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“Let’s face it, [a watch] isn’t really anything anybody needs, right?” VJ Geronimo, Oris’s CEO for the Americas, told me last week. That’s a brave thing for the executive of a watchmaker to say, but it’s an epiphany that freed Oris up to make the ProPilot X Kermit Edition, a lime-green tribute to The Muppets’ leading man, er, frog. 

The new $4,600 ProPilot X is the crown jewel of Oris’s 2023 collection, which has just been unveiled at this year’s Watches & Wonders. In contrast to the ProPilot sans-X and its large pilot-watch style numerals, the X’s understated dial makes it adaptable to the bright colors tat Oris like to paints the watch with (see: last year’s coral-colored edition). The Kermit-green hue is right at home splashed across the entire dial of the watch. But it doesn’t look like  The Muppets merchandise, either. The brand intentionally kept the overt Kermit references to a minimum, and the green doesn’t look out of place in the Oris line. 

01 400 7778 7157-Set_ig_story_1080x1920px.jpgModel Name: ProPilot X Kermit EditionBexsonn

The watch does, however, contain one Easter egg—or maybe it’s a Kermit Day egg.  For 24 hours on the first of every month, Kermit’s cheesing face spins into view inside the date window, located at 6 o’clock. “We could have put a big Kermit the Frog emoji on the dial,” Ken Laurent, Oris’s creative director, said in a press release. “Some might have done that because they want their most important collaborations to be in-your-face, to scream. But we didn’t want that. We wanted something more humble that would respect the product.” (The idea of a dedicated day is fun but, for me, if I’m buying a Kermit watch, I want more Kermit! Just a dollop more would do, honestly.) 

The Kermit ProPilot X is emblematic of Oris’s ethos: watches should be fun. That lightness often seems to get lost in the watch world—look no further than the combative comments sections one finds on Instagram and watch websites for proof of that. Geronimo said the link between Kermit and Oris comes down to a shared goal to “make people smile.” 

Kermit the Frog has actually been making watch collectors smile for decades. This won’t be the first timepiece to carry the name, at least not unofficially. When Rolex released a version of the Submariner with a bright green dial in 2003, collectors christened it the Kermit. The fact that the name was fan-generated is an auspicious sign for Oris: that specific shade of green is so associated with Kermit that the ProPilot X accomplishes a lot with its dial shade alone. As for competing with that collector-favorite, Geronimo isn’t worried about being known as the other Kermit. “No, no, no, no, no,” Geronimo said on the phone, “not worried, not worried about it at all.” 

Oris and Disney produced a commercial featuring the Muppet singing an original song about finding “me time.” Kermit strums his banjo, sky dives, and plays ping pong inside the date window of the ProPilot X. But there’s one thing he doesn’t do. “He can’t wear watches,” Geronimo said. “He doesn’t wear watches.” 

While they may not be able to wear the watch like real-life brand partners, characters like Kermit are taking up more space in the watch world. Black PantherSnoopyMickey Mouse, and Mario Kart racers have all starred on watches released in the past couple of years. 

Rather than focus on what a watch can do as a diving or climbing companion, watch brands are finding inspiration more and more in pop culture. This trend speaks to how attitudes of collectors have shifted over the past couple of years, and the types of stories that get them to buy. Rather than wrapping themselves up in historic feats—landing on the moon or mounting Everest—watchmakers are finding feel-good stories and characters are just as potent. “How many people who own a dive watch actually go out and dive?” Geronimo asked. “I think that’s a small percentage.” Instead, brands like Oris are tapping into an emotional connection. The person who remembers watching The Muppets feels like a kid again when their Oris reminds them it’s Kermit Day.

This new and less-serious approach to watches is working with collectors. The AP’s Black Panther Royal Oak is a mainstay on celebrity wrists and even Tag Heuer’s $25,600 Mario Kart Tourbillon sold out very quickly. Watches like Oris’s Kermit edition are tapping into nostalgia and fandom—and that’s how you make a timepiece that collectors feel like they need.

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