1969 and the Moon landing aside, 2022 may be the greatest year the Omega Speedmaster has ever known. The iconic chronograph saw its classic ’57 collection revamped, broke horological boundaries with the Chrono Chime and finally made it to the wish-list of millions who had perhaps never heard of it before, through an unprecedented collaboration with the brand’s little sister Swatch. For the first ever Made in Bienne watch of the year election, it seems natural that the partnership between the two most famous watch companies headquartered in our city won the first place.
The race was a tight one. A fight of Speedmasters, who each won their group stage vote the week before. Of course, the “all or nothing” nature of the vote meant that things could go in many directions. Some of you chose to reward horological prowess, knowing that at its production volume (and price), the Chrono Chime is a watch that will only ever land on a handful of wrists. Others went for what they perhaps saw as the best traditional mechanical watch they could consider purchasing for themselves, choosing the Speedmaster ’57, and its many subtle improvements from the previous generation. With just under 30% of the vote, those two ended up neck and neck, with a marginal advantage for the second one mentioned.
Before we move onto the winner, I also want to call out the only non-Speedmaster watch among the four finalists, chosen by about a tenth of the voters. The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is a beautiful, poetic and very unique timepiece. It’s no surprise it won the best complication award at GPHG earlier this year for both women and men’s categories. I noticed, among my friends who told me who they voted for, that many of those into high horology and independent watchmaking chose the Hermès. While the French brand’s Swiss watches may be a bit under the radar compared to some of the most visible Bienne brands, they are gaining more and more attention from collectors, and its presence among the finalists is well deserved.
And so, the MoonSwatch. As the ambassador of the Speedmaster ’57 would say in one of his other gigs: “What else?” While the race was tighter than many predicted (starting with myself), it certainly makes a lot of sense that the bioceramic collab ended up as the winner, with 35% of the vote.
The teasing, the surprise, the variations, the affordability, the crowds, the frustration, the impact on demand for the “real” Speedmaster, the mainstream media coverage… The MoonSwatch will be remembered, discussed and studied for decades to come. It’s a reminder of the fantastic creativity of those who set the Swiss watch industry back on track four decades ago. It tells us that even though watches all serve more or less the same function, they are a canvas for endless expression of human imagination. And that’s why we love them so much, often beyond reason.
Congratulations to the teams at Swatch and Omega! And a huge thanks to all of you who took the time to nominate your favorite watches, and vote.
The MoonSwatch was discussed in a few MiB blog posts throughout the year. Here they are, in chronological order, if you’d like to immerse yourself and celebrate a bit further the Bienne Watch of the Year :