March 7, 2023
by David Bredan
The Swatch MoonSwatch caused quite a stir when it launched — we reported on location about the MoonSwatch craze and reviewed the debut collection, along with all its foibles, here. Today, Swatch has launched the Swatch MoonSwatch Mission to the Moon with a seconds hand made of Omega’s Moonshine Gold. When we say “made of” what we mean is that it is reported to be coated in gold, as opposed to being crafted from solid gold.
Swatch explains: “This special seconds hand has been produced exclusively during the full moon of February, as stated in the certificate that comes with the watch. It is available for purchase in very special places in Zurich, London, Milan, and Tokyo on March 7th, and in other locations during the next full moon. It is not limited and not available online. The Mission to the Moon with a special seconds hand is not going to replace the Mission to the Moon.” If you are wondering, Moonshine Gold is a special 18k gold alloy that was previously used on a select few Omega watches. It is 75% gold (because it is 18k gold), and the rest of the alloy is 14.5% silver, about 9% copper, and 1% palladium — and all these fancy materials are spread a few microns thin over the chronograph seconds hand of the new Swatch MoonSwatch Moonshine Gold edition.
It is strange that Swatch apparently figured what the MoonSwatch collection really needed to increase its desirability is more scarcity. When the MoonSwatch launched on March 26, 2022, it generated endless queues, with those in the front often setting up camp a few days before the launch to ensure they could get their hands on just the two pieces Swatch allowed them to buy — which the company quickly reduced to just one purchase per customer, in response to stratospheric demand. The MoonSwatch has never been made available for purchase online by Swatch, nor has Swatch seriously expanded the network of stores that sold this high-demand piece. In the months that followed, the MoonSwatch managed to maintain at least some of its resale premium as customers still had to stumble upon restocks through blind luck — or bribing sales staff.
And yet, here we are, with a yet more rarefied MoonSwatch to top it all off. Again, the Swatch MoonSwatch Moonshine Gold will be limited to a select few locations, with more potentially added later. We could also consider this a test of just how thin modern consumers can be stretched — it is arguably an impressive feat of funambulism, a balancing act between high desirability and consumer alienation. It was Jean-Claude Biver who once fondly recalled the incredible hype the fresh Swatch generated in the 1980s, it being so popular that consumers used to upgrade to business class on flights just so that they could buy Swatch watches off the little in-flight shopping trolley before others. And that was long before social media, the hype machine of our time, even existed.
The launch of the original MoonSwatch just about a year ago was as successful at directing attention at the brand(s) — Swatch and Omega — as it was frustrating for just about every customer, irrespective of whether they got their hands on something from the shockingly low inventories or not. It is worth noting that this time around Omega has been fully relieved from communicating about the latest MoonSwatch. Today’s MoonSwatch Moonshine Gold watch launch is scattered between 4 locations and 3 timezones, with no information about pricing, availability, or even images anywhere on the official Swatch website, not to mention Swatch and Swatch Group press and media sites. For now, the new product appears to have launched only on social media.
Whether the concept behind the Moonshine Gold edition of the MoonSwatch and the fact that “[it was] produced exclusively during the full moon of February” is worth queueing for — or getting frustrated over the fact that, by high probability, one lives not in Milan, Tokyo, Zurich, or London, but anywhere else in the world — is for everyone to decide on their own. What is true is that the recipe has remained largely the same: Take something desirable from the big, flashy, and expensive luxury brand (the Speedmaster name and aesthetic at the launch, and now the poshness of having 18kt gold in one’s watch) and offer it at a much lower price.
Other than the center-mounted chronograph seconds hand, everything appears to remain unchanged from the MoonSwatch Mission to the Moon model on which the Moonshine Gold edition is based. The black dial with green lume, the 42mm-wide grey BioCeramic case, and the black strap, look identical between the two versions. Price for the Swatch MoonSwatch Moonshine Gold is 275 Swiss Francs.