Remember, when was the last time you saw lines outside of a watch shop. If you are under 45, probably never and past the age you were a child and saw people outside a Swatch store.
And yet March 26, around the world, people waited in lines outside a Swatch store to buy a plastic quartz lookalike of the Omega Speedmaster.
Let’s rewind and see how Swatch Group pulled one of the best marketing collaboration stunts.
Omega Speedmaster Professional “The Moonwatch”
Omega launched the Speedmaster in 1957 as a sports chronograph aimed at the race car enthusiasts who needed to time laps, hence the presence of a tachymeter on the bezel. A few years after the launch, NASA started looking for timing instruments to accompany astronauts on their quest to conquer space and step on the moon. Omega won the bid, and on July 24, 1969, Buzz Aldrine walked out of the Apollo 11 wearing his issued Omega Speedmaster on his left wrist. Instantly the watch gained legendary status.
Nowadays, a Moonwatch is the cornerstone of every genuine watch geeks collection. Alongside the Rolex Submariner, they are the most iconic watches out there. Even Jeff Bezos paid homage to the astronauts of the Apollo missions that strapped one on the outside of their spacesuits with the NASA-issued velcro strap.
The name Swatch came from the idea of a “second watch,” an inexpensive, casual disposable watch that was more of an accessory than a watch. Ernst Thomke, Elmar Mock, and Jacques Müller built Swatch at the peak of the “quartz crisis” that threatened to eradicate Swiss watchmaking. In 1985 Nicholas Hayek took over the brand and created the Swatch Group around the success of the brand, and over time the group became one of the most prominent luxury groups in the world. One of its acquisitions was the legendary luxury watchmaker Omega.