As the effortless but meaningful article from GQ states: “Novelty watches are not just for kids anymore“. And by novelty watches, we are referring to those playful watches, with unique timekeeping concepts, with dials adorned by beloved cartoon characters, where often the conventional hands and markers are replaced by other objects, and where the designer’s imagination exceeds its peak.
A more serious definition would be as follows: Novelty watches are those watches that focus on the overall aesthetics and are characterized by their distinctive designs.
Is a novelty watch worth it?
In terms of design and overall aesthetics, a novelty watch serves as the perfect conversation starter as its unorthodox appearance will most definitely grab some attention. Whether if you’re looking to make a statement, adorn your wrist with style, and be the coolest guy in the room – well these are enough reasons to consider wearing a novelty watch.
Often with novelty watches, at least those in the entry-level price range, there is little to no hard work or craftsmanship on what beats underneath. Obviously, Rolex does its job perfectly, and novelty watches these days are by no means trying to compete with its watchmaking heritage. Instead, these distinctive watches bring a flavor of uniqueness and insanity to your wrist, and that’s what you get.
It makes you curious to see some of them, doesn’t it?
Well, you’re in the right place as this article is entirely dedicated to some of the most beautiful and best novelty watches of all time. From affordable to untouchable, from meaningfully designed and historical timepieces to silly and childish ideas- the novelty watches mentioned below are offered to you as an escape from the conventional wristwatches.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse Watch
There is a lot to talk about Mickey Mouse watches but we will keep it short and clear. Walt Disney was saved from going bankrupt by selling the merchandising rights of Mickey Mouse to Ingersoll Waterbury (Timex today). Back in the 30s, it resulted to be a gigantic market hit as people simply loved the watch. Released were Mickey Mouse pocket watches and wristwatches. The latter was even the most famous as everyone from kids to adults, women or men, was wearing the watch. Today, brands from all around the world celebrate the pop culture icon Mickey Mouse by adoring their dials with the beloved character. And if you want to learn more about Mickey Mouse watches, check our article. Price the last time I checked: $39.95 from Disney Shop.
Mr. Jones – A Perfectly Useless Afternoon
A Perfectly Useless Afternoon was the watch that made Mr. Jones’s watch brand famous and helped them find their way on the horological map. As the founder of Mr. Jones, Crispin Jones itself states:
“We make unusual novelty watches which tell a story, start a conversation or simply make you smile”
A Perfectly Useless Afternoon is an excellent example. On the watch, you will find the illustration on his pool floaty reading a book (hour hand) and the tiny plastic duck floating around that serves as the minute hand. This particular watch was made in collaboration with the famous Belgian illustrator Kristof Devos and the manufacturing is handled in London, UK – where all Mr. Jones watches are designed and assembled. Price the last time I checked: $245 for the model with the 37mm case and $395 for the model with the 45mm case.
Casio A100WEPC Pac-Man
The world-renowned arcade game Pac-Man that conquered every bar back in the 80s, has recently returned the nostalgia thanks to Casio. The Casio A100WEPC in collaboration with Pac-Man is a decent and fun tribute to Pac-Man, one of the greatest video gaming icons. Its playful interpretation comes with the Pac-Man motifs all over the watch’s gold-tone plated case, which will most definitely bring to life some memories from those good ol’ days. This digital vintage-inspired novelty watch comes with a dozen of functions. Included here are a daily alarm, auto calendar, 12-24 hour format, an hourly time signal (can be turned off, no worries), digital chronograph, and LED backlight. Price the last time I checked: $99.95
Mr. Jones Watch “The Accurate”
We love the novelty watches of Mr. Jones so much we decided to add another of their novelty watches to this article. Mr. Jones The Accurate is a memento mori watch that reminds you of the inevitability of death and recalls that life is short and we have to enjoy every moment of it while we are here. It is all about being distinctive with Mr. Jones novelty watches and The Accurate makes no exception. The adorable timepiece will serve as a great conversation starter (of course, if you have the nerve to explain to everyone what a memento mori watch is) and it also looks good on the wrist. Price the last time I checked: $245
Neist Skull Dial Police Watch
Police Watches is an Italian watch brand founded by the De Rigo brothers. The first Police Watch was introduced in 2003 when the De Rigo brothers decided to enter the watch manufacturing business after conquering Europe’s market of sunglasses for over 15 years. With brand ambassadors like The Terminator and Justice League, Bruce Willis, and George Clooney – the brand’s future was more than bright. Police watches were some of the first to bring unorthodox elements on the table like skeleton dials, engraved skulls – things you expect to see around Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Terminator. Police watches bring a brash and unique design, often accompanied by a modern style with an urban appeal. Price the last time I checked: $170
Citizen Death Star
Become One with the Force and let this timepiece from Citizen transport you to an unconventional realm of watches. The Citizen Death Star is part of Citizen’s collection inspired by the Star Wars Saga. And since black does never go out of fashion, we might say this watch will age pretty well. As a true novelty watch, Citizen Death Star belongs to a limited edition of 1997 pieces available worldwide. It comes with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology (powered by light, any light) and its technological terror inspired design represents the notorious evil engine displayed in a green luminous painting on the dial. Price the last time I checked: $275. Check the article for more Star Wars novelty watches.
Hamilton Ventura Skeleton Auto
By the time you’ll have read this article, this limited edition novelty watch would be probably gone. The Hamilton Ventura Skeleton Auto first appeared on the wrist of Tony Stark’s character in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). It belongs to a limited edition of 999 pieces and its impressive design features an intricate spiderweb with an exposed gear dial in pure black. Underneath the Hamilton Ventura Skeleton Auto beats an automatic movement caliber H-10-S with a whopping 80 hours of power reserve. It is one of the best skeleton novelty watches you will find and with its peculiar triangular case, there is no reason not to buy this timepiece. Oh, and almost forgot! The price the last time I checked was $2,246. Here you will find more about limited edition watches you can still purchase in 2021.
Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award”
As we leave aside the entry-level affordable novelty watches, we move toward the luxury range. The Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary was recently released to remind the world of Omega’s contributions to space exploration. Snoopy has for a long time been NASA’s mascot (especially in the 60-70) the time when Omega received the Silver Snoopy Award from NASA. Well, in case you don’t know, it was an Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, the watch that helped Apollo 13 land safe back to Earth when their spaceship unexpectedly deviated from its predicted trajectory. As for the watch itself, it is powered by the co-axial master chronometer caliber 3861, which is responsible for the accuracy of timekeeping and the chronograph. It comes with 50 hours of power reserve and as a luxury novelty watch, its design is also groundbreaking. Price the last time I checked: $10,000.
Konstantin Chaikin Minotaur
The relatively new independent watchmaker or microbrand watch (depending on how you see it) has returned the eyes of the watch enthusiasts to Russia. The Russian watchmaker, Mr. Chaykin, has bombarded in last years the world of watches with some unique timepieces and the Minotaur is one of them. Released recently during Geneva Watch Days, the Minotaur comes as an art object that bings a flavor of insanity to your wrist.
The highly exclusive novelty watch belongs to a limited edition of 8 pieces manufactured only and has a price of $22,000. On the dial, you will find the face of the Minotaur (a fabulous monster from Greek mythology portrayed with the body of a man and the head and tail of a bull). The mythology theme is evoked from the labyrinth motives to the Minotaur’s nose (letters indicate the weekday) and eyes, the most captivating element, keep track of time.