Monday, February 6

John Mayer Wants His G-Shock Collaborations to Help Democratize Watch Collecting

Back in 2020, I called Mayer the most influential watch collector alive, because what he decides to put on his wrist often has the power to move markets. And that was before he started designing his own instant-sellout watches that now go for nearly three times their original retail price. In a press release, Hodinkee reports it sold 4.2 watches per second of 2021’s white G-Shock before selling the whole run out in 36 minutes—that’s a total of more than 9,000 watches!  

The new collaborative watch also gets in on one of 2022’s most welcome trends: a wellspring of great watches priced below $500. In addition to Mayer, other collaborators like Rowing Blazers, Bait, Todd Snyder, Swatch, and Adsum have combined interesting design with not-scary prices. We connected with Mayer to discuss why it was important to make an accessibly priced watch, how his elite-collector status helped him as a designer, and his next foray into watch collaboration. 

The full Mayer x G-Shock x Hodinkee trio 

You’re well-known as a discerning watch collector—how did those many years of experience on that side of the watch world inform your approach to designing your own watches and knowing what an audience might be looking for?
This has been an opportunity for me to overlay the excitement and enthusiasm usually reserved for high end mechanical watches on top of a sub-$200 watch that’s usually looked at as separate from the “watch world.” And in a lot of ways it is: there is no mechanical movement, so there’s no focus on the inner workings—that’s a separate world. But I’ve held and looked at thousands of watches, and there’s this innate feeling I always look for, when all the elements of the design fall into place and you simply admire something you have on your wrist. That’s the feeling. Admiration. You want to admire the watch you’re wearing, no matter the price.  

I really appreciate that you collaborated with a brand that enabled you to make affordable watches—why was that important to you? 
The mission statement that Hodinkee and I both share is to try and democratize the feeling of watch collecting. There’s no way to make high-end mechanical watches accessible to everyone who appreciates them, but there is a way, at any price point, to create something that inspires the same feeling of involvement in terms of seeing something that appeals to you and the joy of opening the box, throwing it on your wrist and looking at your new watch with a smile. That emotion shouldn’t have to be expensive, in theory. 

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