Earlier this year, Swatch revealed that they sold over one million MoonSwatches in less than 12 months. This might seem like an incredible feat at first, but we need more stats to determine if selling one million watches actually is the huge accomplishment Swatch wants us to believe it is. For a better comparison, let’s look at how many watches other manufacturers sell every year.
An Outsider Tops the Charts
When it comes to watch sales, no one comes close to Apple and their Apple Watch. The tech giant sold over 53 million units of their smartwatch in 2022 alone – that’s 3.5 times more annual sales than the entire Swiss watch industry combined. Compared with that figure, one million MoonSwatches seems like a drop in the bucket. Although, if we’re being fair, people aren’t buying the Apple Watch with the sole purpose of telling the time, but it’s an interesting fact nonetheless.
Let’s forget Apple for a moment and focus on some brands in the same realm as Swatch. My mind instantly jumps to Casio, and although Casio and Swatch produce some very different watches, they do share some common ground: They both produce quartz watches, operate in the same price range, and are household names in the watchmaking industry. Casio’s flagship models are those in the G-Shock line, which boasts sales figures far above those of their Swiss counterpart. Although the numbers have declined ever so slightly in recent years, they are still miles ahead of those for the MoonSwatch. In fact, according to GlobalData, Casio sells almost 8 million G-Shocks every single year.
But how do things look among other Swiss manufacturers? Swatch has been the clear winner in terms of sales for years. Morgan Stanley estimates that the manufacturer peddled around 3.2 million watches in 2022, meaning the MoonSwatch accounted for one third of their overall sales. Swatch’s biggest competitor is Tissot, which came in a close second with an estimated 3.1 million units sold. However, their product catalog consists of eleven different collections with countless models in each, so it’s unlikely that any one series broke the million-unit mark. Even industry heavyweight Rolex can’t hold a candle to the MoonSwatch. According to Morgan Stanley, 1.05 million Rolex watches were unboxed by consumers in 2022, but again, this figure is divided between the brand’s entire range of models.
Of course, we can’t ignore Omega in this comparison. After all, the MoonSwatch is the affordable alternative to the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Omega’s output is nowhere near as high as Swatch’s. Morgan Stanley’s “State of the Industry – Swiss Watchmaking” report indicates that the total sum of all Speedmaster, Seamaster, De Ville, and Constellation models sold in 2022 amounts to 570,000. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that sales of the Omega Moonwatch rose by double digits following the launch of the MoonSwatch. However, he did not give exact figures.
The Difference Between Sales and Revenue
We should also consider each brand’s renevue alongside their sales figures. Morgan Stanley’s data puts Swatch in last place among the manufacturers mentioned so far, with a total revenue of around CHF 214 million in 2022 (approx. $231 million). Tissot brought in CHF 850 million (approx. $917 million) in the same period; in other words, around four times as much. According to the report, Omega was one of the highest earners in the Swiss watch industry in 2022, generating CHF 2.2 billion ($2.4 billion). The clear leader is Rolex, however, with an estimated annual turnover of CHF 8.05 billion ($8.7 billion).
These results shouldn’t come as a surprise; Rolex and Omega are in a completely different price bracket than Swatch. Omega’s 570,000 watches are ten times more profitable than Swatch’s 3.2 million watches.
For a manufacturer like Swatch, selling one million MoonSwatches is a respectable achievement, but they definitely aren’t in danger of breaking any records. Casio sold eight times as many G-Shocks in the same time frame, and Tissot is hot on Swatch’s tail with their sales figures. Swiss titans like Omega and Rolex may sell fewer watches than Swatch, but they still take home higher sums.
Objectively speaking, Swatch selling one million MoonSwatches is a nothing more than a catchy marketing headline.