Update, 3/30: While initial supplies of the MoonSwatch sold out in short order, Swatch has revealed that it will not be a limited production watch, and that more will be available soon. You can read the full story here.
An unexpected collaboration has watch fans over the moon. Omega and Swatch have teamed up to offer a collection of 11 models of what they're calling the MoonSwatch. Recreating the exact proportions and design of the famous Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, these are quartz watches in Bioceramic cases...and they cost $260.
The Speedmaster is an absolute basic of watch collecting, but its current version costs around $6,400. The chance to get it for a mere fraction of that — with a dial actually co-signed by Omega itself — is exciting for a lot of people. Let's face it, though, even if you already have a Moonwatch, or never even wanted one (which is hard to imagine), these are just fun.
The MoonSwatch measures the same 42mm as the Speedmaster with all the details intact, from the case contours to the "stepped" subdials. Of course, they're immediately distinguishable from Speedmasters for a couple of reasons. First, the quartz movements dictate a certain dial layout with subdials evenly spaced on the dial as opposed to the Speedmaster's layout which bunches the subdials toward the lower half. If you look closer, there's also "Swatch" and "MoonSwatch" right there on the dial.
With each version themed on a different celestial body in our solar system, the one for the Moon is closest to the actual Omega Speedmaster. Other versions, however, take some creative license and harness the possibilities of Bioceramic, offering all kinds of colorful cases and designs, just as you'd expect from Swatch. Bioceramic is Swatch's own material that uses ceramic and castor oil to make something like a plastic-ceramic hybrid material that's light, silky, scratch-resistant and interesting.
You can get one in pink for Venus, yellow for the Sun, green and blue for Earth itself, or one for Mars that's based on a prototype Omega made for NASA in 1972. More touches for super watch nerds: the "dot over 90" design and a hidden "S" integrated into the center of the crystal. It's worth checking out all the variations. Each will come on a velcro strap just like the astronauts wore over their spacesuits.
While there are collabs galore these days, those between two watch companies are rare with secrecy and competition the norm. Omega and Swatch are both sibling brands within the Swatch Group, but it's still surprising to see something like the prestigious Omega (and Speedmaster) name legitimately on a $260 watch. Some might feel that it devalues the Omega brand and the Speedmaster design, but it also shows Omega as playful as well as drawing in a younger crowd — and those that can't currently afford a Speedmaster. We'd love to see more such collaboration between watch brands.
So, how do you get one? For the time being, they're only going to be available in select Swatch stores starting this Saturday, March 26, and one customer can buy no more than two of them. In other words, they might be hard to actually get your hands on, as they won't be available online, at least for now.