The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch has received a big sales boost on the back of a collaboration between Omega and Swatch for a budget-friendly timepiece collection.
The pair joined forces to launch the Swatch X Omega Bioceramic MoonSwatch collection in March. Priced at $250, it sold out within days.
Since the launch of the Swatch collaboration, sales of all Speedmaster models have “risen by double digits”, Swatch Group chief executive Nick Hayek told Bloomberg.
Both Omega and Swatch are owned by the Switzerland-based Swatch Group conglomerate.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch model sells for about $7,000 and was the first watch worn by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their journey to the Moon in 1969.
Sales in Omega stores were up by more than 50 per cent since the launch of the MoonSwatch in March, Mr Hayek said.
The MoonSwatch collection is made from bioceramic, a material originally developed for space travel, that mixes two parts zirconium dioxide ceramic with one part bio-derived plastic, usually from bio-based castor oil. It is now used across a variety of industrial and medical processes, including bonding broken bones.
Each watch is named after a different planet in our solar system, carries the moniker “Mission to” etched on the back and pays tribute to its namesake with colouring.
Such was the frenzy around the launch of the MoonSwatch that timepieces were being sold online in the UAE for more than 20 times the original retail price.
There were chaotic scenes at The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates as hundreds waited for two Swatch stores to open on launch day.
Similar scenes were reported at shops in Singapore and Hong Kong, among other cities.
In London, Swatch’s Carnaby Street store closed after large crowds gathered outside and some people reportedly pushed towards the front.
All 11 models are currently out of stock on Swatch's UAE website, where they are retailing at Dh940 ($256). They are being sold on Dubai-based online marketplace Dubizzle for upwards of Dh2,000.
“What they did with the Swatch version of the Moonwatch was genius,” Brian Duffy, chief executive of retailer Watches of Switzerland, told Bloomberg.
“It has undoubtedly positively impacted sales demand.”