Todd Snyder is no stranger to collaborations — during his days at J. Crew, he inaugurated a series of them with brands such as Red Wing and Timex that formed the basis for much of the “collab culture” that is so prevalent in menswear today. You see it everywhere, but perhaps most visibly, it’s found in Snyder’s own collaborations between his eponymous menswear brand and some of the hottest companies in the world.
There have been several Todd Snyder X Timex wristwatch collaborations in the past several years, including both quartz-powered timepieces (the MOD watch, the military watch) and mechanical timepieces like the Marlin series, each of which has its own unique aesthetic and feel. At this point, it really does seem like there’s a Todd Snyder-designed Timex out there for everybody, which brings us to their newest release.
The next offering from this meeting of two iconic American-founded brands is dubbed the Mid Century. Based on a 1970s Timex original that has been updated with modern specs and tech (including a quartz movement), the Mid Century offers classic Timex style cues in a perfectly sized watch. The timepiece features a 37mm stainless steel case with a 19mm lug width, a day-date quartz-powered movement, a domed acrylic crystal for that retro touch, 30m of water resistance and the choice of two dial colors, including black or silver (the same striking sunray silver finish from the original Marlin reissue).
“For me, Timex has always represented iconic style and Americana. It’s the watch I remember my dad wearing, my grandfather wearing.” -Todd Snyder
The real value-add here, however, is that there is a third American company participating in this collab: each watch ships with a leather strap with contrast stitching from S.B. Foot Tanning Co. in Red Wing, Minnesota (black for the black dial version and brown for the silver dial version). The strap itself is comfortable and extremely well-made, and something that could easily be sold for more than the MSRP of the new watch with the strap included. By the way, did we mention that the watch is only $158?
Mid-century design influence is clearly visible on the dial, which features a clean and uncluttered look complimented with simple baton hands and multifaceted indices. The day and date windows are surprisingly unobtrusive, and the only text on the dial is “Timex,” “Water Resistant,” and, cleverly, “Todd Snyder” flanking the 6 o’clock marker in place of where “Swiss Made” or “T25” might otherwise be placed. This is a versatile watch that can be worn to the office or for a night out, and one whose sophisticated look belies its price.
Todd Snyder himself enjoys a close relationship with Timex and gets an opportunity to comb through the company’s archives in a way that few other people do. “I’m really looking for interesting things that are different, says Snyder. “I’m an avid collector of watches, everything from vintage to contemporary, but this one really fills the void of this kind of classic menswear that I call “the gentleman’s watch.” Something that’s a little bit cleaner. I really liked The Marlin, but I was really looking for something with a date. I was in Milan where they have their design studios and one of the execs there was wearing a watch. I was like, ‘What the hell is that?! I gotta have it.’ He gave it to me and I said, ‘This is our next watch.'”
Silvio Leonardi, the Senior VP of Timex Global Line, finds working with Snyder as exciting and refreshing as Snyder does with Timex. “It’s really a pleasure working with Todd because he’s so in love with the design and what he’s doing. Everything Todd has proposed has been absolutely in line with our DNA.”
The Todd Snyder X Timex watches have been doing spectacularly well for both brands, often quickly selling out their initial supply runs. “I get to do special things (with Timex), which I love, Snyder continues. “I get to do small, limited runs. We have certain units that we’ll buy more of, but with (the Mid Century), we wanted this to be limited edition and special. We wanted it to be limited distribution, and we’re only selling it in our store (on Madison Square Park) and online.
“”We’re trying to make (the watches) special, trying to fill these voids. I’m always looking for, ‘Who’s the guy?’ and then trying to tell that story.”
Leonardi is quick to point out that while the two companies could certainly make their collaboration products in non-limited production runs, this is not a venture whose sole purpose is driving revenue. “We are perfectly aware that we can sell many more than what we are producing,” says Leonardo, “but this is not the point of the partnership. This is not a partnership that is making the company richer, but making the company stronger. Our collaboration with Todd is based on this same principle.”
As Snyder continues to dig into the Timex archives, he keeps his larger goals in mind as he strives to create the right timepiece for different types of people. “We’re trying to make (the watches) special, trying to fill these voids,” he says. “Here’s a gentlemen’s watch, here’s a sport watch, here’s the military/vintage. I’m always looking for, ‘Who’s the guy?’ and then trying to tell that story.”
The new Todd Snyder X Timex Mid Century is available exclusively in the Todd Snyder boutique and on their website.