Houston, we have lift-off: On Tuesday, Omega and Swatch launched the hotly anticipated successor to the wildly popular MoonSwatch. As the new Mission to Moonshine Gold, like its predecessors, wasn’t available online, collectors had to head to boutiques in Switzerland, Japan, Italy and the UK. Robb Report was on the ground in chilly London where lines for the timepiece began forming on Monday evening ahead of the official release at 6 p.m. UK time on Tuesday. Quite the commitment considering the country is bracing for what could be the coldest night of the year.
South West Londoner Duck Kim, who was one of the first in line, said he scoped out The Royal Exchange arcade at midday yesterday before returning at 4:30 p.m. to set up camp. His friend and fellow collector, who identified himself as Wavy Deadzo, traveled from Chelsea to join him later that evening and help safeguard the top spot. The pair was surprisingly chirpy, even as rain began to fall steadily.
“We camped out for the first MoonSwatch collection last year,” Kim said. “So this is like a real full-circle moment.”
A sizable crowd had amassed outside of the arcade as of 5 pm on Tuesday. Security had separated the line into small groups to prevent congestion, but there appeared to be more than 100 people waiting in total for the latest creation by Omega and Swatch.
The two Swiss watch titans, who are both helmed by the Swatch Group, again took design cues from the original NASA-approved Omega Speedmaster worn during the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969. The 42 mm newcomer is not drastically different from last year’s MoonSwatch watches, though. It features the same “bioceramic” (read: plastic) case as its 11 predecessors, which were each named and styled after a planet in the solar system. It also has a similar black colorway as the Mission to the Moon model. This time around, however, the seconds hand was made of Omega’s proprietary “Moonshine Gold.” The 18-karat yellow gold alloy is softer and paler than traditional gold. Omega claims it is also resistant to fading over time. To top it off, each golden seconds hand was produced under a full moon. (You get a special certificate stating that, too.)
The watch may not be the elevated, all-gold model some were expecting, but it is still exclusive due to the nature of the in-person release. The Mission to Moonshine Gold can only be purchased today in London, Milan, Tokyo or Zurich. The cities were reportedly picked due to their connection to gold. London, for instance, sets the prices for gold that are considered the international standard. This, in turn, will likely see the new model fetch a premium on the resale market. Indeed, last year’s releases were selling for up to $1,200 on the secondary market. The majority of people I spoke to in London, however, did not seem interested in parting with their new additions.
Kim, who has managed to collect all 11 models over the past year, told me he’s “a collector, not a reseller.” So too is his friend. Another gent, who came all the way from Liverpool last night and joined the line at 7 am this morning, said he had seven of the originals and is just missing Neptune, Uranus, Venus and the Sun.
So, what happens if you miss out? Swatch has hinted that there may be another event like this in the future that coincides—wait for it—with a full moon. If you can’t wait, be prepared to pay a little more than the CHF 275 (approximately $295 at current exchange) retail price. At least one UK reseller has already listed the watch on eBay. It has a current bid of £2,500, just over $3,000 at today’s exchange rate.