Omega and Swatch have come together to create a truly galactic watch, in every sense of the word. Appropriate, because the collaborative Speedmaster “MoonSwatch” is something of a first for the contemporary timepiece market.
Watch collaborations are definitely not new – last year we saw efforts from Audemars Piguet x Marvel, TAG Heuer x Nintendo and Bulgari x MB&F, to name a few – but a partnership between two Swiss watch giants draws more of a parallel to the macro scale fashion collaborations that have come to infiltrate the fashion industry, like adidas x Gucci, Yeezy GAP Engineered by Balenciaga, and Fendace.
Swatch and Omega, who both belong to the Swatch Group, are worthy partners with quite the watch legacy between them.
In the early '80s, during what is famously known as the Quartz Crisis, Swatch swooped in and kept the Swiss watchmaking industry afloat. Omega created the Speedmaster; which was first worn in space by Wally Schirra in 1962 by way of the astronaut's personal second-generation Speedmaster ref CK 2998.
A few years later, having undergone brutal testing, the Speedmaster was officially NASA-approved, and in 1969 during the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the Speedmaster (ref 105.012) became the first-ever watch worn on the moon.
Hence why the Speedmaster was the perfect base for the MoonSwatch, which launches on Swatch's website and at its stores on March 26. Of course, the collaboration draws inspiration not just from the moon, but from all of space: it comprises 11 Swatches named after 11 planetary bodies.
The watches, priced at $260, are all bioceramic and come in brighter shades as well as more muted tones, depending on the planet they descend from. There’s a "Mission to the Moon" watch – which is perhaps the most classic looking of the bunch – a replica of the traditional Moonwatch colorway: black dial, subdials and bezel, luminous hands, and hour markers.
The Mission to Mars watch is for the real Speedmaster nerds out there; a tribute to the Alaska project, a code name used by Omega for all Speedmaster/NASA development. In 2008, Omega released a limited series of 1,970 watches to commemorate the Alaska Project prototypes of the early '70s.
The watch is famous for its removable red aluminum donut-shaped case which would theoretically resist temperatures from 150 degrees C to 260 degrees C, and its Gemini capsule hands on the subdials to ensure perfect readability under adverse conditions.
Other colors include a bright yellow "Mission to the Sun" watch, a brown beige combination for "Mission to Saturn" with Saturn’s rings at six o’clock and a powdery pink "Mission to Venus" – the planet of love. On each case back you will find a battery cover that features a depiction of its planet, evocative of the “Moon to Mars” Speedmaster subdials.
All of the watches come with a Spacesuit-ready velcro strap, a historical nod to NASA requirements; all Apollo astronauts had to wear their Speedmaster on velcro for purely functional reasons, allowing them to strap the watches over their bulky space-suits.
The MoonSwatch is a fun take on a heavy-hitting watch icon that holds serious collector weight in the watch space.
With classic vintage Speedmaster features such as the famous tachymeter scale with dot over ninety, the collaboration brings this chronograph legend into a more accessible space (no pun intended).