Watches have evolved over time, with various companies attempting to create their own versions of “trendsetters”. Some succeeded, while others didn't! Further, Fossil is one such company that joined the party and introduced its take on it. Many watch collectors appreciate Fossil watches, which often mark the beginning of their watch-collecting journeys. Whether received as a gift or bought personally, watches from this brand hold sentimental value for many.
Despite mixed reviews, Fossil has undeniably marked the start of the interest of some watch enthusiasts. Always!
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From The USA To The Rest Of The World
Back in 1984, in Richardson, Texas, USA, two brothers named Tom and Kosta Kartsotis founded Fossil. The idea struck when Tom shared with his younger brother the potential of importing affordable fashion watches from the Far East and selling them in the US. Their goal was simple: to offer stylish watches to the world at competitive prices - a unique approach at the time. Moreover, their timepieces featured retro-inspired designs, presented in tin or wooden boxes with vibrant and playful designs, and people loved it.
By the 1990s, Fossil had gained significant popularity, expanding its offerings to include leather goods like handbags, wallets, and jewelry. Not stopping there, they acquired Zodiac Watches, a respected Swiss brand with a rich history in watchmaking, in 2001. This move solidified their presence in Switzerland, known as the watchmaking wonderland.
Today, Fossil produces licensed accessories for major brands like BMW, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Emporio Armani. They've also made strategic acquisitions, such as Skagen Designs, another watch company. Additionally, they invested millions of dollars in Misfit, a tech company specializing in wearable technology like smartwatches.
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Fossil Is Now One Of The Largest Brands in Canada
Fossil has become one of the world's largest watch producers, riding the wave of increasing consumer interest in fashionable timepieces. This makes sense, considering not everyone can splash out on expensive Swiss watches. Also, Fossil steps in to fill that gap, providing customers with stylish watches that have a Swiss touch, well, kind of.
While they've made a mark in Switzerland by establishing a design studio in Biel (near Rolex's headquarters), the actual manufacturing of Fossil watches happens in China. Despite this, Fossil successfully introduced their Swiss-made watches, dubbed Fossil Swiss, in 2013. Thanks to the collaboration with Zodiac watches!
Moreover, Fossil's focus lies mainly on quartz models, offering a good bang for your buck. However, they also have some pricier mechanical models for those willing to splurge a bit more.
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Breaking Down Fossil Watches
~ Quality of Fossil Materials
Fossil's strength lies in the fashion industry rather than watchmaking, and this reflects in the materials used for their watches. Featuring eye-catching designs, they are powered by reliable Japanese quartz movements. Yes, occasionally with automatic or mechanical movements in pricier models! Also, they use well-crafted stainless steel alloys for metal watches and high-quality leather for straps. While stainless steel is prone to scratches, it resists rust due to its lack of iron. Mineral glass is used for the watch face, offering a certain level of impact resistance but lacking scratch resistance.
In essence, Fossil employs the basics in material quality for their items. While not exceptional, with proper care, these materials suffice for the job.
~ Fossil And Their Craftsmanship
Craftsmanship isn't a strong suit for Fossil watches. Lacking a watchmaking history or heritage, their production is entirely automated, with no special attention to detailing or intricacy. Moreover, these watches are designed to complement the Fossil brand, lacking traditional or human input in the manufacturing process.
~ The Durability
Fossil watches, being mass-produced, undergo solid quality control, ensuring they:
- Are relatively defect-free
- Keep accurate time for a few years
While they may last up to five years or longer, Fossil watches aren't built for decades of use. Regular maintenance is key, especially for quartz movement watches, as batteries typically last about two years. Neglecting battery changes can impact the watch's longevity.
Moreover, the affordability of Fossil watches is a silver lining; even if they only last a few years, their low cost makes replacement more accessible.
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~ Fossil's Global Retail Presence
Fossil boasts a significant advantage with its widespread network of retail stores—a standout characteristic in the 21st-century watch market. While many watch shops shift to online platforms for cost-saving, Fossil's authorized retailers (like Bijoux Eclore in Canada) bring customers the opportunity to inspect watches firsthand.
~ Diverse Range of Designs
Ever had the letdown of entering a store filled with anticipation for a long-desired purchase, only to find a limited selection? Fossil makes sure this isn't the case for its customers!
They have everything from everyday styles to field watches, dressy pieces, and a variety of chronographs. Fossil covers a broad spectrum of design preferences. Also, the options extend to choosing between a steel bracelet or a leather strap, catering to diverse tastes.
However, the brand lacks heritage and history, examining the brand's history reveals that the founders conceived Fossil with the idea of tapping into a lucrative opportunity in the fashionable watch industry. Yes, it's understandable to be driven by financial motives to sustain a business. Fossil's primary focus was producing affordable fashion watches for the masses, without delving into any deeper narratives. Their watch collections lacked compelling stories behind their creation, and even the origins of their watch names remained unremarkable.
