Crowd chaos forces closure of central London store amid launch of MoonSwatch collection

Customers crowded outside the Swatch store on Carnaby Street, central London, for the launch of the MoonSwatch collection (Yui Mok/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A central London watch store 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 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, a customer said.

A retail assistant puts a ‘Store is closed’ sign in the window of the Swatch store on Carnaby Street Credit: Yui Mok/PA

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 £1,000.

Swatch has been contacted for comment.