by Stephen Garner

At a private event last night, Watches of Switzerland celebrated the opening of “Sneaker Time” a purpose-built exhibition exploring the obsessive culture of collectability and rarity through fifteen combinations of unique timepieces and rare sneakers.

Curated by Watches of Switzerland and developed in collaboration with the team at sneaker and streetwear retailer Stadium Goods, “Sneaker Time” attracts two groups of equally passionate and knowledgeable enthusiasts. The exhibition serves as an observation of how timepiece collecting fits into “hype” culture and how the sneaker marketplace mirrors that of the watch industry. Installed on the redesigned lower level of the Watches of Switzerland SoHo flagship, “Sneaker Time” opens to the public today and will be on display through December 2nd.

“Our SoHo flagship has been a game-changer since day one. And now with the renovation of our lower level and innovative programming like Sneaker Time, we are creating a dynamic new platform that will allow us to engage with an even broader community,” said David Hurley, executive vice president of Watches of Switzerland Group USA. “We’re all about giving people an experience they can’t get anywhere else.”

Echoing the title “Sneaker Time”, the exhibit environment represents the dual subjects displayed in a series of vitrines that utilize a combination of linear lights and metal rods to highlight the specific pairings. Timepieces from brands including Girard Perregaux, Grand Seiko, Hublot, HYT, IWC, Jacob & Co., Tudor, and Ulysse Nardin, among others, are paired with iconic and rare sneakers provided by streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods. The inspired combinations take into consideration design details, origin stories, materiality, craftsmanship and history to showcase the synergies between timepieces and footwear.

The exhibition features numerous highlights from Stadium Goods’ famed Trophy Case of rare sneakers, including the Nike “Paranorman” matched with a radical new “Drop” watch from HYT that is being launched at “Sneaker Time” and takes the company’s iconic skull model to an over-the-top colorful extreme, The Fragment x Air Jordan 1, conceived by the godfather of streetwear, Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara paired with the Grand Seiko Drive Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Limited Edition timepiece, and a striking pair of black and white ultra-rare Adidas NMD Hu Trail sneakers designed by Pharrell in collaboration with famed fashion house Chanel paired with a special edition Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono Hypebeast timepiece that draws on the same design cues.

“One of the founding concepts behind Stadium Goods is the idea that sneakers and streetwear are the new luxury items for today’s young consumers,” added John McPheters, co-founder and co-CEO of Stadium Goods. “We come from a culture that venerates the design and beauty of sneakers in much the same way connoisseurs of fine watches approach classic timepieces. It makes perfect sense to us to display some of our most coveted sneakers alongside these iconic watches, and we’re thrilled that Watches of Switzerland sees that same synergy.”

“Sneaker Time” is the debut installation for the newly designed Lower Level of the Watches of Switzerland SoHo flagship. Opening last November with a custom-built hospitality bar and exclusive library; the downstairs space has already become a hub for watch connoisseurs and collectors. Building on that vibe, Watches of Switzerland has brought in comfortable lounge seating and created workspaces for guests, while also introducing a series of exhibitions, installations and rotating pop-ups for smaller, emerging watch brands. Continuing and expanding on a successful partnership with top vintage watch dealer Analog/Shift, the space also features a curated collection of sought-after vintage timepieces.

Watches of Switzerland continues to elevate its profile in the U.S. where in addition to the SoHo flagship, it currently has stores in New York City’s Hudson Yards complex, as well as at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas and the Boston Harbor Encore. Watches of Switzerland will open in the new American Dream shopping complex in the New Jersey, Meadowlands next year.