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Omega x Swatch madness: Was it worth the hype?

The madness has died down and now, the bragging and in some cases, complaints have begun.

We are talking about last week's launch of the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch collection, which caused stampedes and even melees not just in Singapore but all over the world.

The collection comprises 11 models at $372 each and offers an entry point into owning an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, which has a price tag of at least $9,000. Named after planetary bodies, the watches have bioceramic cases, Velcro straps and come in different colours.

Swatch did not say that the collection would be limited or one-off, but that did not stop watch enthusiasts from gathering outside the Swatch store at Ion Orchard's Basement 2 from as early as 5.30am last Saturday (March 26). The store opened at 10am.

Things got chaotic and police officers arrived at the scene. One man even reportedly taunted the officers to "use your gun and shoot me".

Because stocks were so limited, many who queued left empty handed and disappointed.

But it is a different story for those who managed to bag the coveted watch.

Watch fan Benedict Ong, 30 arrived at Ion Orchard at 9.30pm on Friday. His parents joined him at 1am and he got his hands on a dark blue Mission To Neptune piece at 10.30am.

"Although the entire process was a huge mess, I enjoyed being there," the sales professional says.

At 4am on Saturday, recent university graduate Low Sze Min, 23, and her boyfriend, an undergraduate and watch enthusiast, joined the queue at Swatch's Marina Bay Sands outlet. The store allocated time slots of 2 to 6pm to those with queue numbers.

Ms Low got the Tiffany blue Mission to Uranus model, while her boyfriend went for the black and grey Mission to Mercury piece.

"It's exciting to be one of the first to lay hands on this unique collaboration," she says.

But not all successful buyers are gloating. Complaints quickly showed up on social media.

"Honestly the watch feels super super super cheap," a customer in Hong Kong who purchased the same model as Mr Ong wrote on Facebook. "And the dye on the planet seems to leak into your skin."

YouTuber user Simply Serge conducted an experiment and found that the Mission To Neptune model did indeed leak dark blue dye under moist conditions.

Mr Ong admits to observing the same problem. "When I got the watch, I swopped the stock velcro strap for a woven nylon one. But I noticed the dye bleeding when I put it back on the velcro strap and wore it for 20 minutes, during which I took photos of the watch," he says.

Swatch Singapore did not respond to The Straits Times' request for comment.

Still, as a branding and marketing exercise, the MoonSwatch collaboration is a dizzying success by any yardstick.

The $372 MoonSwatch (left) offers an entry point into owning an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, which retails for a minimum of $9,000.PHOTO: BENEDICT ONG

Mr J.C. Sum, a strategy consultant at business consultancy firm Evolve & Adapt, notes that it offers customers the best of two well-loved brands.

Even though the watch is not a limited edition, he adds, there is a strong social and psychological value to being the first to own a highly sought-after piece. In this way, the launch was successful in leveraging FOMO (the fear of missing out), "the fear that the watch would be sold out quickly and may not be available for a long time".


Dude literally told the police in chinese “pull your gun and shoot me la!” Just becuase he can’t get the Omega X Swatch Watch… ?‍? #omega #omegaxswatch #swatch #orchardion #singapore #watch #shootmela

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Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Gleneagles Hospital, agrees. "Being the first to have the watch and being the first to post them on social media is something highly desirable for those looking to online likes and views to boost their ego."

He admits to falling for the Hello Kitty hype back in the early noughties, when hordes descended on McDonald's outlets to grab plush toys of the Sanrio character.

"A decade down the road, I threw the toys away, still BNIB (brand new in box). And so I have learned my lesson," he says.

The queue for the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch collection at Ion Orchard on March 26, 2022.PHOTO: ST READER

So is MoonSwatch worth the hype?

A watch enthusiast who was at Ion Orchard during the chaos and managed to purchase the beige Mission To Jupiter model does not think so.

The expatriate, who only wanted to be known as Darius, says: "It feels anti-climatic. I regret queuing for so long."