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Header image courtesy of Swatch
In 1969, Buzz Aldrin travelled to the moon with the now-iconic Moonwatch strapped to his wrist. Omega’s special timepiece not only endured the extreme conditions but provided the crew with precise time-keeping when the spacecraft was passing into the atmosphere. For its crucial contribution, the Moonwatch was given the Silver Snoopy award from NASA.
Decades later, the Swiss luxury watchmaker blasted off skywards again; this time, it launched a never-before-seen collection called MoonSwatch, in an unprecedented collaboration with Swiss watch brand Swatch. Like the lunar journey, such a crossover only happens “once in a blue moon,” and overnight, a MoonSwatch craze swept the globe.
MoonSwatches became one of the most coveted timepieces immediately upon launch, and of course, Hongkongers joined in on the craze—long queues flooded the Swatch boutiques across town, even during the most serious wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the MoonSwatch fuss should come as no surprise. As a pastiche of the timepiece worn in outer space, the MoonSwatch faithfully reproduces the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch design with a great level of detail, including the asymmetrical case contour, the minimalistic “stepped” subdials, and the unique tachymeter scale with the dot over 90 (DON) bezel. Even to Omega aficionados, it looks highly similar to the moon-travelling chronograph, celebrating its iconic craftsmanship and space history.
Named after the planetary bodies in space, this MoonSwatch collection features 11 timepieces in a variety of colours, capturing a timeless celestial beauty. The back of the watch is etched with a planetary depiction and a mission statement, declaring tribute to the Apollo 11 mission that made the giant leap in human history.
Needless to say, the MoonSwatch collection still has its own essential idiosyncrasies. Instead of stainless steel, the watch is made out of patented bioceramic material—a mix of ceramic and castor oil derivatives—and rests comfortably lightweight on the wrist.
In a bid to better simulate the space-travelling experience, the MoonSwatch utilises Velcro straps instead of a steel bracelet, which is too inconvenient to put on in a chunky, all-protective space suit. As opposed to the mechanical Speedmaster watches, the MoonSwatches are powered by a quartz movement, but they have a distinctive dial layout. Up close, the dials and the crowns are co-signed by Omega and Swatch, representing their revolutionary joint force in reimagining the timeless appeal of space travel.
Probably, the most surprising and eye-catching thing about the MoonSwatch collection is the price. Unlike the original Speedmaster Moonwatch series, which costs upwards of at least $50,000, the MoonSwatch is an accessible option for watch collectors or Moonwatch enthusiasts. As of 26 March 2022, it went on sale in three local Swatch outlets—Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, and Tsim Sha Tsui—at $2,100 per piece.
Although the lines outstretched into the distance might tell you otherwise, the MoonSwatch is not a limited-edition piece and will be restocked constantly, so there will always be an opportunity to get one. For all the accomplishments in space, the storied moon-travelling chronograph may require a little patience to safely touch down on your wrist.