Fashion history has become a popular pursuit in the past decade. Let’s take a look back at the history of some of our favorite designer watch brands. Festina watches have an illustrious history. Festina is a shortening of the company’s original name Festina Lente (Latin for “hasten slowly”). The company was founded in 1902 but the modern Festina watches weren’t born until 1984. In 1984 Festina was merged with Lotus watches of Spain to create the modern Festina watches we know and love. Festina watches are popular among athletes. This is because they have long sponsored the Tour de France, Tour de Suisse, and Tour de Romandie. If you know someone who is a fan of bicycle racing, I would suggest getting them a Festina watch. They will appreciate the gesture and they will have something to use when they are measuring their own bicycling times.
Guess watches have had a slightly more troubled history. Since the company’s founding in 1981, Guess watches and Guess clothing have been plagued by consistent reports and citations for use of sweatshop labor. They have paid large sums of money in 1992, 1997, and 2005 as a result of court settlements regarding unfair labor practices. It seems like as one set of allegations fades more come to light. The most embarrassing incident came in 1997 after Guess watches and Guess Clothing ran several full page advertisements claiming that sweatshop labor was in the past of the Guess Corporation. Later, however, the US Labor Bureau found these statements to be untrue, unrepresentative, and misleading. Guess was forced to retract the statements. Although Guess watches are beautiful, some people will not wear them for political reasons. This is something to consider when giving one as a gift.
Fossil (the creators of Fossil watches and recreational goods) is fairly new in the watch industry, having formed in 1984 and not beginning production of Fossil watches in the 1990s. Early on Fossil had an established corporate identity as a producer of adventure gear, so their first watches were designed with the outdoorsy woodsman in mind. As the company grew in the 1990s, they teamed up with other designers to create more conventional fashion watches. Fossil was smart in that it did not try to become something it was not. When it came time to make Fossil watches more fashionable, they weren’t afraid to hire known and established design talent, even if those designers were seen as outside the Fossil watches aesthetic. The company is valued at over one billion dollars, so whatever they do certainly works.