There are few industries that are as steeped in tradition and history as the world of luxury watches. The cynics out there may go so far as to say the watch universe is stuffy and takes itself a little too seriously – and if I’m honest, I’m one of them. That’s why I love seeing unexpected collaborations and innovations that break the mold and bring a breath of fresh air to our beloved hobby. Even if they sometimes overshoot the mark, these experiments are entertaining to say the least. So, here are three of the craziest and wackiest watch collabs the world has seen to date.
Icon Rethought: Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms
Compared to what’s to come on this list, our first choice seems almost standard issue. I wouldn’t really call the recent collaboration between Swatch and Blancpain crazy, but it certainly took me by surprise. As a fixture in modern pop culture and one of the most famous watch models of all time, the Omega Speedmaster was almost predestined for this sort of thing. But the same can’t really be said for Blancpain and the Fifty Fathoms; in part because the brand is very traditional and a favorite among connoisseurs more than the masses.
The Fifty Fathoms is nowhere near as popular as the Moonwatch, making the Blancpain x Swatch collab a bit bewildering next to the MoonSwatch. That aside, the resulting timepiece is impressive and has been created with the utmost attention to detail. The five different variants are a homage to our world’s oceans, the NATO strap is made of recycled fishing nets, and the general design comes very close to the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, except for the bold color schemes and preferable 42-mm diameter. And in contrast to the MoonSwatch, you get to enjoy a mechanical movement.
The Swatch X Blancpain Scuba Fifty-Fathoms features an automatic SISTEM51 caliber with a 90-hour power reserve and anti-magnetic components. To be honest, anything less wouldn’t have made sense with this pairing. After all, Blancpain is a brand for true watch lovers, right? In any case, this daring move will certainly bring Blancpain more into the limelight – akin to the effect the polarizing MoonSwatch had on Moonwatch sales figures.
Not So Serious: Oris Pro Pilot X Kermit Edition
First off, no, Oris did not release a green watch in an otherworldly collaboration with Rolex. Here, Kermit is actually a reference to the frog from The Muppet Show. Oris set out to create a watch that brings people joy and puts a smile on their faces – and thus, the Oris Pro Pilot X Kermit Edition was born. At its core, this watch is the popular Pro Pilot, which is made of lightweight titanium and measures 39 mm across – the ideal size for many wrists. Same as the standard variant, the Kermit Edition boasts an in-house movement with a date display at 6 o’clock, anti-magnetic properties, and a whopping five-day power reserve. When you take the watch off, you can admire the beautifully decorated movement through the sapphire crystal case back. Of course, this version of the Oris Pro Pilot X wouldn’t deserve the title Kermit without a bright green dial. The truly standout feature, however, is undoubtedly the frog itself. This now-retired amphibian is visible in the date window on the first day of every month, aptly deemed “Kermit Day.” All in all, this is a pretty wacky collaboration that is refreshingly different. That said, you really need to love The Muppets to buy this watch. Priced at around $4,000, the Oris Pro Pilot X Kermit Edition isn’t exactly cheap fun.
Coffee pod or watch? Hublot Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin
Right, what follows is literally the strangest collaboration between two brands I have ever seen in the watch world. Ready? Hublot and Nespresso. Yes, you read that correctly. The Hublot Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin is the world’s first watch to be made from used coffee grounds and Nespresso pods. Limited to just 200 pieces, this watch has a strap containing recycled coffee grounds and a case, bezel, crown, and push-pieces made from recycled aluminum Nespresso pods. While the watch’s green hue doesn’t immediately give its origins away, the recognizable Nespresso logo definitely seals the deal. The timepiece boasts an automatic in-house Unico movement – not always standard with Hublot, and a major point of criticism among fans – which can be viewed from both sides thanks to a skeletonized dial and offers an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The official list price is 25,200 euros (approx. $26,500), making it a rather expensive gimmick. I can’t think of any other watch collab that is quite this out there; it’s certainly a contender for the craziest watch marketing moves ever, even if I can’t shake the feeling that Hublot actually takes this watch rather seriously…
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