In April became The president of the Swiss Confederation (and de facto head of state), Ignazio Cassis, visited Japan to hold talks with the country’s Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio. As usual, gifts had to be exchanged, and Cassis’ office requested an example of what had just become the hottest Swiss watch to launch this year, if not decades: MoonSwatch, a $ 260 Swatch-produced version of Omegas Speedmaster Moonwatchthe chronograph famous for being carried by NASA astronauts on the moon.
However, the Swiss president was out of luck. “We were happy, but we told them that the only way he can get the watch is if he sends someone from his office in line and hopes they can find it in the Swatch store in Bern,” says Nick Hayek Jr., chef. director of Swatch Group, the world’s largest watchmaker, which owns both the Swatch and Omega brands.
Hayek, a 67-year-old billionaire who drives himself to work in a Mini and has a pirate flag hovering outside his office, is proud of the fact that privileged access – part of the luxury world – is completely absent with MoonSwatch despite the large demand. “It does not help if you have deep pockets. Patek Philippe and the Rolex client, the Breguet client, the Richard Mille client, they all called. They all want one. But even if you give us $ 10,000, it makes no difference. You have to wait, you have to buy it in the store. It’s a game changer. “
But finding MoonSwatch in any Swatch store anywhere has been a matter of luck, timing and sheer perseverance since launching on March 26 for scenes of pandemonium around the globe.
News had gradually dripped out over the previous week. On March 17, cryptic ads appeared in select blank-page newspapers with the legend: “It’s time to change your Omega … Swatch” and “It’s time to change your Swatch … Omega.” Social media feeds hinted at something with a planetary theme before the watch was announced on March 24: eleven Swatch watches that faithfully resemble the iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch, but battery-powered, in bright colors and made from Swatch’s ecoplastic alternative, Bioceramics.
The color orbits were inspired by planets in the solar system: there was Mission to the Sun in light yellow, Mission to Neptune in deep blue, Mission to Jupiter in beige and orange, and of course the black Mission to the Moon, closely resembling the Omega original.