We announced this project on the 23rd of September. Over a week of build-up before yesterday’s release, we could feel the excitement growing in the community, but we never could have anticipated the result. The Fratello × NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit “The Hague” Edition sold out in under ten seconds, which immediately presented us with a burning question: where do we go from here?
I must admit, of the three limited-edition projects Fratello pursued this year, it was this one that held in store the fewest surprises. I suppose knowing NOMOS and the brand’s way of working inside out largely accounts for that, but, in truth, I was just supremely confident that the design was not just attractive, but a welcome addition to the Zürich Weltzeit’s story. The fact that this watch looks so different and yet so comfortable alongside the existing Weltzeit models (core and special editions included) gives me a lot of pleasure. And, I hope from the bottom of my heart, that all 25 new owners feel the same.
While the reception of the product was almost universally positive, one thing raised eyebrows: the limitation of 25 pieces. There have been quite a few, shall we say, unsavory suggestions as to why the watch was limited to just 25 units, but the truth is far duller than the nefarious machinations suggested.
It’s been a fantastic year for us in the e-commerce sector but we are still finding our feet in this new guise. We feel a great responsibility to our readers to only pursue interesting and genuine collaborations that come from the heart. These projects really aren’t about the business side of things as much as they are love letters to the industry. That said, effectively balancing our own fiscal abilities, a brand’s production capacities, the brand’s retailers’ sentiments, and our audience’s desires is tricky.
However, difficult as it is that is no reason for us not to try and figure out a way around all of those hurdles the next time we do something. We’re working hard on remodeling how we approach these collaborations. We want to place the community’s desires front and center. Hopefully, you will all stick around to see what we’ve got brewing. I’m generally allergic to people claiming they are going to upend the watchmaking industry and “disrupt” the established order of things so I won’t go that far, but I will say what we’ve got cooking is a lot closer to doing those things than any other project or brand I’ve heard using those words with abandon.
And so how are we going to make sure the Fratelli get their hands on the watches we design? We’re going to listen. If you were sad you missed out on the Fratello × NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit “The Hague” Edition sign up to the “waiting list” here. The exact same model will not be returning, but I’m working on a fitting follow-up that I hope will scratch the itch of anyone that missed out this time. If you’re interested in that, then let us know your email address and we will be in touch in due course to ensure you have the chance to pick up whatever we serve up for round two.
But enough of the serious “what is to come” stuff; let’s talk about the watch of the moment one more time before it sails off into the sunset. As someone who consciously regards themselves as a “product-focused buyer”, a panda-dialed NOMOS Weltzeit was always something I believed in. But I would be lying if I said the story behind a watch is irrelevant to me. Sometimes I try desperately (in private) to pretend it isn’t, before listening to myself gush about why my limited edition Everest Skydive Breitling Aerospace is cool, how the Synchron Vs. Doxa military stand-off makes all of those pieces fascinating, potentially historically significant buys, or why the WH&T LCF888 chronograph was the best value project we’ve seen in the last five years (and nobody seemed to care).
Stories matter. The people and the relationships behind watches do too. It’s hard to believe that sometimes we get to be those people and unspeakably humbling that you, our valued readers, the Fratelli, validate us in that role. Of course, I must also thank NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit , the whole company, from top to bottom, for not just the faith shown in Fratello to bring this project to a worldwide audience and drive it toward success, but also in me personally and for sticking with me since I took up my current role in the media. Every time I look down at the Weltzeit on my wrist, I’ll be grateful for that.
I know there’s a lot of disingenuous stuff written on the pages of watch blogs and online watch magazines. I know, because when I was younger and greener I was tasked with writing a lot of it. It used to make me actively sad to have to work with brands I didn’t believe in or talk diplomatically about products I simply didn’t like.You could vilify me here for having had a choice in the matter. You’d be right. I did have a choice. I could have walked away from the industry I so desperately wanted to shape in some meaningful way and take up another job to pay the bills. As you know, I didn’t do that. Why? Because I believed I could make it through to the other side. Somewhere inside my head, there was a voice saying that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That voice turned out to be right. In the past, the most common way to generate income was through advertising or sponsored content. Now, there are myriad ways to execute a sponsored content deal, some more useful to the reader than others. Sometimes, online titles will take copy directly from brands (you know the stuff because it reads like a press release). We never do that. Sometimes, brands talk up a product they don’t believe in. We don’t do that either. Why am I telling you this now? Because as Fratello continues to grow and establish itself as an industry influencer (forgive me if that term sounds despicably modern), we’re less reliant on running sponsored content. In fact, for the past couple of years now, we’ve been scaling back the amount of sponsored content on the site significantly. We refuse to work with any brand in that capacity if we wouldn’t feature the brand on the site for free. And, most importantly, we insist that we retain complete editorial control over what we write. What that means is, we almost always work with brands we like because the brands we don’t like don’t want to work with us (because we are scary and mean).