Budget Omega watch attracts throngs of buyers and shakes up Swatch stock
(Bloomberg) – Shares of Swatch Group AG gained on Monday after the release of a discounted Swatch version of the Omega Speedmaster watch caused stores to swarm over the weekend.
From Melbourne to Hong Kong to Geneva, thousands of shoppers lined up for the new watches, a collaboration between the Swiss watchmaker’s luxury brand Omega and its entry-level brand Swatch. Called MoonSwatch, the $260 watch resembles the iconic Speedmaster Professional, known as the “Moon Watch” because it was worn by American astronauts.
Swatch shares were up 5.3% in early trading.
Reminiscent of H&M’s 2004 collaboration with luxury designer Karl Lagerfeld, the MoonSwatch represents an unusual strategy by Swatch Group, sparking new interest in its timepieces by offering a taste of luxury at an affordable price. The company hopes to reverse a recent trend of low-priced watches lagging behind a sharp rebound in high-priced watches.
A Swatch Group spokesperson said the company was “delighted” with the surge in interest and that while stores ran out of stock over the weekend, they were not sold out.
“The watches are not limited or numbered and are available at selected Swatch stores,” the spokesperson said via email. “There will be more opportunities to buy your favorite in the coming weeks.”
The Omega MoonSwatch costs a fraction of the prices of Omega Speedmaster Professional, which start at around 6,300 Swiss Francs ($6,700). The new model has already appeared on online auction site Ebay as buyers attempt to resell them.
On Saturday in Geneva, hundreds of people lined up around the block of the flagship Swatch store on rue du Marché. The crowd caused a large police presence and at least one person was arrested. A store in central London had to close when crowds tried to get inside, the Press Association reported.
Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K. Shanmugam, took to Facebook to rebuke the poor behavior of some shoppers in the city-state.
“We need to have a sense of perspective,” the politician wrote. “There is a war going on, people are suffering in many places. We don’t need to lose our heads over these situations.
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