Fairly put, the brand isn't aiming to be a prestigious watchmaker with a storied history. Instead, their focus is on delivering sleek, aesthetically pleasing watches.
Collections And Watches We Absolutely Love
~ Fossil Gen 6 (The Smartwatch)
Fossil's Gen 6 smartwatches offer various styles. All of them are centred around a consistent design with a 44mm round casing and a 1.28-inch round OLED screen. The watch includes two buttons flanking the central crown, which is also rotatable for easy scrolling.
The Gen 6 watch has a pleasing appearance, lacking bold design risks but possessing just enough character to be visually appealing. Also, the battery life can span a day and extend to the next morning with moderate usage. However, engaging in exercise tracking may prompt an earlier need for charging. Different power modes are available, allowing users to:
- Customize features
- Conserve battery life
A notable aspect is the fast-charging capability, facilitated by direct-contact pogo pins that offer a more secure connection than older models. Further, Fossil has expanded the sensor array to align with popular smartwatches, incorporating specifications like a blood oxygen monitor (though lacking an EKG monitor). The Gen 6 tracks steps, calories, and sleep, with continuous heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS for outdoor activity tracking.
With 8GB storage capacity, the Gen 6 allows users to store favorite tracks directly on the watch. It also has a microphone and loudspeaker, providing additional ways to enjoy music on the device. The microphone facilitates access to Google Assistant, enabling voice-activated tasks.
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Known for its bold and rugged aesthetic, the Nate collection features oversized cases and distinctive designs that appeal to those who appreciate a robust and masculine style. These watches often include chronograph functions, which allow for precise timekeeping and measurement of elapsed time. Further, the collection typically utilizes a variety of materials, such as stainless steel for durability and leather or metal bands for a stylish finish.
Take, for example, the Fossil Nate Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch (model JR1401). This particular timepiece has:
- A gunmetal stainless steel case with a black dial
- Bold numerals and three sub-dials that house the chronograph functions
The contrast of the gunmetal against the black creates a striking and edgy look, luring those with a penchant for bold design. On the other hand, the Fossil Nate Chronograph Leather Watch (model JR1354) offers a more rugged charm. With a stainless steel case finished in black, a textured leather strap, and a dark dial, this model is all about vintage-inspired toughness.
The Fossil Neutra collection aligns with the minimalist design trend while incorporating a chronograph function. The collection includes:
- The Neutra Chronograph, Neutra Automatic
- Neutra Moonphase Multifunction
- The Neutra Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch
Within the Neutra lineup, two main watch designs exist. Both the Chronograph and Moonphase Multifunction feature a Tri-Compax style with three subdials, while the Automatic sports a moderately skeletonized dial. The Neutra Chronograph leans towards casual wear, while the Neutra Automatic and Neutra Moonphase are slightly dressier. Moreove, specifications mirror those of the aforementioned Minimalist collection, with a slight increase in thickness.
Besides, the Neutra Automatic has an automatic movement and an exhibition caseback, although specific details about the automatic movement remain undisclosed. As is customary with Fossil, a wide array of choices is available. Notably, the Neutra Chronograph offers a fancier design option for ladies, with a smaller 36mm stainless steel case with a diamond-like bezel. Additionally, there's the option of a Mother Of Pearl dial, catering to chic fashionistas.
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The Townsman automatic, signalling each hour's arrival, draws inspiration from vintage designs.. It includes:
- A sleek steel case
- A transparent crystal lens
- Blue satin dial
- Stylish brown leather straps
The model, designated ME3110, boasts a 44mm case size and operates with a Mechanical Automatic movement. Similar to other Townsman models, it offers 5 ATM water resistance and a stainless steel case in a silver hue. The blue dial complements the brown leather straps, and the strap width is 22mm with a strap buckle closure. Its crystal type is Mineral, and, there's no need for a battery, making it a self-sufficient timepiece.
This gray leather and rose gold-tone stainless steel watch from the Georgia collection is a favourite for its intricate details. The versatile timepiece:
- Is ideal for day or night wear
- Showcases a three-hand movement.
With a modest case size of 32mm, the watch operates on a reliable quartz movement, like most of the watches Fossil produces. The genuine leather strap in an elegant gray shade complements the rose gold case colour, creating a sophisticated look. Moreover, the gunmetal dial adds a touch of refinement to the overall design.
Practical features include a 5 ATM water resistance, making it suitable for everyday activities. The stainless steel case means it’s strong like you want it to be, while the strap width measures 8mm. The strap buckle closure provides a secure fit.
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The Heritage line within the Fossil collection carries the most distinctive dials. Available in two sizes, 38mm and 43mm, these timepieces give you durable stainless steel cases. Notably, some pieces in this collection sport two-tone designs, incorporating gold-plated elements (though not real gold) alongside stainless steel for both the bracelet and case. Besides, the result is a stylish aesthetic, provided you choose the right configuration. As expected, the options are virtually limitless!
