There's good news and bad news: the bad news is that hopes for the online availability of the highly hyped and coveted Swatch x Omega Bioceramic MoonSwatch watch have been dashed. The good news is that Swatch is continuously producing them and supplying their stores, as well as expanding locations where they'll be available.
When the unusual partnership between Swatch and its luxury brother brand Omega was announced, it sent shockwaves through the watch world and beyond. Made of a plastic and ceramic hybrid material called Bioceramic, the inexpensive MoonSwatch watches featured the Omega brand name on their dials and borrowed much of the iconic styling of the beloved Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch — which was famously worn on the moon and costs thousands of dollars — for a price of just $260.
But there was a notable catch. Initial supplies were only available for purchase through select Swatch Boutique locations. And even watch fans living near the stores faced huge lines just for the chance to snag very limited quantities on launch day. Everyone else appeared to be out of luck, unless they were willing to pay exorbitant reseller prices from second-hand marketplaces like eBay. It turned into an absolute saga.
In response to the explosive early demand, Swatch updated its website with seemingly encouraging news for fans of the epic collaboration. According to the statement, the brand will do its best "to fulfill demand" and hopes "that anyone who is moonstruck by this Omega x Swatch collaboration will soon be able to lay their hands on one of these watches."
But what about the possibility of buying a MoonSwatch online from Swatch? The updated statement also contained some vague language: "The Bioceramic MoonSwatch Collection is not available for the time being for purchase online." The phrase "for the time being" was interpreted by many as meaning that eventually it would be available online, and that was the word on the street. But it was false hope.
In a recent interview with watch website Fratello, the Swatch Group (owner of both Swatch and Omega) CEO Nick Hayek Jr. confirmed that there's no intention of offering the watches online. “The MoonSwatch is not about to make as much money as possible in the shortest possible time period. So why should we sell it online?” he said.
Part of the reasoning seems to be about supporting physical retailers: "After the whole world had to stay at home for two years because of COVID, it was about time to celebrate and to bring the people back on the streets, meet together, and revive the brick-and-mortar stores." Keeping it offline also helps maintain the watch's cultish status. "There’s no emotion in online buying. It’s a carefully produced Swiss Made watch and not a commodity," he says.
That's going to be frustrating for many, but Mr. Hayek shares the following perspective:
You can try again, and there are more Swatch stores opening in many places where today you have none, and they will start to sell Moonswatches soon. As already stated, it’s not limited, and it’s part of the experience to go and look for it. Do not forget, nobody forces you to buy now. There is no reason to buy from flippers. Once again, it’s not limited and does not need a three-month update on new software.
So what's a MoonSwatch fan to do? There's little consolation for those who don't live near a Swatch boutique or who simply want a MoonSwatch now. The only good news is that the brand is ramping up production, expanding locations — and a fleet of MoonSwatch cars will tour European cities this summer as mobile popups. According to a Swatch spokesperson, "our stores are actually receiving replenishment on a regular basis." So, as these aren't limited in production, they might become more available in the future as the hype dies down.
In the meantime, turning to the second-hand market in desperation and paying significantly more than retail kind of sours the fun of a cheap Speedmaster. The MoonSwatch product landing pages feature "purchase" buttons that are currently grayed out, but policy could always change and they could be turned on. With the rollercoaster that the MoonSwatch has already been, it doesn't seem that far fetched.
We'll make sure to update you if the online status changes. Until then, at least you still have the option of calling in a favor from friends living near any of Swatch's boutiques.