Full Disclosure: A Round-Up Of Our Five Favorite Releases From The Watch Media
When watch brands partner up with journalists, the results can be fun and unexpected.
Back in journalism school, we were taught that the relationship between a writer and the subject they covered was supposed to be impartial and distant. For example, a fellow student who got a gig covering early evening city council meetings was not even allowed to accept the free donuts set out on a table outside the council chambers, lest it favorably influences their reporting.
In the real world, such objectivity is hard to come by. Reporters cultivate contacts with their subjects to gain access to information. And journalists, especially in the watch media, are also passionate about their areas of expertise. Of course, readers want to know that a review of a watch is not bought and paid for, but at the same time, it's essential to know that a writer shares their enthusiasm. You wouldn't want to invest in a timepiece based on the opinion of someone who has no opinions.
That is what makes the current crop of collaborations between watchmakers and watch media so intriguing. In journalism school, they also taught us that a good story has a strong point of view. And these cool collaborations between our press room colleagues and the brands make us want to read more.
Bamford x Revolution GMT Joe Cool
Revolution is a quarterly publication about luxury mechanical watches. Founded by Wei Koh and first published in 2005, it is now one of the leading magazines in the field, read by enthusiasts and industry insiders alike. On the other side of the dance hall is George Bamford. Since day one, Bamford has been in the collaboration game, getting his start by working with clients to create customized timepieces.
Koh and Bamford share a flair for the irreverent, so this partnership was bound to create something stylish. Enter Joe Cool. The hipster alter-ego of the legendary Peanuts character, Snoopy.
“When the opportunity arose to collaborate with one of our favorite people in the watch industry, George Bamford,” said Koh, “we started brainstorming over ideas for a watch, it dawned on us that we already knew what we wanted. We had to make a watch featuring Joe Cool.”
Consumers also shared the enthusiasm for the Bamford x Revolution GMT Joe Cool. Launched on June 25th, this limited edition is already sold out. And aside from an enduring love for all things Snoopy that transcends generations, the watch's size (40mm x 11.7mm) suits about any wrist. A centrally mounted GMT hand makes it easy to read, and a luminous internal rotating bezel also makes it fun to look at. Plus, the Bamford x Revolution GMT Joe Cool comes delivered with a glow-in-the-dark box shaped like Snoopy’s doghouse.
Again, this watch, priced at $1,900, is already sold out.
SWATCH SISTEM51 HODINKEE GENERATION 1990
HODINKEE bills itself as the “foremost destination for all things in the world of horology, making watches and information about them accessible to all.” This mission statement is best summed up with its ongoing series with Swatch.
Our favorite is the fifth collaboration – the Swatch Sistem51 Hodinkee Generation 1990 – because it is an egalitarian watch that is affordable to most. Moreover, its unmistakable silhouette comes with a rich history as the California dial speaks to other landmark designs throughout time. Also, the mechanical Sistem51 movement points to innovations in the future of watch production.
Launched in November 2020, the Swatch Sistem51 Hodinkee Generation 1990 also features some distinctive ’Dink touches. The fully transparent rotor plate is decorated with a signature "H" pattern. Apart from the Swatch and Hodinkee signatures, this timepiece succeeds thanks to the color play between the green resin case and the textured blue dial.
The Swatch Sistem51 Hodinkee Generation 1990 is not a numbered edition, but quantities are limited. It is priced at $170 and available on the HODINKEE Shop.
Zodiac Watches x Worn & Wound Super Sea Wolf Limited Edition
Worn & Wound has found its niche in covering unique and well-crafted timepieces that offer great value. Not only do they champion independent and micro-brands, especially those priced below $1,000, they also shine a light on well-established but underappreciated manufactures like Zodiac.
That is why the Zodiac x Worn & Wound Super Sea Wolf Limited Edition collaboration is so exciting. Released in June, these timepieces honor the heritage of the Super Sea Wolf, which was a 1970s-era diver considered to be one of the most emblematic commercial dive watches of all time. But these make it contemporary by adding a dash of the current streetwear nostalgia with the bold, mismatched color palette of the Velcro strap, a gray dial with a grid pattern, and splatter patterns on the 12-hour bezel.
Not only is it the perfect watch for sneakerheads and high-tech hikers. This 40mm brushed stainless steel watch is also built to dive with 200m of water resistance.
The Zodiac x Worn & Wound Super Sea Wolf Limited Edition is limited to 182 pieces and priced at $1,095. Unsurprisingly, it is sold out
Monochrome Montre de Souscription 1
Monochrome is a European-based watch magazine and one of our dear friends. Its audience has come to expect behind-the-scenes coverage of the world of haute horlogerie and in-depth explanations of complicated, hand-finished mechanical movements.
Monochrome’s first collaboration watch, the Montre de Souscription 1, made with Austrian indie watchmakers Richard and Maria Habring, is exquisite and exclusive.
This handsome watch is a monopusher chronograph based on the Habring Chrono-Felix, with an exceptional salmon-colored sector dial. With is relatively compact (it measures 38.5mm in diameter with a height of 12mm and a modest 46mm length from lug to lug) brushed stainless steel case, it has a vintage aesthetic. And its distribution method is equally old school.
As Monochrome’s founder Frank Geelen explains: "From the outset of this project, we decided not to offer our first watch in a classic limited edition; instead, we chose a process that is part of the history of watchmaking, the 'Montre de Souscription' or subscription watch."
Subscriptions are also a big part of the history of publishing. The way this model works is that buyers pay in advance for their delivery. Once pre-orders are closed, the Habrings will begin work on the 33-piece series, with subscribers receiving their hot-off-the-presses timepieces in September.
It sold out in 17 minutes, but the next Montre de Souscription is already in the works. For more information, you follow the campaign at shop.monochrome-watches.com.
Hamilton x Gear Patrol: Khaki Navy Scuba Auto
In our daily lives, we love watches, but we also love food, cars, art, clothes, and spirits. Timepieces are just part of the complete breakfast we call life. Founded in 2007, Gear Patrol is an award-winning publication that recognizes the place horology plays in our lives, which is why we are fans of Hamilton x Gear Patrol Khaki Navy Scuba Auto.
This special edition was devised in 2018 to be a go-anywhere, do-anything diver using Gear Patrol's cultural savvy and Hamilton's history for building reliable and robust timepieces. The magazine team chose the Khaki Navy Scuba Auto base because of features like the 40mm steel case, screw-down crown, quickset date, and uni-directional ratcheting bezel.
Gear Patrol then selected a unique colorway meant to reflect the current trend of wearing tool watches to push papers at the office and to hike the trails. For even more versatility, it comes with both a stainless steel link bracelet and an additional NATO-style nylon strap, making it an excellent gateway watch for first-time buyers (in writing and watch collecting, it's crucial to have a hook).
Hamilton x Gear Patrol: Khaki Navy Scuba Auto is priced at $750. It is currently sold out but has been restocked at least once since its initial run, so keep your eyes peeled at the Gear Patrol Store to check if it becomes available again.