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Swatch Carnaby Street shop forced to shut after crowds rush for launch of new £200 watch

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A Carnaby Street store was forced to close after huge crowds rushed to the launch of a new high-tech watch. Customers travelled from up and down the country to Central London to get their hands on Swatch’s new product, but even those who turned up as early as 6.30aam on Saturday morning (March 26) left empty-handed.

Huw Rowlands, 41, who travelled from Cardiff by coach at 3am, told MyLondon he arrived to find queues already stretched hundreds of metres down the street for Swatch’s £207 MoonSwatch. He said Swatch had “massively underestimated the interest of the Moonswatch, with police even rushing to the scene by 9am.

The Omega x Moonswatch launch has seen similarly massive crowds all over the world, with hundreds of people turning up to the launch in Frankfurt, Germany. Queues at the London store were said to be six people deep at the entrance with “no order whatsoever” despite the watch not being on a limited run.

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The Omega x Swatch collaboration is a collection of solar system-inspired watches based on Omega’s Moonwatch, the first wristwatch worn on the moon, but available for a fraction of the price

Huw said: “They massively underestimated demand. I understand creating hype, but there was a complete lack of crowd control. The queue broke down at the front with a mod at the door resulting in the store having to be temporarily closed and the police called shortly after 9am.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t get a watch, although it was a risk I was willing to take. It’s annoying I never stood a chance – absolutely zero – and Swatch knew this from the carnage of the Australian launch. It’s cost me over £100 [to get here] and has been a waste of my day. At least with an online launch, the website crashes and just you try again later. Seems to have worked for them though. There was a queue at the Omega store just to look at them through the window.”

David Noble, 47, from East Finchley, told MyLondon : “A friend of mine sent me the heads up that this watch was coming out and I was in the area so I walked over yesterday and saw a few people around with bags. They were hardcore collectors talking about various watches.

“I rocked up at around 8.30am so I thought ‘I’ll do it’ I couldn’t believe what I saw. Not only was I met with a super long queue, I then saw a massive out of control scrimmage by the shop entrance – there was no order whatsoever. Brits normally are good at queueing but there was a failure.

“How they were gonna organise things I have no idea. If you look on eBay there are already some being auctioned off for £750 to £1,000. It’s not going to be a limited run, so it was a proper PR stunt.

“It’s a lot of time people have sacrificed – time and money. I wonder what Swatch will be doing for them to thank them for making such a success of their PR stunt.”

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‘It’s cost me over £100 to get here and has been a waste of my day’

A spokesperson for Swatch said: “Swatch has closed its London stores for health and safety measures. Thank you for understanding. We are very sorry but due to unprecedented health and safety reasons, we have had to close our Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Oxford Street stores. We will update you soon.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/swatch-carnaby-street-shut-forced-23510126