What truly catches the eye is the incorporation of an automatic movement and a clear case back, allowing a close inspection of the movement. Additionally, the Heritage line stands out as the sole Fossil collection priding its sapphire crystal, known for its:
- Scratch resistance
Enhancing its practicality, this collection includes a date window positioned at 3 o'clock. With a crystal that's more robust and resistant to scratches, coupled with automatic movement, these watches cater to adventurous individuals. Yes, especially those inclined towards exploration.
The Retro Pilot Dual-Time hybrid smartwatch is an ingenious blend of classic aesthetics and smart technology. Its brown leather strap is elegant and never bothers you while charging. This smartwatch goes beyond the conventional timekeeping role by:
- Integrating smart features
- Delivering notifications
- Activity tracking, and more.
Connectivity is facilitated through Bluetooth Smart Enabled / 4.2 Low Energy technology. The smartwatch operates with a battery life of up to 12 months, dependent on usage patterns. Moreover, the case size stands at 44mm - a stylish blue dial. Interchangeable compatibility for watch bands is set at 22mm, providing customization options. The operating system is part of the Fossil Hybrid Smartwatches, operating on the Hybrid App platform. Sensors embedded in the smartwatch include an accelerometer, enhancing its functionality.
Storage capabilities allow the device to store up to 2 weeks of data between synchronization periods. Besides, the case water resistance stands at 5 ATM, so it can stand strong against water exposure.
Alternatives To Fossil Watches
Founded in 1854 as the Waterbury Clock Company, Timex has traversed a remarkable journey in watchmaking, evolving from clocks to pocket watches and eventually wristwatches. Since its inception, Timex has been dedicated to delivering durable and cost-effective timepieces to the masses, with prices as low as one dollar (equivalent to $35 in today’s dollars) back in 1901.
During the 1960s, Timex gained immense popularity, with almost every third watch sold in the USA being a Timex statistically. Today, they stand as one of the few U.S. watch companies that uphold American ingenuity and craftsmanship in their watches.
Crucially, Timex has maintained its commitment to creating sturdy, dependable timepieces at affordable prices. A notable aspect is the diverse range of watches they offer for both women and men. Moreover, they have models like the Q Timex (sports watch), the Marlin (dress watch), and the Timex Standard (everyday watch).
The journey began in 1881 when a 21-year-old Kinato Hattori ventured into selling and repairing clocks in Central Tokyo. Just over a decade later, he acquired a factory, christening it Seikosha, which translates to the House of Exquisite Workmanship—a name they lived up to.
Since its inception, Seiko has dedicated itself to innovating groundbreaking watches, striving to create timepieces unseen by the world. They've seamlessly achieved this goal, holding their innovative prowess to this day. From the world's first TV watch to the world's first automatic chronograph and quartz watch, Seiko has repeatedly claimed the title of being the "world's first" in numerous milestones.
While listing all their groundbreaking achievements might induce fainting, the point is clear—they reign as the kings of innovation. Beyond being pioneers, Seiko excels in crafting affordable watches, particularly in the Seiko 5 collection, which competes with Fossil in terms of pricing. Further, these fully in-house automatic watches have a stainless steel case and a day-date function.
Among their top sellers are the SRPD59 (sports watch), SNK809 (field watch), and SNXS79 (everyday watch). While their names may lack the inspiration found in Fossil, they are undoubtedly exceptional pieces with the potential to last a lifetime.
In the 1920s, the Shokosha Watch Research Institute, aimed to foster excellence and creativity, envisioning a positive impact on the world's citizens. They later evolved into Citizen taking a leap of faith in 1924, they embarked on creating a fully Japan-made product. Yes, further, leading to the launch of their pocket watch.
Given the watch lacked a proper name, the Mayor of Tokyo at the time bestowed upon it the moniker "Citizen," expressing the hope that the watch would forever be a companion to citizens worldwide. Since then, Citizen has been at the forefront of innovation, introducing groundbreaking timepieces like the first multi-band atomic watch, accurate to within one second in a hundred thousand years.
Boasting a diverse range of timepieces, Citizen stands out as one of the most affordable yet reputable brands to grace your collection. Their offerings include unique designs, with popular models like:
- The Promaster Eco-Drive (solar-powered dive watch)
- The Bullhead Tsuno (everyday watch)
- The C7 series (dress watch)
Watch companies are evolving and adapting to consumer needs, irrespective of heritage or history. While Fossil may not be flawless, it could be the right choice for those aiming to make a trend-savvy fashion statement. Moreover, the convenience of acquiring one makes it an accessible entry point into the world of watches. The emergence of brands like Fossil in the market contributes to the overall strength of the watch market, emphasizing the sustained demand for watches. Also, this serves as a reminder that "traditional" wristwatches remain relevant accessories, which is of utmost importance.
Buy from Bijoux Eclore, we stand as your comprehensive destination for all things luxury watches. As an authorized dealer for Fossil and numerous other luxury watch brands, we offer a diverse selection to cater to your preferences.