You thought turtles were slow, right? If you want to score the $ 125 retail Timex x Noah watch this Black Friday, you’ll have to point your browser to Ebay (where one sits at $ 400), Grailed ($ 1,000), or some other resale platform and pony up, because this one went fast. Buzzy collaborations selling out quickly isn’t exactly a new thing, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a bit surprised to see that this one, which launched at 11 AM Thanksgiving morning, was gone by 11:09. You know Timex, of course, but what’s Noah and what the heck is this watch all about?
In the five years since Brendon Babenzien restarted Noah – a New York-based apparel brand with other locations in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Osaka – the company has established itself as quite a bit more than just a popular fashion line with a vibe that blends downtown New York with preppy leisure influences. Babenzien, who was for years the creative director of Supreme, has built a company that strives to be a socially conscious brand with ethically sourced products and materials. I like the store’s designs – the New York flagship is close to HODINKEE HQ – and have ventured in once or twice. Those Noah baseball caps are everywhere, the kind of item you start spotting on your cooler friends’ heads once you know what to look for.
I only got a sense for what Noah was beyond selling hats when I read a piece in the online magazine Maekan. In it, the author, David Kenji Chang, compares Noah and its founder to the protest folk music hero Woody Guthrie, whose familiar and accessible melodies often concealed a trenchant message. A comfy and cozy wrapping Noah may seem, but look closer and you’ll discover a principled stance when it comes to how products are sourced and how workers and the environment are affected. “This is as much a weapon of war as it is a business in my opinion,” Babenzien told Chang. “It is very much built into the DNA of the business that this company has to do good,” he went on.
So I wasn’t really surprised to see that Noah’s collaboration with Timex – a watch featuring a knife-wielding, bird-flipping turtle on its dial – was made not just to look cool and make you smile, but to raise awareness and funds for an issue that plagues the world’s oceans. Not the swirling nation-state-sized plastic gyre in the Pacific where much of our unrecycled waste ends up, but something I actually hadn’t heard of. Ghost nets, as they are known, are discarded fishing nets that trap aquatic life and drown them. Apparently the ocean is littered with such debris, and they perform the job they were designed to do – catching animals – quite effectively long after fishermen discard them. The turtle hero on Noah and Timex’s watch wields his knife so that he can free his marine buddies from such netting should they get caught.
The stainless steel watch comes in the classic 38mm Waterbury case with a blue recycled nylon strap provided by SpinDye, a maker of sustainable polyester yarns and fabrics for the fashion industry. On the back is a straightforward message: GHOST NETS SUCK!
This is a fun watch that made me smile when I read the press release. It costs $ 125, with 10 percent of proceeds going to Ocean Defenders, a non-profit organization actively removing debris from the oceans off California and Hawaii. Its intentionally playful design might interest those who are into the Noah brand or character watches more broadly, but it also aims to do a bit of good in the process, offering the same basic functionality that you’d expect from a Timex Waterbury watch in terms of its Indigo display, accurate quartz movement, and water resistance to 50 meters.
I’d actually hoped to snag one of these guys for myself, but with prices sitting where they are at this writing, it’s looking like it’s going to be much less of an impulse purchase.
Model: Timex x Noah
Reference Number: TW2U70500
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: White with white and blue turtle
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: SpinDye nylon strap
Caliber: Timex quartz
Functions: Hours, minutes
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 125 (10% of proceeds go to Ocean Defenders)
Availability: Sold out, with examples available on secondary market.