Watches in a new series produced by Omega and Swatch are being sold online for more than 20 times the original retail price.
Hours after the launch of the MoonSwatch, the Dh950 ($258) timepieces were on sale for up to Dh20,000 on the Dubai-based online marketplace Dubizzle.
Others were listed for Dh12,000 and Dh15,000.
The MoonSwatch is the result of a collaboration between Omega and Swatch, both part of Switzerland-based Swatch Group.
The name is a play on the Speedmaster 'Moonwatch', which was worn by Nasa’s space crews in the Gemini and Apollo space missions of the 1960s and 1970s. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore them on their journey to the Moon in 1969. Aldrin sported his as he stepped foot on the lunar surface.
On eBay, a seller in London had 14 bids for a dark khaki-green timepiece with the price sitting at just under $10,700 as of Sunday.
That is significantly more than the retail price of the original Omega Speedmaster, which is in the region of $6,800, depending on the strap type and tax rate.
Swatch has made much of the device’s ‘Bioceramic’ materials, which is apparently a mix of ceramic and castor oil.
Chaotic scenes on launch day
Shoppers described chaotic scenes at The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates as hundreds waited for two Swatch stores to open on Saturday morning.
A token system designed to manage queues appeared to have been abandoned and crowds packed together to wait for the shops to open.
“Security did not handle the crowd well. People almost got seriously injured,” one person wrote on Swatch UAE’s Instagram page.
Another said: “How come all watches were sold at 7.45am without any notifications or posts from your side? The watches are already posted online for sale 10x the original price.”
In a statement, Swatch UAE made no reference to the event’s handling, but said each shopper would be allowed to buy only one watch, instead of two as on Saturday, while demand remained high.
“We would therefore, like to remind you that there will be watches available in the selected Swatch stores in the coming weeks, as it is not a limited edition,” it said.
Similar scenes were reported at stores in Singapore and Hong Kong, among other places.
In London, Swatch’s Carnaby Street store closed after large crowds gathered outside and some people reportedly pushed towards the front.
One shopper who left empty-handed told local media it was a “proper PR stunt”.