How the Secret ‘Project Galileo’ Gave Rise to the MoonSwatch

In April, the president of the Swiss Confederation (and de facto head of state), Ignazio Cassis, visited Japan to maintain talks with the nation’s prime minister, Kishida Fumio. As is customary, presents had been to be exchanged, and Cassis’ workplace requested an instance of what had simply turn out to be the hottest Swiss watch to launch in years, if not many years: the MoonSwatch, a $260 Swatch-produced model of Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch, the chronograph well-known for being worn by NASA astronauts on the moon. 

The Swiss president, nevertheless, was out of luck. “We were pleased, but we told them, the only way that he can get the watch is if he sends someone from his office queueing and hoping that at the Swatch shop in Bern they can find it,” says Nick Hayek Jr., chief government of Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch producer, which owns each the Swatch and Omega manufacturers. 

Hayek, a 67-year-old billionaire who drives himself to work in a Mini and has a pirate’s flag flying outdoors his workplace, prides himself on the incontrovertible fact that privileged entry—a function of the luxurious watch world—is totally absent with the MoonSwatch regardless of the intense demand. “It doesn’t help if you have deep pockets. The Patek Philippe and Rolex client, the Breguet client, the Richard Mille client, they all rang. They all want one. But even if you give us $10,000, it makes no difference. You have to wait, you have to buy it in the store. That’s the game changer.”

But discovering the MoonSwatch at any Swatch store wherever has been a query of luck, timing, and sheer endurance since its launch on March 26 to scenes of pandemonium round the globe. 

News had been dripped out steadily throughout the previous week. On March 17, cryptic advertisements appeared in choose newspapers with clean pages bearing the legend: “It’s time to change your Omega … Swatch” and “It’s time to change your Swatch … Omega.” Social media feeds hinted at one thing with a planetary theme earlier than the timepieces had been introduced on March 24: eleven Swatch watches faithfully resembling the iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch, however battery-powered, in shiny colours, and made out of Swatch’s ecoplastic different, Bioceramic

The colorways had been impressed by planets in the photo voltaic system: there was the Mission to the Sun in shiny yellow, the Mission to Neptune in deep blue, the Mission to Jupiter in beige and orange, and naturally the black Mission to the Moon, carefully resembling the Omega unique. 

Photograph: Swatch Group

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