Throwback to the time Maison Margiela made the most useless ‘watch’ ever Throwback to the time Maison Margiela made the most useless ‘watch’ ever

Throwback to the time Maison Margiela made the most useless ‘watch’ ever

Jamie Weiss

Watchmaking has long had somewhat of a fractious relationship with the world’s luxury fashion houses. Some, like Cartier or Hermès, take watchmaking incredibly seriously, with their horological creations just as reputable as those made by dedicated watch manufacturers. Others treat watches as just another accessory; as an afterthought, and are disregarded by watch enthusiasts because of that. They’re “fashion watches”.

However, some fashion designers have gone even further than your average fashion watch and made pieces that interrogate or parody the concept of watches more broadly – and there’s perhaps no better example of this than Maison Margiela’s ‘faceless’ watch bracelet/belt, which is currently making the rounds online.


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Originally from the Belgian designer’s FW09/10 collection, this bracelet/belt was re-released in 2012 as part of a collaborative capsule collection with Swedish fast fashion label H&M – which itself has been ‘rediscovered’ by Gen Z fashionistas in 2023. HSS Magazine wrote a fantastic article exploring this revived interest in this collaboration earlier this year in March. At a time when popular interest in watches has never been greater, especially among the young and upwardly mobile, this cheeky accessory is particularly compelling.

maison margiela watch belt closeup
Images courtesy of Grailed

As I’ve alluded to, it’s not actually a watch at all. Vaguely shaped like a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, it doesn’t have a watch head (a void takes the place of the dial) and the Oyster-style bracelet is a whopping 67cm long. It’s designed to be wrapped around the wrist multiple times – like some sort of bootleg Bulgari Serpenti – or worn as a belt, although I don’t know how effective it would be at keeping your pants up.

Margiela has also experimented with leather belts with watch face-shaped buckles as well as bangles shaped like Oyster bracelets sans watch head, but this bracelet/belt/thing is his most ludicrous design. You can find examples of them online for around A$200-300.

maison margiela watch belt collage
Clockwise L-R: the extended watch belt/bracelet, as well as the leather watch belt (also from FW09/10) and the watch head-less bracelet (FW19/20).

Now obviously it’s a total piss-take, but I think it’s kind of brilliant. Let’s be honest with ourselves here: in a world where we all carry smartphones, how often do you really use your watch as a time-telling instrument? I’m a watch journalist; a dyed-in-the-wool WIS and I still use my phone to check the time. The reality is that these days, watches are primarily accessories rather than tools – so why fool ourselves?

Of course, this isn’t the only time a fashion label (or indeed a watchmaker) has poked fun at the concept of watches like this. I’ve rounded up a few other ‘useless watch’ pieces that riff on this same idea.

Ambush’s ‘Timeless Watch’


Korean-American designer Yoon Ahn’s label Ambush makes a wide range of hypebeast-approved apparel these days, but the brand started as an experimental jewellery line – and has had a long and fruitful history of making eye-catching accessories. Ambush’s Timeless Watch is one of their most famous: shaped like the humble Casio F91W (which you can pick up for A$25 or less) but retailing for over A$900, it’s certainly provocative… Not sure if we’re laughing with them or at them, though.

Miu Miu’s ‘bracelet with leather mini-pouch’

miu miu wrist pouch

Italian fashion house Miu Miu’s ‘bracelet with leather mini-pouch’ has also been making the rounds online. Essentially a fanny pack for your wrist, you wear it like you’d wear a watch, so I guess it counts? In some ways, it’s more practical than a luxury timepiece: at least you can carry things around in this. Tiny, tiny things. Other fashion houses including Bottega Veneta and Prada have released similar products.

Kevin Bertolero’s ‘Rubber Ducky Watch’

rubber ducky watch

Kevin Bertolero (a.k.a. @watchesthatdonttelltime) went viral in 2021 for his 3D-printed rubber ducky ‘watches’, which use magnets to attach the little duckies to the baseplate of the watch. It’s kind of like a fidget spinner: you’re able to move and play around with the little ducks in their little pool. It’s very cute.

Mr Jones Watches’ ‘Berry Late Again!’

Mr Jones Berry Late Again!

While strictly speaking this is a functional watch, it’s only barely functional – and it definitely pokes fun at the concept of telling time, as do most of Mr Jones Watches’ pieces. Normally displaying a jumble of letters (the whole strawberry marks the hour and the half-eaten strawberry points to the minutes), once per hour, the letters align to share the cheeky message: “Fuck it! Time is just a social construct.” It’s a cutesy middle finger to the seriousness of watch culture, and I love it.

Also, read our guide to the best 5 watches that don’t tell the time here.