Lemmings and Collabs

From JustLuxe content partner iW Magazine

Two trends that aren’t necessarily new have expanded significantly in recent times. One is the “Lemming” collector, the other the “Collab” watch.

The first one is pretty clear. At high-end or more affordable price points, many watch buyers are almost afraid to miss out on the opportunity to acquire the current hot watch. Whether it’s a luxury and hard-to-acquire SKU from a big name or a run on a niche micro-brand, the watch collector crowd seems to be in full-on bandwagon mode in recent years.

FOMO not only drives active and engaged watch enthusiasts but also acts as a magnet for the investment crowd – who may or may not like the design of the particular financial device.

Let’s be honest, this is how many buyers view a fine timepiece.

Both types of lemmings artificially raise the price and promote hard to buy this watch to grail/unicorn status which only adds to the massive price. The last buyers in line buy at ridiculously inflated prices and may not have much room left to raise prices. But they get the bragging rights of owning a watch that they know others covet. It’s almost a totem of their status to overpay for it.

This is when heavy hitters with more pride and money than sense keep the unicorn express going at full speed. Sooner or later the price inevitably settles on most of these watches, either by saturating the market (which Rolex and Patek never want to do) with enough product, or when the house of cards collapses and falls to the bottom.

New Patek Philippe Nautilus, Ref. 5811-1G-001.


Another trend, the collaboration clock, is just moving full speed ahead.

Historically a retailer might partner with a watch brand for a special dial or simply stamp their logo on a traditional model. Sometimes other companies (COMEX comes to mind) who bought a large batch of watches were given space on the dial by Rolex or others to have their logo.

In today’s watch market, hardly a week goes by when I don’t see a press release for some new collaborative effort in watches. Whether a musician, designer, graffiti artist, skateboarder, surfer, free climber, or even (yuck) an influencer no one has heard of but has a “huge” following, it seems like every other press release I get has something off the clock. partnership.

I can’t wait for the hot new green dial of the “X” brand new pickle ball watch sponsorship.

While some of these are understandable and natural combinations, others scream frustration. Desperate to engage an audience with collaborations, desperate to take an aging design and breathe new life into it, desperate to keep up with the new era of collaboration (see Lemmings), and desperate to stay relevant in an increasingly crowded field are wristwatch options.

This article was first published in the Fall/Winter 2022 edition of International Wristwatches.

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