiasts have been left angry by the fact, for example, that certain models from Rolex are very hard to get because they are extremely sought-after and expensive. So we naturally thought that the MoonSwatch would be readily available given its price tag and what it is made of. And Omega and Swatch watches are generally easier to get than Rolex. However, Swatch x Omega decided to make the MoonSwatch available at brick-and-mortar stores only and in specific cities around the world.
The biggest negative was that many people could not get one because they don’t live in one of the cities where the MoonSwatch is sold—and still can’t get one today. Furthermore, not making the watches available online so that, according to Swatch’s CEO Nicolas G. Hayek, we would be forced to come out of our homes after being secluded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is rather silly. Not everybody felt comfortable even in 2022 to mingle with hundreds of people to line up to get a watch, and again, many people do not live in the cities where the MoonSwatch is sporadically made available.
What came out of the release was the fact that a $250 watch was harder to get than a $10,000 Rolex Submariner and that it drove people to become the worst versions of themselves. I was in Paris during the launch and heard countless stories of people bashing the windows of the Swatch retail shops and of people getting mugged on the street in front of cops. This should have never happened and Swatch and Omega definitely did a poor job managing the release. What Mr. Hayek did not foresee is that the general sentiment one year later is that people are still angry about it.
And that is true regardless of how many MoonSwatches have been sold.
With all of that said, and again remaining objective here, the MoonSwatch is a cool watch that has helped popularize horology for many. And as the professionals say, any publicity is better than no publicity at all. And look at me, one year later I’m writing about the MoonSwatch which means that Swatch and Omega win. But will I ever buy a MoonSwatch? No. Because it’s not the type of watch I gravitate too and my opinion would not have changed should I have been able to easily purchase a MoonSwatch in a store.
Featured image: www.lepetitpoussoir.fr