In this review, we probe Calvin Klein, the brand, and demonstrate that quality fashion brands do exist. And unless you are a watch snob, there’s no reason not to like Calvin Klein watches.
Calvin Klein is a lifestyle and fashion titan, known for its bold apparel and accessory designs. It’s one of the most recognizable fashion labels out there. Established in 1968 in New York by fashion mogul Calvin Klein, the brand has become the go-to label for status chasers owing to its edgy underwear and jeans designs.
Besides Klein himself, many other celebrated fashion designers have collaborated with the brand: from the likes Italo Zuchelli, Raf simons, Francisco Costa, and Amy Mellen. But non have had an immense impact on the cK brand more than Swatch Group.
Calvin Klein Watch Brand History
In the 1990s, cK was looking to diversify its fashion offerings. But they needed a partner with watch-making know-how and reputation to go with, and the Swiss specialist watch and jewelry maker, Swatch Group, just happened to offer both. So they ventured into fashion watches under license from the Swiss watchmaker.
Calvin Klein and Swatch Group joined forces in 1997 to create the iconic cK timepieces. Characterized by fluid lines and asymmetry, the cK watch brand captured the hearts of laid-back fans and fashionistas alike. Its fashion-forward appeal, coupled with a sense of youthfulness and timelessness, makes for the perfect lifestyle timepiece.
Calvin Klein Reinvents, New Partnership
In 2014 cK was rebranded. It changed from cK watches to Calvin Klein watches. Subsequently, all new models would bear the ‘Calvin Klein’ logo on the dial instead of the ‘cK’ logo. In 2016, Raf Simons took charge of the label’s Creative Director position. The Belgian fashion sensation’s entry signaled new things to come.
However, in 2019, Swatch Group ended its licensing agreement with Calvin Klein after 22 years. Calvin Klein watches have since found a new home in New Jersey-based Movado Group. The 2020 partnership with the American watchmaker commences in 2022. It’s expected to re-establish Calvin Klein’s foothold in the watch and jewelry space with new and expanded offerings.
Calvin Klein Watch Collections
Below, we take you through some of Calvin Klein’s most popular watch models. These collections reflect the brand’s ideals, exuding a bold yet unassuming aesthetic. cK watches are designed with your individual needs in mind, be it dress or casual. So, if you are looking to inject a masculine or feminine flair into your accessory box, cK is the perfect candidate for that.
The Minimal Collection
Calvin Klein watches are known for their fluid lines and geometry. But within this intricate mix of design elements is another mild yet captivating ideal—minimalism. cK watches weave perfectly well within the increasingly popular minimalist lifestyle, and no other piece appeals to a wide range of tastes and style preferences quite like High Noon Chronograph Quartz
The High Noon (2018) collection features unisex watches designed to give the wearer a characteristically Calvin Klein minimalistic vibe. This sleek timepiece is housed within a 43mm PVD-treated steel case. It comes with a mineral crystal glass for maximum protection from scratch and shattering.
Some may find the 30M-water resistance rating wanting, but we’d say the rating is suitable for such a fashion statement piece. Its date display is strategically positioned at the 4 o’clock point. Safe for its silver-tone hands and markers, this is an all-black timepiece. Pair this with a dark suit or white tees and you got yourself the sauce.
The ladies’ version is even more minimalistic, exemplifying a cleaner, more traditional look. If you are a radical woman who appreciates a daring but effortless look, this statement piece is for you. The High Noon (2018) for women is your ideal accessory for an evening party or a night out with the girls.
Here’s a list of Calvin Klein unisex watches for that effortless, timeless look featuring black, gold, and pink PVD-treated steel casing and a wide range of straps and clasps.
The Rebel Collection
The Rebel Collection features provocative timepieces that radiate sensuality. The bold designed, paired with the nonconformist finishing touch should resonate with the defiant fashionista. Admittedly, it lacks the traditional feminine aura present in the other models but it’s beautiful and elegant nonetheless.
If you are the peacocking type, Calvin Klein Rebel (2018) is worth checking out. The Rebel collection, much like the Cheers (2018) Collection embodies color blocking to give you the perfect accessory. The design is remarkable given the case size (39mm). The PVD-treated case is available in combinations of gold (black strap), silver (blue strap), black (maroon strap), and silver (gray strap). The Calvin Klein logo appears at the 3 o’clock position.
Calvin Klein Brand Reputation
Three ideals best sum up the Calvin Klein brand: Minimal. Modern. Precise.
Calvin Klein is not a watchmaker per se, but it plays a major role in the design of Ck watches, ensuring they maintain their unique selling points—minimalism, modernism, and precision. Even so, there’s no discounting Swatch Group’s role in facilitating these values through the Swiss watchmaker’s strategic approach to pricing.
