Swatch has launched its own version of the high-end Omega Speedmaster watch. The timepiece’s price is about one-twentieth of that of the original made by Omega and, obviously, it has specifications that can’t beat its luxury reference by any means. It’s simply featuring the same key design elements and carries the Omega logo. First batches got sold out quickly, and some of these pieces are now offered online – for multiple times the price. Ironically enough, watches with almost the same price tag as an entry model of the original Omega watch have been spotted. Sounds a like a success in the first place.
What's going on here, exactly? This is a rather unconventional cobranding case, I think. Cobranding typically is about two brands in different industries sharing similar key values. Then there's no rivalry; it's simply an opportunity to be strengthened by the reputation of the other brand. In this case, however, it's about brands in the same industry. As a matter of fact, they are part of the same group, which makes it a little more understandable again. Luxurious Omega simply lends its brand name and Speedmaster design elements to trendy sibling Swatch, enabling practically everyone to own an "Omega timepiece". Nice, but it seems like little thinking has gone into the possible consequences: first quality issues are reported by disappointed customers already. The Omega logo on the dial raises expectations that the Swatch under it simply can't meet. For Swatch – despite delivering a product that is as good as others in its portfolio – this means negative customer experiences; for Omega, exclusivity gets a little dented. I don't think this will pay off in the long run.