Chaos as huge crowds gather for MoonSwatch watch in Carnaby Street

Chaos as huge crowds gather for MoonSwatch watch in Carnaby Street

A watch store in Soho had to close amid chaotic scenes after large crowds turned up for the launch of an eagerly anticipated outer space-inspired collection.

The Swatch shop in 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, a customer said.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

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 said 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.

After hours of waiting in an orderly queue, late customers tried to barge their way into the store ahead of those who had been there overnight, the 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.

The MoonSwatch is an affordable take on the famous collector’s favourite Speedmaster Professional - also known as the Moonwatch because it was the first watch worn by an astronaut walking on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

Swatch has been contacted for comment.