Tommy Hilfiger is one of those brands that need no introduction. Even if you are not a fashionista, chances are you’ve seen a polo shirt, watch, or sunglass with the unmistakable red, white and blue logo. Heck, you may have sported one yourself.
Still, you might be wondering if their timepieces would provoke the same attention as… say their sunglasses, if you were to buy one. In this article, we take a closer look at TH’s history—how they got involved in watches. Is a Tommy watch worth your hard-earned buck, or will you just be adding another mediocre fashion watch to your accessory box? Below, we help you answer these and other questions.
Tommy Hilfiger Brand History
When American fashion genius Tommy Hilfiger proclaimed himself as ‘the next big thing in American fashion,’ many laughed him off as a wannabe fashionista. But those who knew him best, the likes of Calvin Klein, were all too aware of what he was capable of.
What started as a brand based on self-promotion would soon become the hip-hop world’s darling. By the early 1990s, oversized versions of Hilfiger’s preppy apparel were dominating America’s subculture. Tommy Hilfiger became hugely popular among then hip-hop stars, such as Snoop Dog, Puff Daddy (Diddy), and Coolio. Hilfiger wearables have pretty much maintained the hippy, American aesthetic that catapulted the brand to fashion glory, but a keen fashion cop would tell you that the brand has been pivoting toward high fashion.
Tommy Hilfiger Watches
See, Tommy Hilfiger is not a watchmaker per se, but he comes from a lineage of watchmakers. His father, Richard Hilfiger was a German-Swiss watchmaker. However, it was not until 2001 that Hilfiger entered the timekeeping business. They partnered with global watch titan Movado for exclusive production and marketing of Tommy Hilfiger watches. Tommy Hilfiger-Movado licensing agreement has resulted in a mix of style sense and design expertise.
The Movado watch group houses other licensed watch brands— HUGO BOSS, Scuderia Ferrari, Lacoste, Coach; and owns brands including the likes of Movado and MVMT.
Tommy Hilfiger Watch Collections
You will find that the majority of TFW are oversized and color-rich. They are aesthetically pleasing too, making most of their models suitable for casual occasions although there some models in the brand’s product line that could work well for business-casual or everyday wear. However, unlike some fashion brands that rely heavily on bling most TH models are more elegant looking, although you will encounter some jewelry-like watch models in the women’s collections.
Tommy Hilfiger for Men
TH men’s watches vary in design and functionality, but they all share one quality—an American style. They are available in quartz, Chronograph, and automatic. If you are looking for a dressed-up look, the Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Analogue Quartz Watch Barclay is as clean as it can get. The dial would have been perfect with just the TH logo, but they just couldn’t help it but embed the name too. The design and finish, paired with a textured leather strap, bring out the smart-casual vibe.
Hilfiger polo shirts are popular within the sporting world, and while TH wouldn’t dream of challenging the big-name brands for a piece of the sporting dealership cake, they do have some cool sports timepieces. The Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Sports Black Dial manages to pull off the look with its olive silicone strap giving it a slightly military vibe although realistically the brand is out of its league on this as most outdoor watches would have a much tougher build and water resistance beyond the 50m that this watch offers.
TH has some noteworthy Chronographs, but this Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Silver-Tone Chrono caught our attention because it combines simplicity with sophisticated functionality giving the wearer a younger look. The dial is a bit cluttered for our liking, but most people will not even notice because they will be too preoccupied with the extra push-button on the left. Pair this with the refined industrial look of the case and the mesh strap, and you are sure to turn a few heads. Overall, it looks like a nice watch, going by the upbeat reviews from buyers.
Tommy Hilfiger for Women
There’s nothing new when it comes to TH women’s watches. They pretty much look normal and unaspiring—a characteristically fashion brand look. They are available in Chronos and quartz variants— strapped by mesh, leather, silicone, or rubber.
At the height of THW designer chic is this Tommy Hilfiger Whitney Rose Gold-Tone Ladies Watch. Most square watches have leather straps because it makes for an easy, safe design pair. But this model incorporates a stainless steel band—quite a bold move. The engravings on the case provide a nice break from the gold tone. At 4.48 ounces, one is left wondering just how heavy the casing is relative to the band. Compared to their colored models, this one is versatile and can be paired with any casual or dressed-up look.
