I’m not sure that too many parties have come out well from last week’s launch of the MoonSwatch, the Swatch/Omega mash-up that looks like the Omega watch that Apollo astronauts used to wear but costs a more Swatch-like £207.
The new range of watches – and very nice they look, too – aren’t a limited edition, but early examples were limited in number, and for the few that Swatch sent to selected shops, it anticipated high demand. Although apparently not quite such high demand.
Queues started outside the shops the night before the Saturday morning release and in London on the day grew into crowds so large and unruly that they necessitated police presence and shops being shut for the day. Some of the few watches that made it out are now being resold at big premiums. Daft, really. “It is not a time-limited edition and will soon be available again,” says Swatch.
You could put the blame solely on people who thought it would be a good idea to swamp these stores: the worst kind of Black Friday consumerism at work. But the hype was deliberately created by Swatch’s marketing, and you would think it could have anticipated something like this happening.
By not allowing online ordering (you still can’t order a MoonSwatch over the web, although it’s reported that you will be able to soon) and by sending out only a limited amount of watches, it clearly wanted to create a hubbub. Just not quite the one it got.
I live near Bicester Village, where they anticipate queues like this, most notably in the run-up to Christmas, and rope off areas outside shops. So you can stand outside in winter and dream of being allowed inside to part with money you’ve worked hard to earn.