Moonswatch Madness

…unabated. A month after the launch of the most desirable timepiece of the year, the showcase is still empty. Shoppers are told by Swatch: “visit us regularly”

At the ION Orchard Swatch store, scene of the confrontation between security personnel at the launch of the over-hyped and over-loved Moonswatch exactly a month ago, an organically-shaped, pentagon showcase fronting the smallish space was left surprising empty. Not a single piece of merchandise was seen beneath the glass top, not even a prop. The base of the display unit is plastered with a depiction of a group of planets and emblazoned with “Bioceramic Moonswatch Collection” above. It left one in no doubt as to what it was supposed to house. But empty it clearly was. It could have been the aftermath of a heist!

By now, our interest in the Omega X Swatch collaboration has, admittedly, waned. Not because of the difficulty in scoring something not of limited issue, but because of the very public fallout from the hype. There are people who are still angry! In any case, we were still curious about the timepiece and wanted to have a close look at it, even if we wouldn’t be allowed to touch it. We were told it appears plastic, and we wanted to see for ourself how much so. But as soon as we neared the Swatch store, we knew it was not meant to be.

Not because of the difficulty in scoring something not of limited issue, but because of the very public fallout from the hype

We asked a sales guy if there would be stock coming in. Helpfully, he said, “Don’t know when the next stock will arrive. We have not been told.” Was there ever stock replenishment after the raucous launch? “Yes,” he offered as-a-matter-of-factly. “Once.” And when was that? “About two weeks ago.” We turned to browse at whatever they had. Three groups of people within a minute approached the same fellow to ask him about the Moonswatch. And to each, he had the same answer: everything in the negative. The inquirers did not appear to be disappointed; they happily accepted the bad news.

A notice, protected by acrylic, addressed to the “Moonswatch fan” (Swatch was not aware that there were seriously many?) read: “We are overwhelmed by your fantastic support and by your extraordinary enthusiasm for the Bioceramic Moonswatch Collection. We do our best to fulfil demand and we hope that anyone who is moonstruck… will soon be able to lay their hands on one of these watches (they were in the mood to pun!).” It wrapped up with, “Visit us regularly, as the store will be supplied as production permits.” How regularly are those interested expected to come back? Daily? Weekly? Fortnightly?

Passing the guy on our way out, we remarked, “Wow, there are still many people interested”. The rejoinder was swift: “We get 200 calls and walk-in inquiries a day.” Two hundred, did you say? One thousand four hundred a week? “Yes. Two. Hundred.” Do you take reservations? “No reservation allowed. To be fair to everybody.” And how often do we have to come and check for availability? The guy was probably bored by our questions by now. But he did have a workable suggestion. “You should wait until the interest is not so high,” he said earnestly. “Or when everyone has bought their watch.” Thank you, kind sir.

Photo: Zhao Xiangji

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