Hamilton Khaki

Article By: Logan Hannen

In part one, we’re going to get into the specifics of what makes a watch a fashion watch, along with some common examples. In the second installment, we’ll hit on why they’re so absolutely hated.

So what is a fashion watch? Well, in short, it’s a piece that is produced by a manufacturer (or released by a brand, rather) that does not make a majority of their sales on watches every year. That’s a bit of a tricky definition, in part because it seems the “watchfam” has apparently adopted this definition exclusive of what the rest of the industry wants to publicize. More often, publications define the difference as where the brand focuses their attention: the movement, or the design. If a brand puts significant thought into the design, and places a generic movement into the piece, then by this definition, it would be a fashion watch.

Steinhart Nav B-Uhr 47 Vintage TITAN A-Muster
(Source: Steinhart)

I don’t totally agree with this for a few reasons, not the least of which is a company like Steinhart who, historically, puts more generic ETA movements into their pieces so they can focus most of their energy on design and execution. By all accounts, the guys and gals at Steinhart are certainly not a fashion brand, so the definition gets a bit faulty there. However, it does fit if you look at a company like Daniel Wellington, whose profits stem exclusively from watch sales (for the most part), yet whose actual products are fixated on achieving an aesthetic over any major leaps in horological proficiency.

Daniel Wellington Petite Ashfield
(Source: Daniel Wellington)

Beyond Daniel Wellington, we have companies like Michael Kors who, frankly, are a bit of an enigma to me because really, their profits are probably split pretty close between watch and non-watch sales all things considered, as well as companies like Armani, Fossil, Original Grain (which, yes, I own one of), and even, to some extent, Gucci. Sometimes, though, you get a brand like Ralph Lauren who, by all technicality, would be defined as a fashion watch brand as their pieces are not the majority of their sales, but who use things like Frederic Piguet movements and apply haute horlogerie standards to their watches. It gets real confusing real fast, guys.

In an effort to avoid making this confusion any worse, though, I’m gonna leave this article here. Be sure to check back next time when we’ll dive into the reasons fashion watches get so much hate (and whether or not they deserve it). As always, keep it classy, watchfam.