You’ve no doubt heard of Fossil, but unless you—like a fossil—have been hiding under a rock all these years, they’re an American watch and lifestyle conglomerate who specialize in authentic vintage and classic designs, and who happen to make watches for a whole slew of well-known fashion brands you despise but your “non watch friends” probably love.
At this point we have to warn you there could be lots of gold plate PVD and sparkling diamante. Yes, Fossil do design watches for dozens of well-known fashion brands that will instantly raise your watch snob hackles including brands such as Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, Marc Jacobs, DKNY and Skagen. That said, they also own Zodiac watches, and more often than not Fossil is quoted by newbies as the “gateway brand” from which they went on to become as fascinated by so-called ‘real’ watches as you are.
Fossil started out in 1984 when graduate Kosta Kartsotis suggested to his younger brother that importing affordable watches from the Far East might be a good way to make money. From the start, the Fossil approach to watches has tended to be the gift you pick up at the airport when you’re running out of time and ideas. But seeing as Mr. Kartsotis has an extremely conservative net worth of US$150 million, it’s probably safe to say he himself had the right idea.
THE NEW FOSSIL DEFENDER
Yesterday Fossil, (named for their father whose nickname was Fossil), launched a new/old watch called Defender that is faithful to their more retro utilitarian origins as an own name brand.
The original Fossil Defender watches of the 90s
The Defender is a cross between a dive and a field inspired watch. It was first launched in the 1990s and has been reissued in celebration of Fossil’s 35th anniversary.
Fossil Defender in leather case
The latest iteration of the Fossil Defender has a 42mm brushed stainless steel case with 22mm lugs. It also has a design concept attached to it. It comes in a leather box embossed with the Defender logo complete with two straps, (and being leather goods makers as well as watchmakers, Fossil knows how to make a good-looking leather box.)
One strap is of a brown leather type with a rubberized backing, while the second is a green NATO. Then there are also 3 interchangeable ‘top rings.’ You can’t really call them bezels as they don’t click and turn, but they can be swapped to instantly change the look and mood of the watch. Two of these so-called top rings are diver-style bezels, one in brushed steel and the other in aluminum. The third is a compass bezel in black steel. These strap and bezel options can then be mixed and matched for a total of six different looks. Each set is also individually numbered.
Frankly this ‘top ring’ situation is the one big mistake at hand here. Offering interchangeable bezels or bezel inserts would have been genius if they were actually functional. Sure, it’s a neat touch that the look of the watch can be changed up, but I’m sure many will agree that opting for static bezels was a bit of a misstep on Fossil’s part.
Running on a quartz movement, the Defender has a date window at 3 o’clock, both 12-and 24-hour numerals and is water-resistant to 100 meters. The crown is a push-down type positioned at 4 o’clock.
Launched just yesterday, the new Fossil Defender will sell for US$255 in select Fossil stores and on Fossil.com