5 minutes

Great Stories Not Just Marketing

By Robert-Jan Broer
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Teaser
Image: © Christopher Beccan

Many luxury watch brands have partnerships with various organisations and companies from all sorts of possible fields. Apart from technological and organizational benefits, these are mainly formed in order to achieve a positive image and in the end, to gain more sales.

Some of these cooperations actually make a lot of sense, while others leave us a bit puzzled. In this article, we’ll zoom in on a couple of these watch brands and the partnerships they’ve formed.


A lot of watch brands are marketing machines. At the end of the day, it is as simple as that. Luxury products like mechanical watches need to have a good story and most of the watch brands are great at telling them to you. A great story might actually be the reason you buy a watch, regardless of whether these stories are true or come from a creative mind.

The best-known story that is hard to debate is the Moon landing in 1969 and the Omega Speedmaster’s participation in that event. Their involvement became even bigger when the watch played a crucial role when things went very wrong during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. In this case, the cooperation was rather serious business, as the Speedmaster was the winner of a tender by NASA for a chronograph for their astronauts. It was only later that Omega started to use this as a marketing tool.

Omega Speedmaster Special Editions
Omega Speedmaster Special Editions, Image: © Bert Buijsrogge

If we look at partnerships for marketing purposes, or at least those that are primarily for marketing purposes, we will see that some joint ventures make more sense than others. We’ve selected a couple of these partnerships that make sense to us and will discuss them in more detail accordingly.

IWC Schaffhausen and Santoni

This watch manufacturer from Schaffhausen is known for stylish watches with either elegant or more technical appeal. The Portuguese and Portofino collections contain the models that are bought by customers who appreciate a fine wardrobe and seek a good mechanical watch aligned with their philosophy of enjoying the finer things in life. In that respect, it was a wise and fruitful move for IWC and Santoni to team-up with each other.

Santoni is an Italian family-owned company that has been making some of the most beautiful shoes in the world for many years. They are famous for using unique shades of color which are applied by hand in a particular process by skilled craftsmen. Since 2011, they’ve created watch straps for IWC in the same spirit as their famous shoes. At first, the straps were only available on specific models, but today, you can also order the straps separately, allowing you to match your Santoni shoes and belt perfectly.

Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co.

Patek Philippe & Tiffany
Patek Philippe & Tiffany, Image: © Auctionata

Tiffany & Co. has long been an authorized dealer of specific watch brands. In some cases, the legendary jeweler even had their name printed on the dial of these watches. In auctions and on the vintage market, you will find a couple of brands (Rolex and Omega, for example) that have models with Tiffany & Co. on the dial. However, the most sought-after timepieces are perhaps those from Patek Philippe. Thus, the famous name doesn’t only get the attention of women wanting engagement rings, but also collectors of high-end and vintage timepieces.

Omega and NASA

While it isn’t entirely fair to speak of a cooperation, Omega does use the NASA name for marketing purposes, so we thought we’d include it here. Without repeating the full Moon story, it’s safe to say that it was one of the best and most powerful marketing tools a watch brand could have asked for. “If it is good enough for NASA, it is good enough for you” was one of the catchy phrases Omega used in the 1970s.

Today, Omega continues to create Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 limited editions every few years and the demand for them is higher than ever. The cool thing is that the most basic Moonwatch with a hand-wound movement is very similar to the ones that were actually used on the Moon and it’s one of the most affordable watches in the current Omega catalog.

Sinn and Manufactum

This cooperation will probably only ring a bell to German readers, but it is a cool story to tell anyway. You have to know that Manufactum is a chain of stores in Germany that only sells “the good things” you need. This ranges from socks, espresso machines, cameras, shoes, to gardening tools, and also to watches. They only carry decent brands, so to speak. So, for watches, they formed a partnership with Sinn Spezialuhren from Frankfurt. Actually, Sinn made a special model for the Manufactum boutiques, which is exclusively sold there.

Rolex and Formula 1

There’s Formula 1 and Pirelli, Formula 1 and DHL, and Formula 1 and Rolex. These are all huge and costly sponsor contracts with the most popular racing sport. Anyone who has watched Formula 1 has surely seen the Rolex branding on the tracks and timing information on your TV screen. There are no specific Formula 1 watches by Rolex, but it is clear that the Daytona is the “racing watch” in their collection. It is a powerful partnership that few brands could afford, but we imagine it must be worth it. Another example that comes close to Rolex and Formula 1 is Hublot and the UEFA soccer championships.

Does it Affect your Decision?

We could ramble on about more partnerships (Zenith and Rolling Stones, TAG Heuer and supermodels, Bremont and Boeing, etc.), but the real question is, do these cooperations affect your decision when buying a watch? Would you buy a watch simply because it is linked to Formula 1 or a specific actor or shoe brand, or does it work contrarily for you? The interesting thing about buying luxury watches is that you really do not need a (valid) reason to make a purchase.

You either like a watch, or you don’t. You either like a story and buy the watch because of it, or you buy a watch even though you could care less about the story. There are endless scenarios. In the end, it is about you buying a watch you feel happy and comfortable with. If you don’t like a certain partnership, move on to the next brand or buy something vintage.

About the Author

Robert-Jan Broer

Robert-Jan, founder of Fratello Magazine, has been writing about watches since 2004. However, his passion for watches dates back much further. In fact, he sold his …

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