Nixon has an excellent reputation for its bold, modern design and great technology. However, Nixon also seems to have some expensive models that cost thousands. This brings a question – is Nixon a luxury watch brand?
In general, Nixon is not a luxury watch brand but more of an affordable fashion watch brand. Nixon relies on third-party movements and does not use premium materials commonly seen in luxury watches. Most of Nixon’s watches are also priced below $1,000.
How Does A Watch Brand Become A Luxury Brand?
When compared to common brands, Luxury watch brands tend to be better at their performance and materials. They also make their own watches, have a reputation for being exclusive and prestigious, high-end, and start at a price of around four figures.
In general, luxury watch brands have these things that set them apart from cheaper watch brands.
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
Materials: In general, high-end watch brands use more expensive materials in their watch parts. Instead of 316L stainless steel, you might see watch cases or bracelets made of 904L steel, titanium, or 18K gold.
Also, some high-end watch brands use gemstones like diamonds or top-grain leather to make their watches look and feel better.
Assembly: Luxury watch brands usually put their watches together by hand to make sure they meet high-quality standards. There is also a lot of emphasis on making and putting together the watches in-house.
Affordable watch makers may use a lot more robot assembly. Some hired outside companies to make parts for their watches, but they still built them in-house. There are also watch companies that outsource all of their production and assembly, for example, Invicta.
In-House Movements and Technology: Most luxury watch companies make their own watch movements to better control and regulate the performance of their watches.
Regular watch companies usually use movements from companies like Ronda, Sellita, and Miyota.
Companies that make high-end watches also develop their own technology to make them better. These could be things like a unique mix of metals to make a better watch case or parts that can handle magnetic force.
Design: Luxurious watch companies have well-known designs and can be used as a guide for future designs.
For example, many people think of the Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean as an excellent example of a good dive watch when they’re making their own.
They also set watch trends through the designs they make. For example, when Rolex changed or added new design elements to their Oyster Perpetual, many other watch companies did the same. Things like fluted bezels, cyclops magnifiers, and jubilee bracelets are great examples of things that are good examples.
Homages: Many high-end watch companies also make homages made to their popular models. Homages are cheaper lookalikes made by another company that looks like the original. They are often sold for less than the original.
A homage is not a fake watch or a watch that looks like a clone of one. These watches usually have the company logo that made the homage. They also have a few differences in design from the original to avoid legal trouble.
This happens when the original watch is precious, but many people want to own it.
READ MORE: What Is A Homage Watch?
Clone watches: Companies that make high-end watches will have problems with fakes or copies. Inevitably, this will happen because the watches are pricey, and might not be able to afford many people.
That opens up a market for the clone watchmakers to fill and make money from. Clone watches can be low-quality copies or high-quality super-clones that need a lot of attention from watchmakers and serial number checks to tell.
Brand Image: Many people think of a luxury watch company as high-end and classy. They do this by putting their brands next to events, people, or media outlets with the same image.
There are a lot of high-end watch companies that sponsor sports like tennis or golf because these are sports played by people of higher class. You don’t see them giving money to wrestling or football teams, which is commonly associated with the working class.
As these media show wealth, power, and prestige, luxury watch companies also put ads in these media types.
Pricing: Finally, high-end watch brands often charge a lot for their watches, at least in the four-figure range. This means that they can spend more money on watch models and marketing.
Also, their watches were seen only by people who had a certain level of success, achievement, and wealth to be able to pay for them because of their high prices.
Is Nixon Considered A Luxury Watch Brand?
Nixon cannot be considered a luxury watch brand but a fashion watch brand. Nixon does not seem to apply a high degree of hand assembly, relies on third-party watch movements, and does not use premium materials. Most Nixon’s watches are also under $1,000 – closer to affordable brands.
You do not see Nixon offering watch models with titanium, gold alloys, or diamonds. Many models also do not seem to have high water resistance. Many gold watches from Nixon are not made of gold alloys but instead are stainless steel with gold color plating.
This means Nixon watches will not look luxurious on the outside. Even if they do, they are not of actual luxurious material.
Nixon does not claim to apply a full or high degree of hand assembly to their watches. Nixon also does not claim to assemble their watches in the US, and only a small number of models are Swiss Made.
Most Nixon watches are probably produced and assembled in Asia, with high automation applied. It would not be far-fetched to claim that Nixon probably outsourced their production fully and focused only on designs and marketing.
