It’s no secret that watch collecting and sneaker collecting have a lot in common. The fervor for both passions is high enough that Watches of Switzerland and Stadium Goods are working together to honor their symbiotic hype. On Thursday night, the two retailers are hosting a private event to inaugurate “Sneaker Time,” which puts both obsessive collecting cultures on full display in an exhibition at Watches of Switzerland’s Soho boutique.
“The intricacy and storytelling behind the design is what sets apart the markets for sneakers and watches from other luxury items,” says John McPheters, founder of Stadium Goods, the sneaker retailer recently acquired by Farfetch at a valuation of $250 million. “There’s a segment of consumers that’s willing to pay a premium for these items because there’s an understanding that they’re cultural artifacts and tell a story about the owner. That market has been well established for some time for watches, but the market for sneakers has arrived in force, as evidenced by our auction with Sotheby’s.”
Stadium Goods partnered with the auction house in July to auction off a collection of 100 sneakers, which raked in $850,000. The entire lot was purchased by one collector—Canadian entrepreneur and investor Miles Nadal, who is said to have displayed his new footwear in his Dare to Dream Automobile Museum in Toronto. The space is also home to Nadal’s collection of 142 cars and 40 motorcycles.
“After the success of the Sotheby’s auction, we’ve been presented with a number of these opportunities,” says McPheters. “Luxury brands understand that we have an extensive track record in the luxury space, and that our ability to curate a selection of sneakers that can augment the story of their items is unmatched. Watches of Switzerland obviously has their own strong lineage, so it was a good pairing overall.”
To highlight the natural connection between a centuries-old accessory and a footwear staple that debuted in the 20th century, Stadium Goods has taken sneakers from its Trophy Case of rare editions and paired them with modern watches from the Watches of Switzerland vault. Examples include a Fragment x Air Jordan 1 by Japanese streetwear god Hiroshi Fujiwara and a Grand Seiko Drive Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Limited Edition watch or a pair of Adidas NMD Hu Trail sneakers by Pharell in collaboration with Chanel and a Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono Hypebeast timepiece. (Obviously, one thing both worlds share is an affinity for long product names.)
“As well as being a close neighbor to our Soho flagship, Stadium Goods is recognized as a global authority on sneakers,” says David Hurley, executive vice president of the Watches of Switzerland Group. “Their team was equally enthusiastic about creating a unique exhibition experience that brings together these two categories of highly collectible and unique pieces.”
McPheters says Watches of Switzerland picked out the watches first and then the Stadium Goods team went to work meticulously and thoughtfully picking out the sneaker pairings. “We looked at design themes, design stories, colors and other attributes to make our selections,” says McPheters. “For instance, we paired the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch with the highly collectable Off-White x Nike Air Force 1, not only because of the obvious ‘Pilot’ and ‘Air Force’ themes present in both product identities, but also because Virgil Abloh’s Off-White collection truly embodies the ‘Engineered for New Horizons’ motto of the IWC Pilot Collection. The Hublot Big Bang Unico King is paired with the Kanye West x Louis Vuitton Don ‘Creme,’ not only for the similarities in the colors between the watchband and the sneaker, but also because of Kanye’s ties to Hublot (famously called out in ‘Otis’ from his Watch the Throne project with Jay-Z ) and the fact that both Hublot and Louis Vuitton sit under the LVMH portfolio.”
All of the watches and sneakers are for sale with the exception of one pair of Balenciaga sneakers sourced specifically for the exhibition by Stadium Goods to illustrate a look. One of the pairings even includes a new watch drop. HYT’s brand new Soonow takes the watchmaker’s fluid timekeeping to a new level in a new riff on its skull model.
The exhibition includes 15 pairings and will be on display until December 2 on the bottom level of Watches of Switzerland.
HYT SOONOW paired withNike Air Foamposite One “ParaNorman”
Grand Seiko Spring Drive 20th & Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Limited Edition paired with Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1
Ulysse Nardin Freak X Black Marquetry paired with Balenciaga Track.2
Bremont Martin Baker MBIII 10th Anniversary paired with Supreme x Air Jordan 5
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Rodeo Drive” Timepiece paired with Off-White™ x Nike Air Force 1 Low “Black”
Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 Curtiss Warhawk paired with Nike Air Max 90 “Warhawk”
Hublot Big Bang Unico King White Ceramic paired with Kanye West x Louis Vuitton Don “Cream”
Jacob & Co. Epic x Chrono HYPEBEAST Edition paired with Chanel x adidas Originals Pharrell Williams Hu NMD
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph, Black Dial paired withadidas NMD “Pitch Black”
Tudor Heritage Ranger paired withTom Sachs x Nike Mars Yard 2.0
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue” paired withDoernbecher x Nike Air Jordan 8 Retro
L’Epee Time Fast D8 paired withPharrell Williams x adidas Originals Hu NMD “Human Race”
Longines Skin Diver Watch paired with Hender Scheme MIP-10
Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges Skeleton paired with COMME des GARÇONS x Nike Dunk High “Clear”
Armin Strom Skeleton Pure “Sneaker Time” Edition paired with KAWS x Air Jordan 4