Collaboration watches are still all the rage right now, and I find it interesting to see the outcome when a watch brand and a designer work together on a fresh idea. Most of those have been about men’s watches, but we are seeing more and more watch brand/designer collaborations for women’s watches. This SevenFriday x Papa Don’t Preach timepiece collection is one of them. It also introduces a new wristwatch platform from SevenFriday called the “C-Series,” which the company says is a “canvas” (what the “C” in C-Series stands for) for this and other artistic collaboration products. The two watches I look at are the SevenFriday C1/01 PDP in natural steel with the pink leopard on the dial, and the SevenFriday C2/01 PDP.

Many people know “Papa Don’t Preach” as the name of a Madonna song, but it is also the name of a Mumbai, India-based fashion and accessories designer. Papa Don’t Preach was founded in 2010 by Ms. Shubhika Sharma, who apparently crossed paths with SevenFriday at a social event. What I think is interesting about watches like this is that the collaborators never know at the outset who the products will appeal to. Will SevenFriday clients first take interest in the Papa Don’t Preach (PDP) collaboration watches, or will Papa Don’t Preach brand fans take a primary interest? That’s the fun of many of these collaboration watches because, by nature, they are a balance of two different aesthetics, two different worlds, and two different types of audiences.

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Even though the C-Series case has a familiar SevenFriday cushion-style shape, it was engineered to be quite different from most existing SevenFriday watches. To my knowledge, this is perhaps the first watch designed by the company with women in mind as the primary wearers. I modeled the SevenFriday C1/01 in polished steel with the pink feline on the dial, and I can see a man, under certain circumstances, pulling this off. That said, the rose gold-toned C2/01 with its pink floral dial likely won’t garner much interest from men. But the C-Series case, while designed as a more compact wristwatch platform, could be worn by men, as well.

The C-Series is also appreciably thinner than most other SevenFriday watches, but it is also equipped with a quartz movement (as opposed to mechanical). SevenFriday also designed the C-Series to fit on a matching steel bracelet, which is another thing I’ve not yet seen from the brand. The SevenFriday C-Series case is a roughly 42mm-wide square and is just 8.5mm thick, with 30 meters of water resistance. Over the dial is a hardened (perhaps with a sapphire coating) K1 mineral crystal, which I think should have been a sapphire crystal (yes, I know the non-round shape makes it more expensive) at this price point. Inside the watch is a Swiss Made Ronda 712 quartz movement. The dial on this watch only shows the time with hours and minutes.

SevenFriday engineered the C-Series to be as flexible as possible for this and future collaboration pieces. The entire point of the dial was to allow for artistic canvas space, and thus, it made sense to have limited complications and hands. The case has a bezel channel that can be filled with colored lacquer (that we see in either blue or pink on these two watches), as well as more channel coloring options on the side of the case. The left side of the C1/01 and C2/01 also have special “7F loves PDP” branding for the Papa Don’t Preach and SevenFriday relationship.

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Both the pink leopard and pink flower dial are inspired by modern Indian decor themes, according to Papa Don’t Preach. What I found interesting was the manufacturing techniques used to make the dial. SevenFriday didn’t want to just print designs on flat dials because the company knew it would look cheap and uninspired. How, then, to make an interesting-looking dial that’s also flexible for a variety of designs and concepts? SevenFriday opted for a novel laser engraving and coloring technique, as I understand it. A three-dimensional design is created using a computer-controlled laser. Novel techniques also allow for a coloration process, which might be part of the laser engraving or an additional process after that. The result is pretty good at this price level because it combines a degree of industrialized production with the allure of artisanship.

I wouldn’t call the C-Series PDP watches the most legible in the world, but they do have actual full markers for the hours and minutes if you can see that sharply. That said, SevenFriday watches are not exactly known for dial readability being of primary concern, but rather an artistic impression. I think, in large part, it succeeds in that. I wonder what Papa Don’t Preach’s founder thinks of the resulting watches? She appears to be wearing the watches a lot in photographs on its website, so I imagine that Sharma is a fan.

Price for the SevenFriday C2/01 PDP is a bit more than the C1/01 PDP because of the PVD rose gold tone application on the steel case and bracelet. Neither of the watches appears to be a limited edition, though they will not be produced forever. Note that many SevenFriday watches have an NFC chip built into the caseback (including the C-Series), which is actually a pretty solid way of authenticating them if that ever becomes an issue. I am very curious to see what comes next in the SevenFriday C-Series. Price for the SevenFriday x Papa Don’t Preach C1/01 PDP watch is $1,410 USD, and price for the C2/01 PDP is $1,520 USD. Learn more at the SevenFriday website.

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