There has hardly been a watchmaking collab as hyped up as the Swatch and Omega MoonSwatch launch.
When Swatch and Omega announced their collaboration on the MoonSwatch, the entire world took notice and jumped at the chance to get their hands on one of the brightly coloured, Speedmaster-inspired quartz watches. The unprecedented demand for the watches left Swatch completely overwhelmed on the day of the launch, however, and many an enthusiast left disappointed and empty-handed.
Not everyone in line was an enthusiast, of course, many who got their hands on the watches ended up trading them for profit – the latest figures released by StockX, the leading global platform for consuming and trading current culture, saw nearly 2,000 trades of the Swatch x Omega collection in less than a week, with the highest premiums it has ever seen in the watch category.
Since March 26, StockX reports that the average MoonSwatch trades for an average price of US$900, which is 250 percent above retail, with the Mission to the Moon version being the best-selling of the collection so far, and the Mission to Uranus version being the most valuable, reaching an average price of US$1040 on the market.
“The success of Swatch has always been powered by collabs,” says Jesse Einhorn, Senior Economist at StockX. “Prior to the Omega collaboration, the most successful Swatch collab was their partnership with BAPE.”
Already a fairly popular watch brand on StockX in general, Swatch ranks third in terms of total trades in 2021, trailing only behind Casio and Apple. But according to Einhorn, the Swatch x Omega collaboration is “the fastest-selling watch release in StockX history. No other watch release has seen more trades in its first week on the market.”
While the MoonSwatch has yet to rival the most popular sneaker and apparel collaborations, it is definitely proven itself to be one of the most valuable and profitable releases in 2022.
“The average price premium of the Swatch x Omega collaboration, at nearly 200 percent, is far higher than the vast majority of sneaker and apparel collars we see on the platform,” says Einhorn. “Only the most hype sneaker collabs – think Off-White x Nike or Bad Bunny x Adidas – boast price premiums in that range.”
Today’s Gen Z consumers have been raised on limited-edition drops and collaborations, and it’s not uncommon to see hard-to-get sneakers, electronics, apparel, accessories and collectibles being traded on the market above retail. What’s interesting in the case of the MoonSwatch was that the collaboration was never meant to be a limited edition or a limited production. So what’s causing the chaos and the hype?
“While the Swatch Group has said that production is not limited, the activity we’ve seen on StockX suggests there is still far more demand than there is supply to meet it,” says Einhorn. “An increasing number of people who bought a Swatch x Omega watch in-store are realising the economic opportunity of their purchase and choosing to see on StockX, which is leading to an increase in the number of daily trades.”
A sad but true phenomenon indeed for those who are genuinely interested in wearing, and keeping, the watch in their own collection, but patience will pay off. Already, stores are slowly stocking up the watches and Swatch has promised – promised – us that the watches will be available online at some point.
But if we expect market prices for it to fall when that happens, think again. “If and when the Swatch x Omega collaboration releases online, we expect trade volumes to increase even further,” predicts Einhorn. “The increased supply will likely drive down resale prices but we expect to see significant long-term price premiums given the extraordinary demand for this watch.”
If anything, the MoonSwatch collaboration has proved to be an incredible case study for what watch brands can achieve together, opening the doors to more unique partnerships in the watch sector.
Einhorn agrees, saying, “Collaborations have been incredibly successful in the sneaker and streetwear space and more brands are testing this approach as they look to generate hype and build awareness with younger shoppers. In the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in unique partnerships – think Yeezy x Gap, or Supreme’s collaborations with Burberry and Tiffany & Co.
“We expect more heritage brands will look to partner with today’s most culturally relevant brands to appeal to the modern consumer in a new way.”
This article first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.