How the Secret ‘Project Galileo’ Gave Rise to the MoonSwatch

“I was thinking, how can we make Bioceramic become more of a reality, because it’s technical and difficult to communicate,” Hayek explains. Other Swatch Group manufacturers had been curious about working with the materials; whereas Hayek was decided that it ought to stay a Swatch product solely, he was conscious that the standing and heritage of a basic watch may increase Bioceramic’s profile. Hayek confirmed me early prototypes for potential Bioceramic variations of Blaincpain’s well-known dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms, and Omega’s Seamaster 300. But there was solely ever one actual contender.

“We were doing the NASA Swatch [released in late 2021], and it made me think about the Speedmaster,” he says. “It was on the Moon, it played a principal role in one of the most mythical moments in world history: There’s a real story to be told to many young people in the world who don’t know it. I thought a collaboration between Swatch, an icon, and the Omega Speedmaster, another icon … that would be a real provocation.”

Hayek had a Speedmaster prototype made on the quiet and confirmed it to the curator of Omega’s museum, Petros Protopapas, who gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Raynald Aeschlimann, Omega’s CEO, took extra convincing. “At first he was pale when he saw the Omega Speedmaster as a Swatch, with a quartz movement,” says Hayek. “I said maybe we could do it as a customer service watch while you’re getting your Speedmaster serviced. He said okay, we can think about it.” Once Aeschlimann noticed a extra absolutely realized product, nonetheless, he was offered. 

In the meantime Hayek was ready to poach Omega’s head of product, Gregory Kissling, to oversee “Galileo,” the inner undertaking code identify, which was performed in complete secrecy inside Swatch. “A Swatch person would have done me a Swatch. Gregory understood that he’s not making an Omega product, but he’s not making only a Swatch product. I needed that Omega input,” Hayek says. 

OMEGA Ultraman Speedmaster

Photograph: OMEGA

OMEGA Alaska Project

Photograph: Swatch Group

It was Kissling who considered creating watches linked to the colours of the photo voltaic system and together with references to historic Speedmaster iterations. The red-and-white Mission to Mars model, for example, with its unusually formed chronograph palms, is impressed by the white dial and enormous crimson outer casing of prototypes made in the early Seventies for the “Alaska Project,” a short-lived analysis program to produce the final look ahead to area journey. The orange detailing discovered on the Jupiter mannequin quotes the so-called Ultraman Speedmaster worn in a Japanese TV present from the ’70s of the identical identify, one other collector favourite. 

Conversely, the MoonSwatch’s chronograph structure is the factor that exhibits most clearly that it’s a Swatch. The chrono motion that the model has been utilizing for years has the two higher subdials positioned at 10 and a couple of o’clock moderately than at 9 and three o’clock. Only the third subdial, at 6 o’clock, straight emulates the authentic Omega Moonwatch.

The two higher subdials of the MoonSwatch barely differ in location to the authentic Omega Moonwatch

Photograph: Swatch Group

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