It’s not every day that you encounter a wristwatch with a hinged lid surmounted by a decorative sundial that flips open to reveal a holographic dial. This compelling timepiece, however, is the new STAPLE x Fossil Limited Edition Automatic Silicone Watch. Available in three different terrazzo tile-inspired color ways, the 44mm-sized watch dial is accessed by activating the side button, which flips open the lid to reveal a dial aglow with a holographic-looking green pigeon and the STAPLE brand name. Trippy! (Tilt the watch another way and you will see the Fossil logo.) Retailing for $280.00, this weird and wonderful watch is highly collectible and comes in the following terrazzo-like hues: terra cotta, sandstone, and pigeon gray.
The pigeon is the symbol of the STAPLE streetwear clothing brand, and the pigeon is also in the watch because this collaboration celebrates STAPLE’s 25th year in business. Designed by STAPLE’s founder, Jeff Staple, this artifact was designed to look as if it were excavated from an archaeological dig. It comes packaged in an ovoid metal tin that’s shaped and sized like an ostrich egg. Removing the lid and extracting the sundial-covered wristwatch from the bottom half of the egg’s padded depths generates a fun feeling of discovery. STAPLE and Fossil’s unusual creation gives anyone who sees or wears it the chance to ponder how we measure time, experience time and use our time.
Although historians are unsure of who actually invented the sundial, by 1500 BC, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the “shadow clock,” an early portable sundial that measured time throughout the day. Fast forward to 2022, when this writer conducted email interviews with Jeff Staple and Melissa Lowenkron, General Manager of Fossil Brand. Lowenkron explained that the impetus to collaborate grew from a shared love of design and storytelling. “These bonds drove the initial conversations and we were excited to help celebrate 25 years of the STAPLE brand,” Lowenkron wrote. “Working with Jeff energized our design team. He dove into Fossil’s archives and drew ideas from iconic Fossil pieces as he pondered the concept of time itself. Jeff also pushed us to use new materials.” Describing Staple as a skilled collaborator, Lowenkron explained, “Jeff designs and curates goods that become instantly collectible. He has a unique ability to design timeless and yet relevant products, and create a sense of urgency in his fans so that they go and purchase.” (All three color ways of the watch were sold out on the STAPLE website when this writer checked.)
As for Jeff Staple, he wrote that working with Fossil on this limited edition constituted a creatively free experience for him and his team. “The sundials and colors were completely our design decisions,” he explained. “First, one shade we chose references our signature Pigeon grey color way. Another hue is a lighter shade of grey that’s similar to the color of New York City sidewalks. And the terra cotta— that color choice may have evolved after I dreamt of this story in which archeologists stumbled upon a mysterious egg in a dig site. That led to creation of the egg tin packaging.”
Because Fossil reached out to him to initiate this collaboration, Staple mused, “I’m super-honored that a global brand like Fossil wanted to work with me and my brand.” As he wrote, “I still see myself as the kid in art school who snuck in after hours to silk screen my tee shirts, which formed the beginnings of my brand.” According to Staple, “I wanted to work with Fossil because of their history. There are nearly 40 years of watchmaking from the Fossil label, plus Fossil has worked with leading brands like DKNY, Armani, Michael Kors, Puma, Tory Burch, Zodiac and others.”
Staple related that he received the first email from Fossil in December 2020. “There were about four rounds of back and forth in sampling and prototyping to get to the point where we were both happy with the design,” he recalled. “The Fossil Creative Production, Marketing and Launch teams have been really splendid to work with. The irony is that we met most of them for the first time in person at the watch launch event in NYC!”
It’s worth noting that Staple is a self-proclaimed “major watch guy” who collects and wears many types of timepieces. His first collaboration was with Timex, and he’s also done a Bamford x Tag Heuer collab plus one with Undone, as well as one with NASA x Anicorn. “Right now,” he wrote, “I am wearing the terra cotta Fossil Sundial the most. I think it just blends well with my skin tone during these summer months.”
While the STAPLE x Fossil Limited Silicone Watch is a strangely stylish watch, it’s also an ergonomic winner that’s well suited to active humans of all ages. While the watch is comfortable due to the wide silicone band, the decorative hinged lid protects the dial from life’s hard knocks, fluids, fun and the Smart design like this is Timeless, indeed.