• Fashion

Swatch Group strikes golds with a unique brand collaboration

Courtesy of THE SWATCH GROUP
The Mission to Mars model of Swatch Bioceramic MoonSwatch, a collaboration between Swatch and Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

Collaborations are quite the norm in the fashion world. With consumers inundated with tie-ups, there no longer seem to be so many that can gain popularity with the public. But one collaboration project was so popular that police requested the start of its sale to be postponed.

Swatch and Omega, two brands that fall under parent company The Swatch Group Ltd., collaborated to create the Bioceramic MoonSwatch collection. The original plan was to start selling 11 models in Shibuya and Harajuku stores in Tokyo as well as in Osaka on March 26. News of the collection went viral, probably because it was the first collaboration between the two major watch brands. Fans as well as scalpers rushed to the stores. Local authorities had to step in when crowding became a safety issue, with Swatch and Omega eventually switching from in-store purchases to an online lottery system.

Despite the rocky start, the project was well-thought-out and is a business success. It’s reminiscent of the hugely successful Louis Vuitton-Supreme collaboration in 2017. Although such business alliances between luxury and street brands are becoming common in the fashion world, I’d like to praise Swatch and Omega for creating one in the watch industry, and moreover, within the same group company. It might be destined to earn a spot on par with the Louis Vuitton-Supreme collaboration.

However common one may think they are, collaborations between brands within the same group company are pretty rare. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I believe that the project was only possible because it was launched by The Swatch Group, which has the lower-price-range Swatch brand and the higher-price-range Omega brand. The new watches also come with innovative designs that appeal to both Omega and Swatch fans.

The basic design of the collection is based on Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch series. The cases are 42 millimeters in diameter, and in a decision that is sure to delight hardcore watch fans, the dot typically next to the 90 on the watch’s tachymeter is now above it. The case is made of Swatch’s eco-friendly bioceramic material that fits well with the current age of sustainability. Furthermore, they are battery-powered quartz watches, which is a rarity since Omega watches are usually mechanical. In addition, the 3-bar water-resistant watches come with a Velcro strap that can even be worn over a spacesuit. The strap is also printed with the Omega and Swatch logos. With all these elements, fans will surely want to get their hands on one.

The 11 models are named and designed after the eight planets and one dwarf planet in our solar system, plus the sun and the moon. They are reasonably priced at ¥33,550. For Swatch fans, the price may be a little high, but not unaffordable.

Both the Omega and Swatch logos are etched onto the face and crown while the name MoonSwatch includes a brand name of Omega’s Moonwatch as well as “Swatch.” They’re a must-buy for Omega fans too.

The collaboration is the parent company’s tribute to Swatch for bravely taking on the challenge of revitalizing the Swiss watch industry amid the upheaval of the quartz crisis. According to The Swatch Group, the MoonSwatch collection represents a witty way to praise the Swatch brand for saving the industry, and is celebrated as the best model for beginners who wish to own an Omega Speedmaster someday.

To be sure, this masterpiece of a collection won’t require you to be a scalper to line up to own one. However, the resale price is already expected to triple. Of the 11 models, Mission to the Moon seems to be the most popular.

Understandably, it’s possible that other brands within the group company may collaborate with Swatch in the future. Watch fans must be eagerly awaiting such projects. It does seem as if The Swatch Group has struck gold in the world of collaborations.


Akira Miura

Miura is a journalist and a former editor in chief of WWD Japan.