Watch: Swatch Carnaby Street store forced to close over crowd safety concerns during collection launch
A central London watch store had to close amid chaotic scenes after crowds turned up for the launch of a watch collection.
The Swatch shop in the capital’s Carnaby Street had warned customers to get there early in expectation of large queues as its Bio-Ceramic MoonSwatch collection went on sale on Saturday.
But the store ended up opening for barely half an hour after police officers were seen speaking to store staff as crowds tried to get inside.
After hours of waiting in an orderly queue, late customers had tried to barge their way into the store ahead of those who had been there overnight, a witness said.
The watches are priced at £207 if bought directly from Swatch, but some of the products are already listed on eBay for more than £3,000.
Many in the queue – some of whom had been waiting outside the store since Friday afternoon – were left “angry” and feeling “let down”, according to the witness.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: “There were about three Metropolitan police officers.
“They were clearly not really prepared for it (the crowds).
“The Swatch company didn’t appear to provide any crowd control measures at all.”
He added those present were told the shop would not reopen on Saturday, and he believed only around 10 customers were able to make it into the store before it closed.
Omega and Swatch announced the collaboration on Thursday and revealed it would be available at selected stores across the world.
There were also queues at other Swatch shops across the globe.
Watch: Police on scene in Covent Garden as large crowd present for sale of MoonSwatch
Swatch said in a statement: “Swatch has collaborated with Omega to imagine an innovative Swatch take on the Speedmaster Moonwatch.
“The unexpected, provocative and visionary partnership, a first between Swatch and Omega, is the culmination of a trend of collaborations between luxury and street brands to create innovative new products that blend the best of both worlds.
“The brands have drawn their design inspiration from space, to create a collection of eleven Swatch models named after planetary bodies, from the giant star at the centre of the solar system to the dwarf planet at its periphery.”
Swatch has been contacted for comment.