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TrueFacet's Fine Jewelry and Watch Guide
Brand Spotlight

Ernst Benz x John Varvatos Watches: A Brief History

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While more traditional brands typically prefer reserved styles, Ernst Benz is known for leaning into dramatic details and creative flourishes like over-sized and brightly-colored dials, vintage and over-sized hands, and vibrant hour markers.

It’s this rebellious approach to watch design that has distinguished Ernst Benz in finding that unique footing between the fashion world, which celebrates creative and avant-garde designers, and the proud tradition of watchmaking.

And it’s this rebellious approach to watch design that drew together Ernst Benz and fashion designer John Varvatos, renowned for his signature rock ‘n’ roll style. Here we explore the partnership between Ernst Benz and John Varvatos and their various limited-edition collaboration watches.

How the John Varvatos and Ernst Benz Collaboration Began
Before partnering with Ernst Benz in 2012, John Varvatos boutiques carried only vintage and IWC watches. However, Varvatos’s interest was piqued by Ernst Benz’s aesthetic, and the designer felt that Ernst Benz watches sat well among his main collection of leather biker jackets, t-shirts, and straight-leg joggers.

After a few years of carrying the watches in his boutique, Varvatos was approached by Leonid Khankin of Ernst Benz to collaborate and design a limited-edition watch. The two bonded over their shared interest in watches and, in Varvatos, Khankin found a partner who was willing to push the envelope of conventional watch styles and designs. From there, the two decided to release a limited-edition Ernst Benz x John Varvatos watch.

The First Ernst Benz x John Varvatos Watch
Ernst Benz x John Varvatos Limited Edition Watches with Green and Brown Leather StrapsThe first watch the newfound partners revealed, the John Varvatos Chronoscrope, features an olive dial and a silver-colored case that perfectly complements the handmade leather band. The hands are of particular note: they were modeled after an old gauge Varvatos found. The overall look is a rugged, vintage military-inspired watch with detailed finishes (like the angled bezel and lugs) that elevate it into a polished dress watch.

Varvatos personally considers this inaugural design his favorite of all the watches he and Ernst Benz have collaborated upon. Khankin, meanwhile, was wearing the prototype of the watch as his personal everyday watch after the collection was released because he loved the watch so much.

Since Ernst Benz and John Varvatos launched their collection, the two have released eight watches, each a cool iteration of the duo’s original Chronoscope that is a slick representation of both brands’ edgy and daring styles.

Learn more about Ernst Benz’s other creative collaborations with the likes of Dan Marino and artist Anthony Liggins in our post here!