What’s With the Trend of Cartoon Collaboration Watches
 

What’s With the Trend of Cartoon Collaboration Watches

4 min read
Charlotte Harris

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Charlotte Harris

Categories

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Collaboration watches have been a staple of the industry for a long time. Whether it’s Rolex and Wimbledon, Breitling and Bentley or TAG Heuer and Formula 1, watch brands find inspiration in the passions and hobbies of their wearers. So, what does that say about all these cartoon collaborations we’ve been seeing?

One of the very first watches I had as a child was an unbranded Mickey Mouse watch. It was pure plastic and brightly decorated with Mickey’s face at the centre of the dial. Sadly, I no longer have it, but ever since, any sort of watch with a cartoon-inspired design reminds me of that cheap childhood accessory. But it seems cartoon watches aren’t just for kids anymore. We’re seeing an abundance of watch brands, and luxury ones at that, collaborating with some of our favourite animations.

Affordable Cartoon Watches

Timex X PeanutsTimex X Peanuts - Credit Timex

 
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“Classic Bond” British Military Watch Strap Polished Hardware
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“Classic Bond” British Military Watch Strap Satin Hardware
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“Classic Bond” British Military Watch Strap IP Black Hardware

There are cartoon watches at almost every price point. On the more affordable end of the spectrum, you have well-known names like Fossil and Timex placing animated friends on dials. Timex have launched several models created in collaboration with Peanuts (aka the American comic strip with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang). Interestingly, Seiko have recently created some 5 Sports models with Peanuts as well.

Fossil also have an impressive number of affordable cartoon watches in their portfolio. Many of them are Disney-themed with dials adorned with Mickey the Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck. There’s also been Barbie, Star Wars and Pokémon editions. I also can’t leave out the rather unusual Wonka-themed limited edition that has a strap covered in fruit. And there I was thinking Willy Wonka made chocolate?

The Oris ‘Kermit’

Oris ProPilot KermitOris ProPilot Kermit - Credit WatchGecko

 
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ZULUDIVER Astro Space-Bound Watch Strap - Venus
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ZULUDIVER Astro Space-Bound Watch Strap - Pluto
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ZULUDIVER Astro Space-Bound Watch Strap - Uranus

Not all cartoon watches are “loud”, and dare I say a little garish at times. We have to applaud the few watchmakers that have mastered the art of subtlety when it comes to collaboration watches, and in the realm of cartoons, we have to mention Oris. Arguably one of the biggest watch releases of 2023 was the Oris ProPilot X Kermit watch, and what an unexpected release it was.

Oris rather ingeniously partnered up with Disney’s The Muppets to create a watch inspired by our favourite bright green frog. They created a dial in lime green and utilised the date window at 6 o’clock to show Kermit’s face. But his face didn’t appear every day; just on the first day of the month aka “Kermit Day”. Every other day, this watch just seems like a cool, green-dialled timepiece. It’s almost a secret between the watch and the wearer that this design holds cartoon nostalgia. Out of all the watches mentioned here, this is the only cartoon watch I have ever considered purchasing.

Luxury Cartoon Watches

Gérald Genta Mickey MouseGérald Genta Mickey Mouse - Credit Gérald Genta

There’s plenty of pricier cartoon collaboration watches out there too. Reservoir have created several limited edition Popeye watches that retail around the £4,000 mark. Times that price by five and you have a specific model by Bulgari. The company revived an original Gérald Genta concept featuring Mickey Mouse. Fun fact: Gérald Genta, the legendary designer behind the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, was one of the first to combine cartoons with timepieces.

The Bulgari Arena Bi-Retrograde Mickey Mouse Football watch shows Mickey kicking around a football on a mother of pearl dial. Cleverly, his arm functions as a minute hand while the jumping hours is displayed in a large round aperture at 10 o’clock. Meanwhile, a retrograde date display is added at the bottom.

So why exactly are we seeing more cartoon watches?

I think it’s simply down to nostalgia. There are several industries that have seen a noticeable trend for all things retro. 80’s fashion is making a comeback and even mid-century furniture is becoming popular in the interior space. So, it fares that retro design is going to make its way into watches too.

Watchmaking is also seen as quite a serious art form so it’s fun to see designers having a little fun with colours and styles. While cartoon watches aren’t necessarily for me, especially those I consider loud and “in your face”, I can appreciate that seeing beloved characters on a watch’s dial will bring joy to others.

I have no doubt we’re going to be seeing more cartoon collaborations over the next year or so, and despite what I’ve just said, I’m rather excited to see what’s to come. Do you have any cartoon characters you’d like to see make an appearance on a timepiece? Or are cartoon watches not for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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