Philadelphia, PA—Put that lint roller down! Analog Watch Co., an artisan watch company based in Philadelphia, outdid itself last year with the seeming introduction of the Companion Collection Watch, featuring the shed fur of your dog or cat (or rabbit, gerbil, etc.).
Here’s how the company’s website (and accompanying video) described the process: Grab a brush or comb (Furminator optional) and a plastic zipper bag. Brush Fido or Fluffy, collect two to four ounces of shed fur, place in the airtight bag and send it to the company as per the directions in this video.
The company described—even illustrated—a process to transform the shed fur into a felted wool treated with a special coating to keep it clean and water resistant, and heat-formed to a leather watch band and metal watch body shell.
Entirely plausible, so far. And, ick factor aside (after all, your pet is still alive and well, unlike the diamond you can make from a dead relative), the finished product had a distinctive fashion look.
Except it doesn’t exist. But Analog Watch Co. deserves kudos for a brilliant marketing ploy and one of the best-executed April Fool’s jokes ever. Everything about the Companion Collection Watch, from the photography through the manufacturing process description through the product specs page and a professional-looking video (which went viral), led one to believe this watch was an innovative new product launch. The only real clue was at the very bottom of the product page (below) where the small print says “ships never because April Fools :D”
Even this editor wasn’t quite sure. A grayed-out order button (above) said the item was on backorder, but that’s not unusual in the world of online shopping. But was the “ships never” a joke—or was the whole collection a joke? After digging around on the site for a while, I finally did come across the FAQ page (below bottom), which confirms the Companion Collection was indeed an April Fool’s prank and doesn’t exist.
That’s too bad. Not that I’m in the market for a furry watch even though cat hair is ever-present in our house, but the company created a well-designed product that both matches the aesthetic of its overall collection and is something I could imagine people wearing. The thoroughly believable presentation was an excellent marketing piece in its own right and worth emulating for a real product. Had Analog wanted to, they probably could have sold quite a good number of these watches.
All joking aside, Analog Watch Co. really is an artisan watchmaker with some very interesting models. Its real line includes watches made from wood, marble, flowers in resin, and other organic materials, many hand-carved by Amish craftsmen, plus sunglasses, accessories, and jewelry. Primary retailers include major museum gift shops nationwide (such as the Getty in Los Angeles, the Barnes in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York City, and more, plus art galleries and a smattering of fine jewelry stores. And every watch the company makes gives back: with the purchase of every wood watch the company plants a tree, with the purchase of every marble watch it supports Earthworks, and with the purchase of every classic watch, it donates to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia.
We think the Companion Collection—with a corresponding donation to no-kill pet rescue—could be no joke if they did ultimately decide to launch it.