Vintage-inspired electronics company Crosley has collaborated with Fossil on a pair of limited-edition watches that take their design queues from the vinyl Crosley has endeavored to make popular with a new generation. Although Fossil watches are seen mostly as a fashion accessory, rather than particularly groundbreaking timepieces, the company’s important role in the history of mechanical watchmaking affords the brand a fair bit of rope. With the Crosley × Fossil watches, we have a fun, self-aware design that is in keeping with the brand’s trademark American vibe.
In the 1980s, Fossil was one of the major players in reinventing the perception of the wristwatch. Along with Guess, and in the wake of Swatch’s success, Fossil was one of the first companies to treat watches as aesthetic adornments rather than essential tools. As such, the brand released seasonal collections in much more adventurous styles than many pre-quartz brands would have countenanced. The affordability and playfulness of the designs endeared the brand to a new, fashionably experimental generation, but it was perhaps the packaging that was the main selling point.
Fossil has, for many years, been renowned for the colorful tins in which their watches are sold. They are, in all seriousness, collectors’ items in their own right and, for many people, more desirable and interesting than some of the watches they house. It is very nice to see that the Crosley × Fossil watches have retained this trait. The tin, in this case, is a smart, typically 1950s-style package in black, cool gray, and rose gold printing. Pleasingly, the packaging coordinates nicely with the special edition record player that is being released alongside the two watches.
Actually, the record player itself seems quite a bargain in comparison to the watches that have been created to honor the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records. At just $89.95, the record player comes equipped with Bluetooth speakers. Given that I already own a (bright pink) Crosley turntable, I can appreciate how useful this inclusion is, as the compact, portable style of the music player is somewhat let down by its piffling in-built speakers. These Bluetooth additions will, no doubt, pack a bit more oomph and make the listening experience more enjoyable.
These two limited-edition watches take their cues from Crosley’s iconic turntables. The dials are grooved like a record, and the hour and minute hands are topped by a neat seconds indicator that is a circular disc decorated to look like the centrally located label of a vinyl. In my opinion, the brand missed a trick with the design of the time display, forsaking the option to have to time displayed in the same style as the Bell & Ross radar watch, or by more obviously styling one of the hands to be like the needle arm, and instead going with quite a standard handset. That said, the legibility is good and the time very easy to read.
You can choose between two case sizes, 42mm and 36mm. The flanks of the case are decorated with the same leather-effect cladding you’ll find on the exterior of the record player itself. There is an option of either a black or rose gold colored bezel (with the crown matching the color of this component). At $155, the Fossil × Crosley watches won’t break the bank, but neither will they set the horological world alight. Still, if you’re a big music fan, enjoy the vintage aesthetic, and find yourself in possession of a soft spot for a company that played its part in reinvigorating our shared field of interest, these cutesy limited editions are an affordable, and somewhat endearing, option. Learn more at fossil.com.