Remember the Swatch net hunting a few weeks ago? We tried really hard to win the competition with our team and eventually got the second prize. Not bad at all and having so much fun with our team was definitely worth the effort. Turned out the winner team had to reschedule the trip they won so Swatch generously asked our team if we would like to come to the London Swatch event instead of the winners. We were thrilled and naturally wanted to go! Meeting each other and having a little meeting with Mika at the Swatch store (this time without the usual queueing) sounded luxurious enough and we didn’t have any other expectations.
However, Swatch had beautifully organized us a lovely detailed schedule for the event day and treated us like special very important customers and we had an absolutely amazing day with their club member/marketing team members from Switzerland and London! I really appreciated how everything was handled. Maybe a bit old-fashioned but I like it that companies pay attention to details and atmosphere and not only to the final product and this way our team didn’t get only a trip and watches but also something to remember for years to come. I saw they take a special care of their own long-time customers but as the whole trip was like a bonus to us (and Swatch didn’t have any official obligation to organize us anything extra) it felt a nice and respectful gesture they took such a good care of Mika fans as well.
We did a sight seeing tour after breakfast and Swatch had booked us not only a car and a driver but also a personal guide and a professional photographer to take a few photos for us as a memory (I haven’t seen the photos yet but hope to get them later as I didn’t take much photos myself for that reason). We went to see a market place and spent some time at Tate Modern watching the Paul Klee expedition. Everything was lovely and relaxed and our host Giusy had actually checked every restaurant and cafe we visited in advance to make sure they had suitable gluten-free options (and bought us pretty gluten-free cup cakes from Lola’s for a snack).
After the gallery visit and lunch we headed to the London Swatch store to be there surely on time for Mika’s signing session. The tiny store had everything ready for him. He came and started the session and we had a possibility to have our watches signed and have a couple of words and a group photo with him (as our Swatch team had promised) before he started the official signing for the people waiting outside the store.
Mika had generously decided to offer his fans a party after the signing (we got tickets with an address to a pub near the store) and we all looked forward to seeing our friends and maybe even Mika himself again as he had tweeted about his plans to pop in at the party. We had heard about the party in advance but I didn’t expect him to be there personally (well he saw everyone at the store just an hour before) so I thought that coming to the pub and saying hi to his fans was an incredibly sweet thing to do. He was probably in a hurry but also looked like he would love to have a beer so a bit shame people didn’t give him much space to have one. He did a little speech to his UK fans and said hi to a few nearest tables and left soon after that. I still didn’t have a feeling people were rude on purpose, they just didn’t seem to know how to behave in that situation and the people crowding around him were mostly people who saw him for the first time while most of the long time fans were sitting at tables and chatting. Also, as we were sitting in the middle table we were lucky to say quick good bye to him (probably won’t meet him for a long time).
Sometimes people don’t know what to do when meeting famous people. I have never met any huge celebrity but those somehow famous people I’ve met have always been like any of us. They just happen to be in publicity because of their work etc. They can be shy to meet new people (like any of us can be) and talking to them becomes easier when you meet them again (like it is with everyone). Mika is sweet and down-to-earth, someone you can imagine enjoying simple things in life (like playing with his dog) so he is easy to talk with. His natural politeness makes me always wish my English was better (so I could sound a bit more polite than I do) but I guess I nowadays worry about my language skills less than I used to.
I really enjoyed the party and meeting everyone (both familiar faces and some new people) and our whole team and everyone I talked to seemed to have a good time. I probably had a bit too much to drink (I think the saturation point goes at a glass of wine, after that my English goes only worse, lol!) but luckily our Swatch team came and offered us a late dinner in a very fancy restaurant and we had time to talk about the competition and meet some Swatch collectors (very much like Mika fans with their hobby). A huge thank you to my team mates Karin and Lara for the company during the trip, to the Swatch team for taking such good care of us and to Mika for being his lovely himself. A few pics from the pub below.