Does the Moonswatch need to die?

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This morning I woke up, looked at my instagram feed and all I saw was the Neptune Moonswatch posted by all the big publications,

I saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld once, he was talking about the end of his almost decade – long sitcom.

Seinfeld ran for nine seasons from 1989 to 1998, and was loved by millions of people around the world. He spoke about why they ended it just before the tenth season.

Jerry relates it to standup comedy when he says; “I get on stage, and I'll do an hour or an hour-and-ten or fifteen minutes or something, but there's that moment when you're on stage when you just feel — and you learn it, takes years to learn it — that this is the moment. And you just get off stage then,"

The Cast of Seinfeld
The Cast of Seinfeld

He goes on to say; "I just sensed that moment was coming. And believe me, they offered me a lot of money to stay."

Ending something at its peak can be a difficult thing, but when you think about your legacy, like Jerry does, it becomes clear that the way people remember you is all that matters. We all remember Seinfeld as the show that was great until the end. There was no slow decline.

How does this all relate to watches? Well, apart from Jerry being a massive Breitling fan, wearing a Chronomat for most of the show. The constant re-edition of the Moonswatch feels, to me, like we are up to the tenth season, and it’s time to call it a day.
Brands are often guilty of doing things to death, extracting every last dollar until all that’s left is a tattered reputation and memories of lines out the door.

It’s time to talk about the Moonswatch.

This morning I woke up, looked at my instagram feed and all I saw was the Neptune Moonswatch posted by all the big publications, with captions like “they’ve done it again!”, “Get ready to line up” and “It’s destined to be hard to get”.
That last one made my skin crawl….

The new Neptune Moonswatch
The new Neptune Moonswatch

This release, The Neptune with a moonshine gold-plated seconds hand, is the latest in a line of collaborative watches between Omega and Swatch. The first drop of 11 pieces exploded onto the scene in 2022 and since, we’ve had several special editions.
The question that comes to my mind is when will it end? What are the costs (reputation wise) for both Swatch and Omega? And is the extra money earnt by the releases worth the damage done?

Independence vs group ownership

Comparison between brands is a lazy way to make a point, but you know what, in this case it’s the best way to do it.
When we discuss ownership, there are two different types of watch companies. Independent and group owned.
The former, brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, can make decisions based on long-term brand value and the latter, brands like Swatch and Omega, are owned by large conglomerates that are more focussed on shareholder profits.

The Moonswatch and Omega Speedmaster
The Moonswatch and Omega Speedmaster

You can see the difference in the repetitional value of, say, Rolex vs Omega. I’m not saying either brand is better than the other, I’m just pointing out the difference in management styles. Rolex will discontinue something if it gets too popular, sacrificing short-term profits in favour of the long term. Look at the 41 mm Tiffany Oyster Perpetual for example. Swatch will see an opportunity for sales and take it.

Be like James Dean.

I think the Moonswatch is a cool thing, don’t get me wrong. But if they had just released the original, produced enough that we could all get one, then turned off the tap, the impact on us all would have been greater than it is now.
James Dean died when he was 24, and maybe he wouldn’t have been remembered as a legend if he was still alive and did a few shitty movies later in his life.
If only the management at the Swatch Group had the courage to stop when they are ahead, and had the patience to reap the rewards later. Perhaps when their customers grow up, they would buy an Omega instead of another swatch with a gold-plated seconds hand.

Lines for the original Moonswatch release
Lines for the original Moonswatch release

The Swatch group did something incredible, they bridged the gap between two brands that were worlds apart and made the less wealthy among us feel a part of this hobby more than ever. They will always have that in their legacy, and I think it’s something they can be proud of. But I also think that with every new Moosnwatch they release, the more diluted that legacy will be.

As Jerry said, “I sometimes think we really shouldn't have even done the episode”

It’s best to leave people hungry.

See you in the next one x.

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