A Brief History of The Fossil Group, Torchbearers for Wear OS

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They might not be the biggest player in the horological racket, but they are almost certainly the most prolific hardware partner for Google's Wear OS. Each of these brands fall under the Fossil Group umbrella:

Armani Exchange
Emporio Armani
Kate Spade
Marc Jacobs
Michael Kors

... Though I'd wager that the majority of units moved are the ones bearing the parent brand.

Fossil's story began in 1984, when two brothers in Dallas, Texas formed a company called "Overseas Products International". As the name implies, the scheme was to import cheap watches from Asia (mostly Hong Kong) and sell them on the American market. After some initial success the enterprise went public under name Fossil in 1993.

The company's winning formula was affordable fashion watches with a vintage look, but I remember them more for their limited runs of collectibles—in particular a Spider-man watch I spied back in the day at an outlet mall in Buffalo, New York:

It was the Amazing Fantasy #15 edition, in case you were wondering. And I should have bought it, but didn't. :sad:

Fossil's history with wearable tech dates back to 2003, when the company released the Abacus:


... A wrist-based PDA that required a stylus.

Fossil's first Wear OS device (then Android Wear) was the Q Founder, released in late 2015; the company is now on its 5th generation of Android-powered smartwatches. Wear OS has likewise come a long way since then—perhaps not far enough, but without Fossil I can't help but wonder if there would still be a Wear OS at all.

Links: CGC Comics, Gizmodo, WatchTime, Watchonista, Wikipedia (1) (2)