Kapow! Zap! Whammo! The cartoon characters brightening up your wristwear from Popeye to Snoopy Kapow! Zap! Whammo! The cartoon characters brightening up your wristwear from Popeye to Snoopy

Kapow! Zap! Whammo! The cartoon characters brightening up your wristwear from Popeye to Snoopy

Thor Svaboe

Are cartoon-themed watches the same as the joker in the office with the cringe-worthy Marvin the Martian silk tie on a Tuesday? I think not. In fact, some of the best examples of cartoon characters, whether they be Disney or Anime, are so discreet that you barely notice them. And in the context of a watch world that often takes itself way too seriously, who can resist the smile-a-minute cheer of a simple Disney watch with Mickey showing the time with his gloved hands?

Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary


Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary

Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary

We’ll start with the more downplayed yet totally unexpected 2020 knock-out by Snoopy, the top dog (sorry) of the horological cartoon world. Fresh and unlimited, this blue and silvery white version of the classic Speedy prompted Nick to proclaim it the feel-good watch of the year. If it wasn’t, then it did a damn good job of trying. The classic 42mm Speedmaster case with its moon watch accoutrements, is a triumph of balanced vintage functionality. In this version, the fresh blue of its indices, slim sword hands and sub-registers shows just how much difference the injection of a colour can make. But while there’s a certain charm to the tiny Snoopy tap-dancing within the running seconds at 9, this pales when you turn the watch around for what is nothing short of a mechanical miniature theatre act unfolding. Watch our video here. Price $14,700 AUD

Bamford GMT Popeye

Bamford London GMT Popeye Limited Edition


We know the Bamford GMT well, given it provided the hardware of the first Time+Tide collaboration, resulting in our GMT here. Ramping up the fun, the Popeye GMT is still a slim, short-lugged comfortable GMT, with the smooth running Sellita SW330-3 movement, but that dial! This might well be the year to not take yourself too seriously, and the classic figure of Popeye running at full tilt, spinach-powered arms flailing to show the time, is enough to make the grumpiest old Rolex-bore break into a smile. While you’re trying to stop grinning, remember that this is still a solid, 100m depth-rated and eminently readable travel watch. The clever inner rotating bezel in black and blue and its own crown at 10 makes for easy adjustments that allows you to have as many as three time zones if that won’t make your brain feel too jet-lagged. Price £ 1,250 GBP

G-Shock x Dragon Ball Z Limited Edition GA110JDB-1A4

Unlike the silvery elegance of the Speedmaster, this is on the very opposite and LOUD end of the spectrum. Casio G-Shock outdid themselves with the Anime-inspiration behind this glowing ball of virtual lava for the wrist. It emits a smouldering glow to outgun any bling wristwear at a party.  You might get smirked at for having a humongous Analogue/digital orange G-Shock… until you push that Light-button. Boom! To read up on this mad, bad and very  Japanese orange fireball, read Zach’s story here. Price $250 USD


Timex Marlin Automatic x Peanuts Charlie Brown

The Timex Marlin released a couple of years ago has been a huge success – their special editions regularly sell out and maintain strong value on the pre-owned market. As a reissue of their sixties classic, it’s just that, a classic. A slim, polished 40mm case with a timeless slope to the bezel, a basic 21-jewel automatic movement and that super-domed crystal that makes it a perfect dressy piece of wristwear. The dial is a suave silvery white while the thin applied stick indices lend it an elegant air with the Speedy-esque sword hands. Like the Snoopy-inhabited dial of the Speedmaster, the cartoon here is an elegant and understated presence with deep meaning. A simple ink sketch of the lovably hapless Charlie Brown is scrawled across the base of the dial. His less than jolly expression emanates from the poor chap running across the grass for what must be the 40th time, string in hand, never able to make his kite take off. Personally, we’ll choose to interpret that as a message to never give up rather than a reflection on the innate futility of existence. Price $249 USD

Casio G-Shock DW-5600, Demon Slayer custom watch by Customgorillas

Customgorillas in Malaysia specialise in custom-printed cases and straps for Casio G-Shocks, with a huge arsenal of colourful wristwear to choose from and a strong leaning towards Anime and Manga themes. With wild illustrations printed on the strap and case, including custom light-up graphics on the screen, this is not your quiet suited-up wristwear, but a flashy party-piece of streetwear. The iconic DW-5600 series, together with the cool 6900 are the two G-Shocks that are as beloved by customisers as collaborators, so while you might miss a few short-ordering slots, there will be enough coming up in any given year to create the real danger of addiction. Price: RM 489, approx $152 AUD