13.080 Chicken ‘n Cheese Muffin

Cycle 13 – Item 80

26 (Sat) March 2022

Chicken ‘n Cheese Muffin


at McDonald’s

-Myeong, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with MtG

Swiss watch powerhouses Swatch and Omega have collaborated to launch a line of timepieces: the MoonSwatch.  Manufactured by Swatch with quartz movements housed in their proprietary bioceramic cases, 11 colorways, each inspired by a celestial body within the Solar System, from the Sun to Pluto.  Modeled on Omega’s iconic Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch,” the stainless steel automatic chronograph worn by NASA Apollo 11 astronauts who landed on the Moon.  The logos of both brands are on the dial and the crown.  USD 260 each (compared to about USD 5,500 and upwards for the original).

The hype has been building over the past few weeks through teaser ads across major media outlets, including The New York Times, culminating on Thursday (March 24) in a full-page spread revealing the 11 models – pinned to the wall in my office, flagged in order of my preferences, starting with the Mission to Saturn.

The world, or at least the (much much tinier) watch world, went ape shit.  From professional experts to casual enthusiasts, everyone is convinced that the collaboration – “democratizing luxury” is the common theme – will have a revolutionary impact on the watch industry and watch culture, the biggest since the release of the first Apple Watch in 2015 … or maybe since the first Swatch watch in 1983 … or maybe since the first (large-scale production) quartz watch by Seiko in 1969 (coincidentally, the same year of the Apollo 11 mission) … or maybe since the first water resistant watch by Rolex in 1926 … or maybe since the first ever wrist watch by Bruguet in 1810.

As confirmed by seeing them in person, the watches (42 mm diameter / 47.34 mm lug-to-lug) appear a bit small for my wrist (20.8 cm circumference) – I prefer 44 mm and up – which is why I’ve never seriously considered getting an actual Speedy Pro.

The watches went on sale today, available exclusively at select Swatch stores around the world – in Korea, the Myeong-dong store – maximum 2 pieces per customer, KRW 331,000 each.

Leading up to the eve of the drop date, local internet chatter suggested general awareness of the impending release, but no clear indication on the level of interest.

MtG and I decided that 07:00 – in advance of the store’s 10:30 open – was the earliest that we were willing to do.

I’d wager that most were flippers.

When we arrived, a line was already in place, about 50+ pax.

A Swatch representative was walking up and down the queue explaining: (a) early yesterday morning, people had started lining up, resulting in hundreds waiting down and around the block by 11:00; (b) several neighboring stores, opening their doors for the day’s business, called the police to complain; (c) the manager of the Swatch store called Korean HQ for advice, which consulted with Switzerland HQ, and devised a system to distribute printed number stubs to the first 70 in line, instructed to return by 10:30 the following morning (today) with their stubs for first entry into the store; (d) however, due to the limited in-store stock – i.e., less than 140 pieces – all 70 could not be guaranteed a chance to purchase a unit; (e) as such, the likelihood of watches being available for purchase for anyone without a stub was extremely low.

Despite the explanation, people this morning continued to wait, presumably, in hopes that some/most of 70 didn’t show up, or some/most of them chose not to buy their allotted quotas – or, MTG speculated that the stub story could actually be a test of loyalty to scare off the unworthy and seek out the true believers, who would then be rewarded with watches.

I, unworthy, insisted that we bail and grab breakfast.

McDonald’s was the only place open.

Noshing and scrolling through the buzz feed on our phones, still hours before the store opening, we weren’t surprised to find local internet scalper sites popping with pre-offers to resell MoonSwatches at upwards of 2.5 million won (about USD 2,000) apiece – ludicrous, because the Swatch website states explicitly that the watches are not limited editions and will be made widely available very soon.

Anyway, the launching campaign was a smashing success, globally – crowds and chaos were reported in cities all over the world – arguably the biggest bang in the history of horological marketing.

The only breakfast sandwich that doesn’t include pork.

Chicken ‘n Cheese Muffin is a sandwich by McDonald’s Korea.  Deep-fried chicken patty + cheese + mayo + toasted English muffin.  Curiously, it’s not called a “McMuffin” (perhaps because it wasn’t sanctioned by the McMuffin bureau at McDonald’s HQ?).

Heavy and greasy.

Through various experiments making quick-fix burgers at home these days (see most recently 13.075 Fishkatsu Burger), I’m convinced of the critical role that acid plays in sandwiches, especially hot sandwiches, which can feel heavy and greasy without some kind of zing to provide balance, such as a slice of tomato, pickle, or even a dash of hot sauce.

(See also FAST FOOD)



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