The Numbers Back It Up: The MoonSwatch Was the Watch of 2022
In our December issue, we called the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch the timepiece of the year. The watch, which helped customers get a diet version of Omega’s titanic Speedmaster, made an undeniable impact—but now the Swatch group reports its effect on the bottom line was just as great. Omega and Swatch sold over one million MoonSwatches in 2022, Bloomberg reports. That’s a lot of Missions to Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and the Sun. Even better: the MoonSwatch poured rocket fuel in the general Speedmaster line, too.
When the MoonSwatch was first announced, cynics predicted that the $260 bioceramic version of the watch would cheapen the value of the parent line. Wrong! In fact, the MoonSwatch has had the opposite effect on the Speedmaster, which starts at around $6,300, or roughly 25 times the value of the former. “In the wake of the MoonSwatch hype, the entire Omega Speedmaster collection, for example, the Moonwatch models, also profited from greatly increased interest,” the Swatch Group wrote in a press release this week.
What the cynics may have failed to imagine was how well the MoonSwatch would be received by most collectors. Customers continue to line up for these pieces at Swatch stores, and executives at Swatch don’t see things slowing down any time soon. “We still see potential of double-digit growth in the US,” Nick Hayek, Swatch’s CEO, told Bloomberg. And even for those who aren’t lining up appreciate the effort to establish a new generation of watch collectors. The MoonSwatch is the envy of the industry: “Their collaboration is a great idea,” François-Henry Bennahmias, the CEO of Audemars Piguet, told the Luxury Tribune last August, “which does not affect the integrity of Omega at all, contrary to what you may have heard. Why is that? Because it educates the younger generation about the icons of watchmaking.”
Lucky for those burgeoning collectors, the Speedmaster line continues to put out new editions that are sure to become collector favorites. Say hello to the new Speedmaster Super Racing, a watch that’s just as good on the outside as it is on the inside. With this release, Omega didn’t just release a new watch but an entire new mechanism inside that it’s calling the—drumroll, please—Spirate System. What you need to know about the new machinery is that it’s intended to set a new level of accuracy in the world of wristwatches. The Spirate System has a precision of 0/+2 seconds per day, meaning that if the watch is operating normally its largest margin of error is to go ahead two seconds a day. The brand is just showing off at this point.
But for those of us who are going to get an accurate time beamed down to our phones anyway, what I find really exciting about this new Speedmaster is its design. Outside of the price, much of the MoonSwatch’s success is due to the line’s embrace of big colors. Maybe Omega used this lesson when developing the new Speedmaster Super Racing. That dial is a beauty! Previous racing editions of the Speedmaster are some of my favorites to come out of the line because they’re splashed with bright shades that would fit right in on a Formula 1 track. The Japan Racing version, with its red-and-orange dial, is an all-timer, while other racing editions have used a black-and-yellow layout. This new Super Racing watch goes back to that familiar Wiz Khalifa-approved colorway, adding in a delightful honeycomb dial and a candy-striped hand on the subdial at 9 o’clock.
Since the ‘60s, when NASA began using the Speedmaster as official gear and the watch hitched a ride on the maiden voyage to the moon, the watch has been by far Omega’s most consequential piece. The brand has developed an infinite amount of special editions and permutations—ranging from special Snoopy-themed pieces to the MoonSwatch. However, based on the financial numbers, collectors clearly aren’t tiring of the brand’s tentpole product. Rather than shying away from their most iconic watch, Omega is succeeding by leaning further into its greatest strength.
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