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There hasn’t been such a buzz and heated discussions since the launch of the first Apple Watch in 2015. At the end of March this year, Bioceramic Speedmaster MoonSwatch hit the selected Swatch shops around the world. It caused a storm in the industry and a real shopping frenzy among young people.

Every now and then, the media are abuzz with the news that another well-known fashion brand has joined forces with another, also well-known but from a different price bracket. There is a real buzz about that then and customers rush to the shops, as surprising customers is best for gaining attention. There are many more examples of such collaborations. Manolo Blahnik designing Birkenstock sandals in one of the latest.

In the world of watches, collaborations are also nothing new, although they usually involve brands that do not compete with each other on a daily basis: TAG Heuer and Porsche, Breitling and Triumph, or Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin. Patek Philippe, with its joint project with Tiffany’s – the Nautilus with a blue dial – is the exception: there has been much talk about it due to the absurdly high price the watch reached at auction. It was a big surprise, then, for all of us to see a watch created jointly by Omega and Swatch. Both brands belong to the same family (Swatch Group). Astonishing, though, is that the prestigious Omega and its flagship Speedmaster, whose price starts at EUR 6,600, endorses a watch for EUR 250.

Interestingly, Bioceramic Speedmaster MoonSwatch hit the shops a few days before the start of this year’s Watches & Wonders salon in Geneva, the most awaited event of the watch industry, during which the biggest players, i.e. brands belonging to Richemont and Rolex, Patek Philippe, and TAG Heuer, showed their novelty products. Is it a coincidence? It’s hard to believe. For any watch brand, time is a key element. The launch of the MoonSwatch must have been carefully planned.

That is why everyone was talking about it at W&W. Swatch Group has checked the industry with this move, I must admit. Since the launch of the Apple Watch, there has not been a watch that aroused such extreme emotions. Some industry friends were negative about the idea, saying that it devalues not only the Speedmaster model but also the Omega brand. Others liked the idea of a cheap Moonwatch very much though. In their opinion, Omega has shown its more exciting side while MoonSwatch will attract young customers who cannot afford to buy a Speedmaster at the moment. I do think so as well. MoonSwatch will appeal to a new group of customers who have so far preferred to check the time on their smartphone or Apple Watch and, suddenly, thanks to Moonwatch, discovered that a wristwatch is fashionable. Swatch has succeeded in doing what others have been trying to do for the past ten years with little success: reach the 20-year-olds by offering them watches. In this age group, Apple Watch remains unrivalled as it costs around 220, not several thousand euros. In addition, the Apple name guarantees as much success as the latest generation of the iPhone.

In a recent interview with Swiss magazine Bilanz, Nick Hayek, head of the Swatch Group, said that with the launch of the MoonSwatch, he wanted to bring joy of living and challenge the watch industry in a positive way.

The challenge was very successful and paid off as the queues for MoonSwatch are still getting longer. Although the watch is not a limited series, it is difficult to access as there is no online sale: Swatch offers it in 110 selected shops with deliveries taking place as often as possible. Additionally, there is a rule of one piece per one person. What’s the result? Young people queue in long lines outside the shops.

It is said that Swatch once saved the Swiss watch industry. Will Swatch revolutionise the industry by cooperating with Omega? Perhaps young people will be encouraged to wear watches and look at some other models as well. Either way, this story has certainly shown everyone that risk pays off as publicity is done by Instagram and other social media these days.

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