Watches that’ll make you smile

Tickling our fancy with horological heroics, master watchmakers spin time into superhero tales, from Minions’ banana-yellow charm to Spider-Man’s web of craftsmanship in limited editions.

By Debbie Hathway
Franck Muller Crazy Hours X BWD Arctic Snoopy Limited Edition

Snoopy, the beloved beagle from Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, is featured on two limited edition watch dials in 2023. Depending on where in the world you accessorise according to season, you’ll find the King Nerd x Bamford Snoopy GMT makes the perfect summer accessory, while the Franck Muller Crazy Hours X BWD Arctic Snoopy Limited Edition is ideal for chilly climes. Renowned designer Johnny Dowell, aka ‘KING NERD’, has been a Snoopy fan from a young age, and Bamford London is delighted to collaborate with him and Peanuts to create something special featuring the beloved character Tennis Snoopy.

King Nerd x Bamford Snoopy GMT

Encased in black steel, the limited-edition automatic GMT watch showcases Snoopy in his summer tennis gear on the front of the dial. Snoopy’s arms form the hour and minute hands while he wields a tennis racket. His loyal companion Woodstock sits at the tip of the second hand, accompanied by a rotating tennis ball spinning around the watch. It comes with a neon green rubber strap and an additional black leather strap adorned with embossed tennis balls, presented in a doghouse box. The piece is powered by a Swiss-made Sellita SW300-1 movement.

King Nerd x Bamford Snoopy GMT

Bamford Watch Department features the memorable pooch again in their second collaboration with Franck Muller and Peanuts to create a 45-piece Franck Muller Crazy Hours X BWD Arctic Snoopy Limited Edition. The new timepiece, a variation of Franck Muller’s iconic Crazy Hours, features a lacquered full-luminous dial where hours are scattered non-linearly, deviating from the traditional 1 to 12 format. Snoopy takes centre stage, with his arms as the unconventional hour and minute hands, showcasing a “crazy” jumping hour mechanism. Accompanying him is Woodstock perched at the 5 and 10 o’clock positions.

Franck Muller Crazy Hours X BWD Arctic Snoopy Limited Edition

The watch houses Franck Muller’s innovative automatic mechanical movement within the iconic Cintrée Curvex case, made from lightweight titanium with a white PVD coating. It is a slender 39.6mm and offers a more unisex appeal than its 2021 predecessor. The watch is secured on a white hand-sewn nylon strap with a titanium buckle and is presented in a Swiss-made, igloo-inspired case resembling Snoopy’s kennel.

Franck Muller Crazy Hours X BWD Arctic Snoopy Limited Edition

George Bamford, founder of Bamford Watch Department, said: “Everyone loves Snoopy. Bamford Watch Department loves Snoopy. Franck Muller loves Snoopy. And I just love seeing Snoopy on the dial of a watch. It puts a massive smile on my face and I can’t wait to hear what people think of this white-hot collaboration. Huge thanks to Franck Muller and Peanuts for going on this journey with us. The result is one of the coolest collaborations we’ve ever done.”

Hölstein Edition

Oris, established on June 1, 1904, releases the 250-piece limited Hölstein Edition annually on its anniversary. This year, the bestselling Aquis diver’s watch was added to this exclusive collection. While times have changed, and people no longer need a watch to tell time, Oris watches continue to bring joy today, emphasising the human connection to high-quality Swiss-made mechanical timepieces. According to Oris co-CEO Rolf Studer, “It’s part of the human condition that we can feel and express joy, and high-quality Swiss-made mechanical watches have become a vehicle for that emotion. They make us smile. This is the brief behind an Oris watch… made to celebrate the joy of mechanics and put a smile on people’s faces.”

Hölstein Edition

The Hölstein Edition 2023 features a deep purple dial, and this is the first “no-date” Aquis – both at the request of the Oris community. The case back, engraved with the numbered edition, showcases an illustration of the Oris Bear in scuba gear, embodying the watch’s fun and diver-friendly spirit. This watch houses the Calibre 400 movement with notable improvements, including elevated anti-magnetism and a 10-year warranty.

Minions Titanium

Konstantin Chaykin’s popular Minions model was relaunched in a 40mm titanium case, limited to 99 pieces. The Minions Titanium retains iconic features like a banana-yellow dial, a mouth-shaped moon phase indicator, and goggle-shaped scales covering hour and minute indicators with sapphire lenses. The new version sports a durable and lightweight titanium case with a dark grey colour, contrasting with the vibrant dial. Changes include directional grinding on the “glasses” frames, and the self-winding rotor is darkened with ruthenium electroplating to match the case colour. The transparent caseback showcases an engraved Minions image and logo on the self-winding rotor.

— Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”

Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet introduces the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” as part of its Marvel collaboration. Limited to 250 pieces, this 42mm titanium and black ceramic timepiece showcases Audemars Piguet’s fusion of traditional craftsmanship and futuristic design. The openworked movement, based on Calibre 2948, highlights Spider-Man in three-dimensional form through a sapphire crystal. The intricate process involves CNC machining, laser engraving, hand-finishing, and hand-painting, requiring over 50 hours of craftsmanship. The dial features black PVD-coated gold markers and Arabic numerals with luminescence, while the case exhibits polished, micro-blasted, and satin-finished details. The watch introduces an interchangeable strap system with black and grey rubber straps and a second black and red option matching Spider-Man’s iconic suit.

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