Jeff Staple is no stranger to collaborations. The streetwear legend is founder of the storied Staple Pigeon line, and he’s long presided over a kingdom of incredibly successful collaborations and partnerships ranging from Nike to Fila and Sesame Street.
His iconic sneaker, the NYC Pigeon, a Nike Dunk Low Pro often credited with bringing sneaker culture into the mainstream zeitgeist, is often resold for tens of thousands of dollars. One pair recently fetched $25,200 at a Sotheby's auction.
Needless to say, Staple knows culture, and his latest collaboration is a beautiful, limited edition watch with Fossil. The timepiece pushes the envelope and challenges the wearer to reexamine the telling of time. The watch face is hidden beneath an actual wearable sundial as a nod to Fossil's long-established history of creativity within the watch making space.
We sat down with Staple to dig into his latest collaboration and hear where this creator of culture is going next.
Jeff Staple at the Staple x Fossil Watch launch event in NYC
How did this collaboration come about?
Fossil reached out and asked about the possibility of working together. We dug into all their archives. One thing I always want to do in the initial design process is see everything that is available; and then begin editing it down from there.
How did this differ from other collaborations you’ve done?
In the 25 years of Staple, we actually have not done that many watch projects, so this was already going to be unique. The fact that we did a watch that doesn’t even function like a normal watch at first glance was very unique and different. I really appreciate Fossil for flowing with me on this, haha!
Why a watch?
Like sneakers and automobiles, I am passionately inspired by the art of watchmaking. It’s an entire universe sitting there on your wrist. To me, a watch is engineering, science, fashion, color and material design, storytelling and so much more than just telling time.
How did you choose the color scheme, and why make the back a skeleton case?
The case back is see through so the user can really appreciate the inner workings of the automatic Japanese movement. As for the three colors; one is inspired by our mascot, the Pigeon. The other is inspired by the streets of New York City, aka the concrete jungle. The third is a nod to the dirt and clay of our planet, where one might actually find a “fossil.”
You mentioned there was an NFT component to the launch. Can you speak to that a bit more?
Yes, we released an NFT to accompany the project. Those who hold the special NFT are guaranteed a physical watch. The NFT was released on Bitski, and you don’t even need crypto to get it—a regular old credit card will work! I’ve been working heavy in the Web3 space, so I’m always trying to link the physical world with the new virtual world.
Watches have become increasingly futuristic, so referencing fossils was an interesting twist. Can you speak a little more to that?
Yes. The fact is, everyone already has the most accurate way of telling time—it’s their smartphone—so wearing a watch is less about time keeping. It’s more about expression of your personality. My goal here was not to create a watch. It was to create an heirloom timepiece; something that tells a story deeper than your smartphone. Rocking a sundial on your wrist will definitely create some conversation, haha! The best part is, with a flick of your wrist, it still does the job of telling time beautifully.
Any other collabs coming up this year?
So many! We just completed a five piece Tumi Travel collab. We have a coffee table book coming out with Rizzoli Books in October, and a new sneaker collab with a major brand we have never collaborated with before! Stay tuned! 2022 is a big year!
Photography by: Courtesy of Fossil