As the founder and creative force behind the global Philipp Plein universe, Plein discusses his edgy global fashion brand’s auspicious entry into the world of high-end watchmaking.

Fresh from launching his latest collection in Geneva earlier this month, and just after a second launch in Milan during Salone de Mobile, Plein speaks about his motivation, his design process and his plans for the Philipp Plein luxury watch collection.   

Philipp Plein at the Philipp Plein Showroom during Salone del Mobile 2024 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Lorenzo Palizzolo/Getty Images for Philipp Plein)

iW: What first inspired you to enter the luxury end of the watch business?

Philipp Plein: I’ve always been a big collector of timepieces and high-end luxury watches and expanding the collection from fashion watches to luxury tourbillon only seemed a natural extension of the Philipp Plein universe.

How do you first consider creating a new Philipp Plein watch design? What is your design process?

A creative process starts first with market research which includes qualitative and quantitative data. The research phase is a key activity to get all possible data from consumer trends, market dynamics, color palette and fabrics. These information and materials are the greatest source I use to start any product development.

The Philipp Plein Dare Devil XII, one of four flying tourbillon models debuted in Geneva in April.

These watch designs started with the creation of an iconic watch case which could represent at the highest design and the iconic brand DNA. Every detail is expression of PHILIPP PLEIN brand, and the ability to transfer these iconic shapes and design concepts across every timepiece creation makes this detailed execution one of the greatest projects I have been working on.

How has your own history as a designer in other areas influenced your watch designs?

Since starting my design journey, accessories have always been a major focus towards creating and completing the Philipp Plein look. With timepieces, we’ve taken our signature design codes; maximalism, quality, shine and sparkle; and have continued to translate them into products that are reflective of who we are.

What aspects or imagery of the Philipp Plein brand are visible within the newest watch debuts?

The tonneau case shape is making a return for the latest models, it’s a silhouette we come back to and one that is a show of luxury for us. The hexagonal Philipp Plein logo is also present on the dials of each new model, with the iconic shape also continued on the texture and pattern of the case exterior. On the reverse of the Flying Tourbillon, the brand’s iconic $miley and $kull-bone complete the new look.

Do you coordinate the look of these watches with other Philipp Plein products?

The Philipp Plein timepieces are both distinctive and complimentary to the full Plein look. Each piece is carefully designed to fit within the Philipp Plein and Plein Sport universe, while expanding on the innovation and continual forward advancement of each brand.

Plein Sport sneakers are another perfect alignment, creating products that are both made for functional active use, while still being within the maximal, eye-catching design styles that continues to bring people towards the Philipp Plein group.

Why use the tonneau case shape (rather than round or square) for these high-end models?

The tonneau case shape is best for our high-end models because it offers a distinctive blend of elegance and comfort on the wrist, embodying the essence of luxury. Its curved design allows for intricate dial detailing and showcases the craftsmanship synonymous with our watchmaking, appealing to collectors with both aesthetic beauty and technical excellence.

The Philipp Plein Noir Samurai Crypto King Hexagon

Will you continue to offer new models within the existing watch collections?

Yes, Philipp Plein Timepieces and Philipp Plein Sport Timepieces will continue to present two seasonal collections a year, as will as a new collection of Swiss Made Luxury Collections in Geneva each year.  Additionally, we presented a new exclusive style at Salone del Mobile connected to the opening of the Philipp Plein Hotel in Milan.

How do you determine the names for each model?

We’ve been accepting cryptocurrency as a payment option since 2021, so the Crypto King collection is representative of this forward thinking and cutting-edge way of operating. Crypto King is and always has been a glance into the future, both for our watchmaking and the brand more generally.

The Ice Breaker

Can we expect additional complications beyond the flying tourbillon in future Philipp Plein watches?

Absolutely. We look at the tourbillons as just the starting point for our exploration and innovation in watchmaking. While the flying tourbillon represents a pinnacle of precision and craftsmanship, we’re committed to pushing the boundaries further by incorporating additional complications into our future timepieces.

A side view of the Philipp Plein Night Wolf Crypto King Flying Tourbillon.

Our goal is to continually surprise and delight watch enthusiasts with new and exciting advancements in horology, staying true to our brand’s ethos of daring creativity and uncompromising quality.

Thank You.

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