This made sense as Nixon’s watches are not expensive. They might need to reduce costs by applying more automation and outsourcing.
In-House Movements and Technology
Nixon also does not seem to produce their in-house movements, replying instead to third-party movements.
Lower priced Nixon watches tend to be using Miyota movements. Miyota is a Japanese movement maker, now part of the Citizen watch group. Higher-priced watches tend to be using Swiss movements from ETA.
ETA is a Swiss movement maker, now also a part of the Swatch group. ETA’s movements are also seen in luxury watch brands such as Omega, Breitling, Panerai, etc.
However, Nixon does have digital watches that use a high definition MLCD to display time. The clarity of the display makes it stand out compared to the displays you commonly see in G-Shock watches.
The displays on the MLCDs are closer to smartwatches, although these watches function more like your typical digital watches with no touch screen functions.
Nixon watches are not known to have popular homages made after their models. There are some homage models, but they are not as commonly seen.
Nixon homages are not as popular as, say, an Invicta Pro Diver, which can be seen on many wrists of Rolex Submariner fans.
Nixon’s watch models also have their own designs. They do not seem to be making homages for other popular watch models.
Nixon also does not seem to be widely counterfeited, although you can find fake Nixons on offer online. This makes sense as Nixon watches are not very popular and not too expensive.
Counterfeiting a watch takes time, effort, and money to measure, produce molds, and create an assembly line. So in many cases, counterfeiters prefer to create replicas of popular luxury watches such as those from Rolex.
They can also sell these replicas at a higher price and pocket a nicer profit.
Nixon does not generate that luxury, prestigious image like you commonly associate with Omega, Rolex, or IWC. Instead, Nixon has that casual, relaxed, and easy image.
At times, strapping on a Nixon can make you feel like you are one of those surfer bros, having tacos and a beer by the beach under the California sun. You would not associate a Nixon watch with a full suit, leather shoes, and royal gala parties.
Nixon also plays to the environment, with some of their models made of recycled plastic.
Nixon also never attempted to brand their watches as luxury items. You do not see Nixon sponsoring motor racing, golf, or tennis events. You probably would not see ads for Nixon watches in publications such as Wall Street Journal or The Economist.
Nixon watches’ prices reflect their reputation as an affordable fashion watch brand. Their website offers 36 models for men’s watches, not including variations such as colors and strap types.
Of these models, only three are priced above $1,000. The most expensive model is the Grateful Dead Diplomatic at $1,500. The other models are priced below $500, with no models priced between $500 to $1,000.
Of these models, the most affordable is the Time Teller Medium at $100. Nixon’s Time Teller is probably Nixon’s mode iconic watch model.
On Amazon, you can find Nixon watches for men for as low as $42.
Are Nixon Watches Swiss Made?
In general, Nixon’s watches are not Swiss Made, with some exceptions. These watches use Swiss movements and are at least assembled, encased, and inspected in Switzerland. You may see the ‘Swiss Made’ label on the watch dial.
As per Swiss Law, a watch can only be declared as ‘Swiss Made’ if:
- 60% of its production is done in Switzerland (design, parts manufacturing, etc.)
- The watch uses a Swiss movement (e.g., ETA, Sellita, STP, etc.)
- The watch is encased and inspected in Switzerland.
An example from Nixon that fulfills this would be the Nixon Supremacy. It uses the ETA 2824, a Swiss movement used in many other brands like Hamilton or Tissot.
The watch should be assembled, encased, and inspected in Switzerland too. This is why it can place the ‘Swiss Made’ label on the 6 o’clock position on the watch dial.
Is The Nixon Time Teller Real Gold?
The gold models on the Nixon Time Teller are not real gold. If there are, the amount would be negligible. The gold color may come from titanium nitride plating. If Nixon had used genuine gold, the watch would be much more expensive since gold is a premium material.
Nixon never explicitly mentioned on their website if they plated real gold on their watches. Therefore we might not know the answer.
However, suppose we apply some logic to the question. In that case, the likelihood of seeing actual gold on the watches could be low, as the selling price is too low to justify Nixon using real gold to plate the watch.
Actual solid gold would be entirely out of the question. A solid 18K gold watch case could easily cost thousands, even from an affordable brand such as Tissot.