Consider this good old Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Quartz Watch with Leather Strap for a more boardroom-like look. It’s less shouty, clean, and beautifully sizeable. Although the threading on the leather strap sort of waters down the feminine appeal, you will surely make a statement with this on your wrist.
Tommy Hilfiger Automatic
The Tommy Hilfiger Automatic (1710186)incorporates a semi-skeleton and Chronograph to give an affordable multifunctional timepiece. The design is modest, with an ultra-smart appeal to it and the sub-dial positioning is just remarkable. Combined with subdials and the open heart design at the 6 o’clock position gives you interesting looking automatic as a reasonable price.
Tommy Hilfiger Brand Reputation
Like most designers, Tommy Hilfiger has had a few run-ins with bad luck. In the wake of the hugely publicized divorce from his wife, sales plummeted. The red, white and blue logo was not cool anymore. Celebrities stopped rocking Tommys. However, his company has since reaffirmed its authority in the design space following new deals with the likes of Macy’s.
Riding on Clothing Success
Tommy Hilfiger’s success in the watch space is anchored to its authority in the fashion industry. They are not watchmakers in the traditional sense of watchmaking. However, they give their watches the same attention and consideration as their other products. Tommy Hilfiger is known for handy wearables and accessories. This same charm is present in their watches.
Shaky Fashion Background>Movado Effect
It also helps to manufacture and sell under a reputable watchmaking company like Movado. Movado has over 120 years’ worth of watchmaking experience, and while Tommy Hilfiger may rank lower than Movado-owned brands, such as MVMT, you don’t have to look too hard to see Movado’s superb standards in THW.
For the seasoned watch buff, a brand’s horological background says a lot about its standing—and Tommy Hilfiger’s is tellingly short.
Is Tommy Hilfiger A Good Watch Brand?
The company is not new to the fashion business and is definitely not a novice player in the status games. Though dressmaking and watchmaking are worlds apart, given the huge entry barriers for the former, Tommy Hilfiger, has made remarkable inroads in this territory by positioning their watches as classically American status pieces.
If you are into bulky wristwatches that prominently display the brand’s logo, you will love THW. You may have noticed that none of their models feature any innovative or out-of-the-norm design, which is expected given the price range. Therefore, you will appreciate your TH watch more by concentrating on the looks aspects rather than craftsmanship.
In addition to style, their timepieces are reliable, thanks to Movado. When you go for a TH watch, you get reliability and style at an affordable price.
One of the biggest complaints against the brand is its lack of horological history. While the licensing with Movado makes up for some of that, this is an argument we hear about almost every fashion brand and not unique to Tommy.
Unlike brands such as Orient or Timex that both have a history of making quality watches at affordable prices, many watch aficionados see Tommy Hilfiger as just a designer brand that puts their logo on fashion accessories, including watches. Another complaint is that the watches are made with inexpensive quartz movements (like the Miyota 1L22 ), these are accurate, reliable, well built for the price. The complaint is that these movements cost less than $10 but the watches sell for prices that don’t reflect the build quality or cost.
We should note that these objections are not unique to this brand. Other fashion watch brands such as Guess, Michael Kors, and Emporio Armani watches receive the same punishment.
Serious watch buyers will tell you to skip the brand altogether and go for more reliable and long-lasting watches that are much better than Tommy Hilfiger.
We try to balance that view by saying – if you really like the look of a specific watch, are a fan of the brand and like sporting the Tommy logo, or really don’t care much about the history of watches then you should buy the watch that’s the best fit for you regardless of what some watch snobs may say.
Where To Buy Tommy Hilfiger Watches
Tommy Hilfiger Warranty
A Movado manufacturer warranty covers Tommy Hilfiger watches for 2 years from the date of purchase. The warranty covers manufacturing defects and provides for replacement or repair of defective parts (at the sole discretion of THW) free of charge.