The brands that expertly transform the latest Fashion Week trends into new watch designs are always on point, but there’s a predictability about this seasonal shift that always leaves us craving something crazy. Cue the rise, and rise, of kitsch watches by brands that have made eccentric design covetable – the perfect Valentine gift for the kookie couple
The Kitsch but Cool Gang
Go bananas for Kate Spade
Taking fashion too seriously has become the calling card of some watch brands, which is why we’ve decided to rebel. If you’ve been fashion watch shopping in the last six months, you’ll probably have noticed the Kate Spade collection nestled between Michael Kors, DKNY and Skagen. But now, instead of being lost in the crowd, Kate Spade has found its own niche as the ultimate High Street kitsch-but-cool brand; think graphic cruise ships, seahorses, cocktails and cats emblazoned across watch dials, and plenty of quirky details like multi-coloured hour markers and hot pink second hands.
What makes Kate Spade’s own brand of kitsch wearable is its brazen, no-holds barred approach. Its creativity isn’t faded behind vintage-style Instagram filters or pastel florals – it’s in your face and confident, which lends itself to eclectic wardrobes full of 90s bomber jackets and bold prints. Of course, a perfectly kitsch watch can add humour and personality to the norm too, like a simple blue jeans and t-shirt combination on a trip to the local shops.
Batty for Swatch
Once you decide you’re in the market for something a little more eccentric there are plenty of exciting designs lurking under the surface. Our form of kitsch is like the more sophisticated older sister of bright and excessively plastic-y watches, and this Flaggermus Batman-inspired piece by Swatch is our cool case-in-point. Yes, it’s plastic, and yes it’s popping with neon yellow, but the vibe is comic book cool rather than geek personified.
May 28th Flaming Flamingos
If you haven’t heard of Latvian watch brand, May28th, you will do in the coming months. This booming brand has kitsch sewn up, with watches designed around themes of maps, architecture and punchy graphics. Watermelons, cherries, bunny rabbits, glitter and deck-chair stripes are all in their arsenal, as well as flamingos as seen in this to-die-for 03:38PM (all of their watches are named for times of the day). Incredibly, this number is just $39USD or £29 RRP, so you can afford to treat yourself to more than one.
I Heart Mr Jones
At the very heart of the kitsch aesthetic is imagination, which is why it’s tough to beat Mr Jones Watches and its creative craftsmanship. The London-based brand has a knack for telling stories even on the limited space that your average watch dial provides. Its limited edition Queen watch, which is expertly printed and assembled by hand, use a rotating wheel of playing card faces to display the minutes, and a small window on the Queen’s torso to display the hours. If you love the concept but would prefer the King of Hearts, then you are in luck as it is available too.
Keep Kitsch Coming
Love Doodling Love Ice Watch
Crazy about Daisy Dixon
An interesting use of colour and shape isn’t far behind, with Daisy Dixon awakening florals with polka dots in its Suki collection.
Stirring up a Storm
Storm London’s space age, rave-inspired, green-to-purple colour change knockout, the Zila Lazer Green. This shouldn’t be cool. And yet the combination of the mirrored green case, the polished stainless steel mesh strap and the minimalist face is enough to induce serious envy.
Not forgetting Nixon‘s Comp S, besides claiming to be the world’s thinnest full feature digital watch, the bright coral colour works like a dream on sun-kissed skin; this is fun beach wristwear at its best, even if you aren’t a surfer. Oh then there is Cheapo, Reclaimed Vintage, Johnny Loves Rosie…
In a sea of sameness, the move toward more eccentric watch designs is perfectly tailored to the individual. They may be more commonly found in the fashion watch arena (although RJ-Romaine Jerome offers a luxury take on kitsch – check out its Generation Icons collection from Pac Man to Space Invaders), but this doesn’t mean their worth is diminished. What seems retro today, may be worth much more as tastes, and times, change.