It’s been about two weeks since the watch industry turned upside-down. No, this time it had nothing to do with the latest installment of Watches & Wonders or other events in Geneva. The uproar was caused by a cheap, plastic (oh, sorry, BIOCERAMIC) quartz watch from Swatch. This gimmick made thousands of people line up in front of Swatch boutiques around the world in the hopes of getting one. Yes, I’m talking about the new Omega x Swatch collaboration, the MoonSwatch. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one, and this is what I think of it.
MoonSwatch: A Swatch With Iconic Omega Speedmaster DNA
The idea behind the MoonSwatch is simple: Take the most popular model (the Speedmaster) from the highest-selling brand within Swatch Group (Omega) and combine it with fun quartz models from the conglomerate (Swatch). It might not be the first time in watchmaking history that two brands collaborated to create a unique model, but it’s definitely a memorable one. There are 11 MoonSwatch models in total: eight designed after planets, one after a dwarf planet (Pluto), and the Sun and the Moon. Every watch has a different color scheme, from bright summer colors like yellow (Sun), pink (Venus), or light blue (Uranus), to fantastic tones like gray (Moon) or red (Mars). As such, everyone will find a watch, or two, that tickles their fancy. You’ll also find panda dial variations such as the Pluto or Earth models.
Each and every MoonSwatch bears the iconic Omega Speedmaster DNA and some of the most recognizable features of the Speedy. To begin with, the case, while plastic (or BIOCERAMIC, as Swatch calls it), is the same shape and size as the Speedmaster’s. The twisted lugs, push-pieces, and crown remind us of the Moonwatch. It is incredibly cool and somewhat strange to see the shape of the Speedmaster in this funky new way, but I love every inch of it. Moving on from the case, you’ll see that the bezel is also very similar to the original. It even has the “dot over 90” (DON), and the vintage-style TACHYMÈTER text on it. A well-known detail of the Moonwatch is the tiny Omega symbol etched into the middle of the crystal. While it is barely visible to the naked eye, the MoonSwatch also has it – only this time, it’s a small “S” for Swatch.
Swatch vs. Speedmaster?
Other notable Omega Speedmaster features are the crown, handset, and Velcro strap. New Speedies come with two straps, one of which is Velcro and inspired by the band NASA used for their astronauts. The MoonSwatch Velcro strap looks a lot like this one, although it has a different two-piece construction. If you fancy your MoonSwatch on another strap, you can always swap it out. Since the case is the same size as the regular Moonwatch, your favorite Speedy strap will work well on your MoonSwatch too.
MoonSwatch: Don’t Expect Omega Quality at a Swatch Price
On the wrist, the MoonSwatch feels light and comfortable – keep in mind this is a $260 quartz plastic watch, not a steel Speedmaster from Omega. It wears well, and for someone like me who is used to wearing the real thing, the MoonSwatch is somewhat weird, even though I guess I’ll get used to it over time. I mean, the size is the same and the looks are similar, but it’s just so much lighter. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the Velcro strap because it feels a bit stiff; however, this could be due to the fact that I’ve only been wearing the watch for a few days now. Overall, I love the wrist presence and the versatility offered by the various case colors. Will I get them all? Absolutely not, but I think my MoonSwatch collection will grow in number soon.
It’s definitely not going to make me neglect my Omega Speedmaster Professional – I love that watch to bits. Even so, the MoonSwatch is still a great, fun, and cheap alternative for the summer or on vacation when you want that familiar Speedy feel, but don’t want to be worried about putting unnecessary wear and tear on your expensive timepiece. It is also a fun way for a younger audience to get into the watch hobby and learn about the horological history and significance of the Speedmaster. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. If you are around a Swatch boutique and MoonSwatches are back in stock, be sure to check them out. I’m sure you’ll find one you like.