OMEGA x Swatch MoonSwatch was Genius Marketing

By Patrick Fassler •  Updated: 09/05/22 •  12 min read

What We’ll Cover

Origins of OMEGA and Swatch Group

OMEGA has been part of Swatch Group since the origin of the company. In 1930, watchmakers Tissot and OMEGA came together to form SSIH. Later on, in 1983, SSIH and ASUAG formed to create Swatch Group. It’s no surprise that we’ve seen some fantastic creations come from two of the most recognized brands in the world. Recently, though, we were taken by storm with the OMEGA X Swatch Collab: MoonSwatch.

The MoonSwatch has stirred up emotions on all sides of the community. From purists believing that it devalues the OMEGA Speedmaster image to others loving the idea of an entry-level quartz collab. It’s safe to say that the MoonSwatch is the most polarizing piece of 2022. However, it’s often overlooked just how impressive of an effort this was for the brands. I believe this collab adds a significant amount of value.

The MoonSwatch Collaboration

Swatch X OMEGA MoonSwatch with a Genuine OMEGA Speedmaster

Most of the time, a watch collaboration with two companies leaves us all feeling a bit underwhelmed. We’ve seen them a million times over. It’s the parts of a watch that are already being made with maybe some new small details.

The OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond Limited Edition, for example, is a fantastic example of what OMEGA are capable of with collaborations. However, I know underneath it is just another Seamaster meant to do the exact same as the rest. The “quirks” of the collab all lie within the marketing and details.

The presentation box on the James Bond Edition is a work of art compared to the standard Seamaster. It’s a fun showpiece that stands out from the crowd. Even the caseback features a famous Bond tagline. However, at every point with the watch, I’ve always understood that it is a Seamaster with text and a nice box.

Unlike the OMEGA Swatch MoonSwatch collab, it isn’t trying to be more than what it really is underneath.

The Controversies of the OMEGA x Swatch MoonSwatch

With the OMEGA X Swatch MoonSwatch, things are a bit different. If you were to see this watch from any other brand, you would think it is a cheap, blatant rip-off of an iconic watch. Let’s be fair. It’s a quartz watch that feels much cheaper than the retail price. Where’s the special attention to detail we expect?

OMEGA Purists are Angry About MoonSwatch

OMEGA Speedmaster Schumacher Edition Yellow

It’s one thing to pay respect to an icon. It’s a completely different story, though, when you take that iconic design and cheapen it. And its even worse than that when you cheapen your own design. It leaves the market in an odd state of confusion.

There are endless options on website like Amazon where someone can buy a look-a-like Speedy. In fact, some might be better quality with an automatic movement. With that, it’s easy to see why purists are upset.

However, to play the other side of the argument, what should we have expected? If OMEGA and Swatch were going to create a MoonSwatch no matter what, would it actually be better if they used the same material, movement, and design as the real Speedmaster? I don’t think so, especially if their plan was to present it to the market at a lower price.

The reason the MoonSwatch is cheap is because it’s a cheap watch. Had it been an exact copy of the Speedmaster with the same quality at a lower price, then I could see it devaluing the brand. However, watch collectors know the difference in a $5,000 watch and a $250 watch. Nobody actually thinks the Speedmaster is worth less now…

Disappointing Quality

Unfortunately, as much as I personally love the MoonSwatch, I must admit the quality is disappointing even for the price. There are hundreds of watches, including ones with mechanical movements, that are priced similarly.

Swatch X OMEGA Speedmaster MoonSwatch Quality Issues

Being that this isn’t the first or even sixth watch in my collection, I can look past the quality concerns. I understood what the piece is from the start. Sadly, it’s not a piece I could recommend someone for their “starter” watch. The quality is not up to what it should be for the price, even though it is gaining a lot of interest from new enthusiasts.

Even looking at my particular Mission to Mars MoonSwatch, I notice a few issues. Not only does the watch feel much cheaper than it should, it almost reminds me of a notorious electric car manufacturer. While the intention to build something great at a reasonable price is apparent, quality concerns leave me questioning things.

Frankly, I expect a lot from Swatch Group. I’m a big fan of a lot of their collaboration pieces, including my ²Q James Bond watch. This is another quartz movement watch that was meant to be fun, quirky, and a piece that pays respect to an iconic brand. However, it’s built much better than the MoonSwatch.

The sad news is, every time I look at my Mission to Mars OMEGA X Swatch MoonSwatch, I notice one very annoying issue. The chrono second-hand does not line up with the 12 o’clock position on the dial. To make matters worse, the 12 o’clock position on the dial doesn’t line up with the ’60’ second marker on the bezel.

Unfortunately, though, the controversy doesn’t end there.

MoonSwatch Pricing – Retail vs Grey Market

On top of the questionable build quality, Swatch has been getting a fair amount of criticism regarding availability. Look, we all know the basics of supply and demand, and it’s been no different here.

With a “limited” supply of watches being available in stores, buyers have gone online to find deals. However, much like a new Rolex, somehow demand was so high that buyers were paying 3-to-4 times retail. It just doesn’t make sense.

For a watch to be made as “cost effectively” as the MoonSwatch, creating enough supply should be within reason. However, crowds of people have stormed Swatch stores worldwide for the chance to get one at retail price. Why? To resell it online for more.

The retail price on the OMEGA X Swatch MoonSwatch is around $260 USD. However, they’ve consistently sold second-hand on the grey market for $700+ USD.

Swatch MoonSwatch Resell Pricing - Chrono24
Mission to Mars Pricing on Chrono24 (24 June 2022)

Availability has been a huge concern with the MoonSwatch. Unfortunately, the problem hasn’t seemed to resolve itself too much. Demand is still extraordinarily high (somehow), although it has lowered a bit over the last couple of months.

