Judging by the results of continued collaboration between Ace Jewelers and NOMOS Glashütte there’s something good in the water of Amsterdam. Something very good. In an age where limited edition watches seem to make up the core offering of many brands, would-be collaborators have to be sure their co-branded product will be well-received and not negatively impact either reputation on the line. There is no exact recipe for ensuring a warm reception, but there are a couple of things brands and retailers should keep in mind when designing special products. As usual, Ace Jewelers has perfectly gauged the audience appeal of their latest team-up with the quirkiest German manufacture going.
The Rules of the Game
The first rule of thumb when it comes to limited editions is simply to not overdo it. Dropping countless limiteds with every brand in store is a model that can work, but it takes a long time to build up to and, preferably, a very wide catchment area with potential international exposure.
While Ace Jewelers, thanks to its exemplary online boutique, has the latter, the two physical stores in central Amsterdam are surrounded by rival retailers, which makes it imperative that the run-size of any limited project is gauged right. At 25 pieces for what is perhaps the most respected model in the NOMOS collection, it seems highly unlikely that this product will be left gathering dust.
The second, and really most important thing when it comes to a successful limited project, is for it to be worthwhile. Is there a gap in the market? Is the product desired? Will it stand the test of time? Gaudy designs that take an established model and drape it in oversized logos or incongruous colourways appeal to a very niche demographic and, with a few exceptions, don’t tend to age as well as collectors may hope.
Core is More
The best limiteds are the limiteds that wouldn’t need to be limited to be successful. How many times have you seen a bonkers, aesthetically divisive model from major limited lovers like Hublot or HYT and thought it was just as well that only a few pieces were being made? Now, I personally love both of those cited brands for many, many reasons, but I’m not blind to the fact that they operate on a totally different plane from the volume of luxury watch sales. At that price point, super rich individuals that covert exclusivity over pretty much anything else will ensure their projects are a success and long may it continue. The problem with these examples is that the same design process is sometimes applied to actually affordable models that the general buying public may aspire to own.
Demographic Drivers are Key
At the price point of the Ace Jewelers × NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit Amsterdam limited edition, success is best achieved by creating a watch that could, for all intents and purposes, exist in the core collection without causing too much fuss at all. While that may sound far too conservative from a design perspective for some, I would argue that it actually encourages real creativity – to find novelty in the cracks of a well-trodden path, to create a product that simultaneously stands on its own two feet while supporting those around it. That is, to my eyes, what Ace and NOMOS have achieved with their latest project.
A Strong Partnership
The latest NOMOS limited edition to hit the shelves in Amsterdam is the third collaboration between Ace Jewelers and NOMOS Glashütte since the duo became partners following Baselworld 2016. The following year saw the first collaboration between the pair – a 100-piece run of the Ace Jewelers × NOMOS Glashütte Orion De Stijl limited edition celebrating the centenary of the famed Dutch art style – before 2018 witnessed the release of the Ace Jewelers × NOMOS Club Amsterdam model. The second limited was restricted to just 75 pieces and, with a highly accessible price point, sold out in record time. Following on from the Club, which was inspired by the iconic flag of Amsterdam, the Zürich Weltzeit employs a strong colour scheme of true black, stark white, and bright red.
While the dial of the Club Amsterdam was actually the anthracite colour as seen on the standard club, this “true” black is the real McCoy. It provides the perfect base for the crisp dial printing to leap out at you, making the watch, with its polished, faceted hands, legible at a glance.
On the city ring, which enables wearers to easily shift between timezones, Berlin is replaced by Amsterdam. At 3 o’clock the 24-hour disc, which always shows your home time, sees the cutesy “house” icon replaced by a miniaturised version of Amsterdam’s flag. The three crosses that decorate the central band of the flag can be seen again, replacing the word NOMOS on the winding crown.
The watch is powered by the in-house DUW5201, which features NOMOS Glashütte’s swing system escapement and boasts a power reserve of 42 hours, along with 30 meters of water resistance. The retail price for the Ace Jewelers × NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit Amsterdam limited edition is €4,620 and the watch is available from the retailer’s online boutique now.