Last year, after that With the release of the MoonSwatch, a bioplastic Swatch version of Omega’s legendary Speedmaster Moonwatch, Swatch President Nick Hayek Jr. the biggest hype the watch market has ever seen, saying “positive provocation” was an important part of the brand’s mission statement. That may explain the first follow-up to the original 11-member collection of MoonSwatches, which was announced today but was left in advance (much like the original release) with cryptic social media posts.
Over the weekend, the Swatch Instagram account announced the imminent arrival of the Mission to Moonshine Gold.” Each MoonSwatch is named after a different planet, with the prefix “Mission to…” (Mission to Mars, Mission to Neptune, etc.), while Moonshine Gold is Omega’s patented hardened gold alloy, used in some of its watches, including some sought-after all-gold Speedmaster models.
That sparked a rage of speculation about what kind of gold-inspired – or even all-gold – MoonSwatch was about to drop. This morning the answer came: an identical version of the gray Mission to the Moon model (closest to the classic Speedmaster), but with only the chronograph second hand coated in Moonshine gold (for a retail price of £250 ($298) , at £228 ($272) for the regular version).
Hayek’s willingness to confuse those who like to drink in the hype his own brand creates doesn’t stop with a release so seemingly underwhelming (if we are to believe the comments on Instagram). The main feature of the MoonSwatch story, since a launch that saw Swatch stores around the world flooded by massive crowds of buyers and flippers, is scarcity, with massive undersupply in Swatch’s boutiques and the watches unavailable online.
This has now largely calmed down: Swatch has reported an expected sales of 1.5 million MoonSwatches during the year since launch, while resale prices have plummeted. On the watch marketplace Chrono24, the Mission to the Moon is now trading at around £350 ($417), a healthy return on a £228 ($272) product, but down from more than £800 ($953) last spring.
Perhaps the real mission of the Mission to Moonshine is to reignite the scarcity problem. It’s only available today, and only in four locations worldwide: in Tokyo, where it went on sale at 9:30 JST, and in Milan, Zurich, and London, not in the US. All the locations, Swatch says, have a thematic link to gold: the City of London (where the watch goes on sale at 6:30pm in a pop-up at the Royal Exchange, the historic financial trading hub) is where gold prices are set, while Zurich’s Paradeplatz is the central hub of the city’s banking district.