Stadium Goods and Watches of Switzerland will open a new exhibit, “Sneaker Time,” on Friday, highlighting the culture and collectibility of luxury watches and rare sneakers.
The U.K.-based watch retailer and the premium sneaker and streetwear marketplace curated the exhibit, pairing watches with sneakers by their complementary design details, origin stories, craftsmanship and materials. That includes pairings such as the Fragment x Air Jordan 1 with the Grand Seiko Drive Nissan GT-R 50th anniversary timepiece, and the Adidas NMD Hu Trail sneakers by Pharrell Williams with the Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono Hypebeast timepiece.
In addition, the Nike “Paranorman” is paired with a new “Drop” watch from HYT that is launching at the exhibit.
Both watch and sneaker collecting cultures have dedicated members that remember obscure facts such as ownership and release years, for example, that make certain products covetable, and therefore, more expensive to sell and trade. David Hurley, executive vice president of Watches of Switzerland Group USA, understands both worlds since he considers himself a sneakerhead.
“I started collecting sneakers in earnest when I moved to London after college. I have well over 400 pairs now — most have never been worn,” he said. “I’ve always loved the different variations on specific iconic designs like the Nike Air Force 1 and Adidas Micropacer. Similar to timepieces, a very subtle change in design can significantly increase the desirability.”
In the sneaker world, Air Jordan re-releases, or retros, often feature redesigns that collectors reference when talking about styles. For instance, the original Air Jordan III that featured Nike Air branding on the heel and outsole, was changed to the Jordan logo for retros, and returned for special re-releases, including one in 2013 in honor of the 23rd anniversary of Michael Jordan’s 1988 Slam Dunk Contest win.
“For me,” Hurley continued, “the same culture of collecting sneakers and sourcing specific pairs translates to watches so the idea of bringing these two worlds together seemed relatively logical and Stadium Goods the ideal partner. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this exhibition.”
Watches of Switzerland opened its first U.S. flagship in New York City at 60 Greene Street last year. The 8,000-square-foot location features a newly designed lower level where the exhibit will debut. The exhibit also marks as Stadium Goods’ second luxury partnership this year, following the auction it hosted with Sotheby’s in July. The auction featured 100 sneakers that were ultimately purchased by collector Miles Nadal, including the Nike Moon Shoes that sold for $437,000.
“Ever since the incredible success of our partnership with Sotheby’s last summer, we’ve had a number of opportunities to pair with brands that are outside the typical sneakers and streetwear realm,” said Stadium Goods cofounder and co-chief executive officer John McPheters.
“Luxury brands are beginning to understand that sneakers and streetwear are luxury items for a new generation, and collectibles in their own right, and that Stadium Goods provides a depth of knowledge and curatorial eye to showcase our product alongside theirs. We come from a culture that venerates the design of sneakers in the same way connoisseurs of fine timepieces adore watches, so pairing the categories together is a way to highlight the extraordinary artistry of both.”
“Sneaker Time” will be on display through Dec. 2.