Minimal: A minimal, clean quality characterizes the visual and operational designs of Calvin Klein timepieces. Minimalistic watch designs are often associated with dullness— a hurdle Calvin Klein designers have so effortlessly overcome. They have pushed boundaries of design to give cK loyalists a broad range of options to choose from without sacrificing craftsmanship.
Modern: Calvin Klein watches come in either PVD finish or stainless steel. PVD coatings, while comparatively cheap, are more durable than other precious metal casing options. PVD casing is complemented by rose gold or matte black exterior, which, paired with an unassuming dial, afford these timepieces a modern appearance. The availability of a wide range of minimalistic quartz watches demonstrates the brand’s commitment to progressive designs.
Precision: Calvin Klein is synonymous with precision, made possible by the ETA Swiss quartz movement. Given cK’s emphasis on minimalist timepieces, their smaller models have benefited immensely from Swatch’s ETA movements and other components designed to fit small watch cases
Is Calvin Klein A Good Watch Brand?
cK-branded watches enjoy the perks of being under Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch producer. Consequently, cK watches are marketed as ‘Swiss made’ because they come with some of the same high-quality Swiss movements found in other advanced Swatch Group Brands, thanks to Swatch’s commitment to vertical integration.
Questions surrounding the quality of Calvin Klein watches have surfaced following the licensing deal termination by Swatch Group. The Swiss watchmaker was a major player behind the cK-branded watches’ success factor. And now that the deal is off, cK watch loyalists are dying to know whether they can expect the same quality going forward.
While Calvin Klein’s new partner, Movado Group, is American, it was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Movado also happens to house other noteworthy watch brands, the likes of Coach, Concord, Lacoste, and Scuderia Ferrari.
So yes, you can expect to see ‘Swiss-Made’ on Calvin Klein watches even post-Swatch Group era. You can also rest assured that your Calvin Klein timepiece will not be losing that American aesthetic anytime soon.
Under Swatch Group’s stringent quality control, Calvin Klein watches wearers have always counted on build quality. However, rumor has it that cK might resort to cost-cutting measures— maybe faux leather or alloy instead of stainless steel—to keep up with past, Swatch-enabled pricing.
More for Less
A complaint that some aficionados raise about Calvin Klein watches, compared to a similar quality watch from a less trendy brand, is the claim that you’ll almost always pay extra for the famous name. The same issue has been raised against almost every fashion watch brand we’ve covered and any watch brand representing a fashion designer such as HUGO BOSS, Tommy Hilfiger or Michael Kors.
While it may be true that you’re paying a premium for Calvin Klein, the same could be said about the brand’s clothes and other accessories or any other designer brand for that matter.
Speaking of pricing, we think cK has done a pretty good job thus far. Compared to other fashion brands’ offerings, such as Daniel Wellington, known for hefty price tags for limited to zero amounts of quality control and craftsmanship, cK offers you way more for less.
If you’re on the fence and don’t care much about designer name recognition, take a look at some classy, timeless watch brands such as Seiko, Citizen and Orient – they all have stylish options that are also reliable and affordable.
Where to Buy Calvin Klein Watches?
If you are in the US, you can shop for a Calvin Klein watch from their online shop and receive it within 1-2 business days. Their wide range of shipping methods is remarkable; their platform is not. Watch shoppers have to search for watches, which are buried in a sea of jewelry.
Calvin Klein does not ship internationally, but you can still get to rock any of their models no matter where you are by shopping Calvin Klein watches on Amazon.
Where are Calvin Klein Watches Made?
The Watch Group deal saw Calvin Klein watches designed and produced by the Swiss-based watchmaker. From design to final assembly, nearly everything you see in Ck-branded timepieces is Swiss-made. Calvin Klein timepieces will continue to enjoy this revered Swiss status, even as Movado Group picks up the pieces.
Is Calvin Klein a Luxury Brand?
cK-branded watches are known for their quality, a remarkable feat, given Calvin Klein is a fashion brand and well-respected designer. Quality notwithstanding, it’s not considered a luxury brand. The price range alone is a dead giveaway, not to mention the ‘quartz’ vibe. But you can count on a Calvin Klein piece to make a fashion statement, anytime, anywhere.
Calvin Klein Warranty Policy
All Calvin Klein-branded watches are warranted by CK Watch & Jewelry Co. Ltd. The warranty is valid for a period of 24 months from the date of purchase and only covers “material and manufacturing defects existing at the time of delivery.” See warranty details for what is not covered.