Yet, we’re still seeing no available inventory from Swatch online or in stores. And despite countless negative reviews online in both video and text format, demand is still there.

The truth is, the watch gained more popularity than I think even Swatch expected. Swatch has marketed this watch harder than any I’ve seen over the last few years. With the watch market being at a high, I think it was inevitable that this blow up. And frankly, it was genius. Unfortunately, I think it also backfired.

I feel Swatch has been met with a demand they weren’t ready for globally, which should be obvious considering it’s a discount OMEGA Speedmaster with the logo plastered all over it. Nevertheless, I feel Swatch may have sacrificed quality to get units out the door quickly. The Swiss Made pride is missing.

Mission to Mars MoonSwatch Speedmaster Up-Close Shot

Where to Find OMEGA x Swatch MoonSwatch Online

At the moment, the MoonSwatch isn’t available online from Swatch, although that is supposedly coming. For now, if you’re looking for a MoonSwatch, you’ll need to find a retail location that has one in stock (good luck, sadly).

Otherwise, to find a MoonSwatch online, there are multiple listings on sites like eBay and Chrono24. Right now, you’ll be paying quite a bit above retail price, though.

I was lucky enough to receive my Mission to Mars Speedmaster MoonSwatch for a Father’s Day gift this year. Thankfully, I don’t ever have to know how much was paid over retail.

Why MoonSwatch is Genius Collaboration

Despite a supply problem with questionable quality, the OMEGA X Swatch MoonSwatch has been a genius collaboration for both companies. It opened the eyes to many of what a true collaboration success looks like when it comes to marketing. While there are problems, it’s done wonders for both brands.

OMEGA Speedmaster vs OMEGA Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch

I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the watch world as a whole discussing Swatch Group and OMEGA again. For years, I felt that the primary focus of watch media attention has focused on Rolex. For better or worse, it was about time we discussed other chronographs like the Speedmaster.

Sure, headlines haven’t been the best, but somehow that is even still a relief. I understand the Daytona is the iconic chronograph. I’ve built my adult life in Daytona Beach partly because of the racing heritage, and I love how the watch represents a race so close to home. However, OMEGA (as a brand) has always had a special place to me.

My personal thoughts aside, it’s been a massive success objectively. OMEGA’s CEO, Raynald Aeschlimann, has even stated that the MoonSwatch has had a positive impact on Speedmaster sales in this interview with Fratello.

While it has its flaws, it seems to have served its purpose. It brought back attention to the Speedmaster, which I have no complaints about. It opened discussions and gave the watch community something new. For better or worse, the MoonSwatch gave the market what it wanted.

MoonSwatch: Global Impacts

It’s amazing to see a piece at an entry-level price that has the potential to get so many interested in horology. While it may not be the best all-around watch, it brought attention to both brands. Ultimately, it will have a positive long-term impact on the entire watch community.

We’re seeing a new generation of watch collectors come up. Since the Apple Watch release, it has been hard for many to justify getting into the watch world. The OMEGA X Swatch MoonSwatch gets attention from new eyes.

As we all know, once you find that watch that speaks to you, it never stops, and there’s always another one in your sights.

One Week Impressions of the MoonSwatch

With all that said, I feel it’s important to give my honest impressions of the MoonSwatch after wearing it on the wrist for a week. Over anything else, I have to admit it’s instantly become a favorite. For all its flaws, it’s still a beautiful piece with an interesting story.

For me, the story of a watch is why it has significance in my life. Being a sentimental gift aside, I love the OMEGA x Swatch Mission to Mars MoonSwatch. It’s fun, striking, and an interesting conversation piece. I’ve had more comments about it than any other watch I own.

Quality is a disappointing factor in it. While I would love to tell you its the best deal in the watch world, it’s not. Far from it, in fact. However, at a certain point that has to stop being the primary concern.

I buy watches because I love their story, heritage, and what they symbolize in my life at the time. Buying for a deal has never been my personal method of shopping. Seiko makes the best deals. This isn’t, but I don’t care.

OMEGA Speedmaster vs OMEGA Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch

I wouldn’t suggest someone pay 4x retail price for it, but if its a piece you love and want to hold onto forever, buy it at whatever price you feel comfortable. I certainly plan to buy another (likely a Mission to the Moon) when resellers calm down a bit.

For me, though, this watch doesn’t symbolize the best of Swiss Watches. It symbolizes the relationship between OMEGA and Swatch Group. It’s a piece of company heritage that I’m happy to hold onto, as both brands played a significant part of my early collection.

That alone is enough for me to justify it as a perfect piece in the collection.

What’s Next for Swatch & OMEGA

OMEGA Swatch MoonSwatch On Wrist

While I would love to say that I think Swatch will improve the quality of the MoonSwatch or increase production to meet demand, I just don’t fully believe it right now. I think the market will need to stabilize before we, as consumers, see any improvement.

However, I do hope that all of the negative press from angry OMEGA purists isn’t enough to stop a future collaboration. I hope that they use it as feedback to improve their future collaborations.

Improve the quality and supply the market with what it desires – online purchases. That’s what Swatch Group should take away from this. While it has been a huge marketing success, it shouldn’t have left loyal customers disappointed.

More could have been done to improve the quality without detracting from the OMEGA Speedmaster, and I hope in the future we see something come from that.

Patrick Fassler

🚗 Unhealthy Car Obsession ⏱ Semi-Healthy Watch Obsession 📌 Daytona Beach, FL

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