Tom Ford enters the watch business

The fashion titan has partnered with Shinola’s parent company to produce high-end watches manufactured in Switzerland.

It’s a sobering moment when news trickles in of a fashion brand breaking into the tightly knit community of watch manufacturers. The reason is that it could always go either way. Far too many fashion houses have licensed their badge to be pasted onto watches that simply aren’t creative, aesthetic or technically accomplished enough to create even as much as a murmur among watch collectors and industry veterans. On the other hand you have the likes of Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren who are making such avant-garde high-end timepieces, that full-time watch-manufacturing houses from venerable and centuries-old Swiss maisons are forced to reckon the existence of these newcomers.

Now, eponymous American fashion designer Tom Ford has just announced his foray into the world of horology. In a statement to the press, he said, “Watches have long been an obsession of mine and I have been waiting for the perfect moment in our brand development to introduce this category and have also waited for the perfect partner. We have found that in Tom Kartsotis and Bedrock Manufacturing Company.”

Bedrock Manufacturing Company is the parent company of Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola (Obama was seen shopping at the store a year ago). Bedrock’s CEO Tom Kartsotis was also the founder of Fossil, another fashion watch brand, back in 1984, before launching his private equity firm, Bedrock, in Texas in 2003. “We have a deep appreciation for the craft, detail, quality and taste that Tom Ford stands for. We are excited about this collaboration and look forward to helping Tom express his vision,” said Kartsotis in the same joint press statement.

Details about the Tom Ford Timepieces are still not entirely known, but from the press statement we gather that the watches will have a “luxury price positioning” and will be made in Switzerland and the distribution of the watches will be “limited”. That’s about enough to already send an electrifying bolt of excitement right through the heart of world of haute horology.