Fossil Inc. is without any doubt one of the best-known U.S. based brand names of watchmakers. Fossil watches are not their only product and they also manufacture commodities like handbags, jewelry or sunglasses.
Relatively a new corporation on the market, Fossil was founded in 1984 by Tom Kartsotis from Texas. Previously a ticket brokerage business owner, Kartsotis was looking for a carrier change by the time he reached his thirties. The idea for a new business venture came from his older brother, Kosta, who suggested that Tom should start importing products from the Far East, particularly, affordable timepieces.
At that point, Tom Kartsotis sold his share in the ticket brokerage business and used the money to hire a manufacturer from Hong Kong to make 1,500 watches which he subsequently sold in Dallas. That was the starting point for success of the new company whose name, at that time, was actually Oversees Products International.
The owner of this new company then hired a friend and a designer called Lynne Stafford who is responsible for creating a distinctive retro watch design that brought to immense success of the American company, during the 1980s and the 1990s.
These new watches, with a dose of nostalgia, were based on the old timepieces from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s. Kartsotis and Stafford went through the old issues of magazines and found the watches of an era that has passed a long ago. Such designs proved to be very appealing to the new generations which embraced these retro-styled products.
With a number of retailers constantly rising, the company needed to broaden its distribution network. At the time of a great growth of this corporation, Kostas Kartsotis (previously an executive at a Dallas-based department store chain) joined his brother’s firm which had previously changed its name to Fossil Inc. The name itself can be associated with the nostalgic products that made Fossil watches famous, though it was derived from the nickname that Kartsotis brothers had given to their father.
At the end of the 1980s, a meteoric rise of the Fossil watches continued and soon their revenue rose about ten times. Fossil kept its successful approach and started packing their timepieces in the old-fashioned wooden boxes and tin containers.
At the beginning of a new decade, Fossil Inc diversified and started producing leather goods (handbags, wallets, and belts) and they started a new brand of cheaper watches called Relic. Soon, the Texas-based watchmakers expanded and started targeting both the European and the Japanese market. In 1993, Fossil had an Initial public offering and sold 20 percent of the company to investors, which yielded additional 19 million dollars. Though they existed not more than nine years, Fossil was already producing four million watches a year and that was a respectable figure that proved the international appeal of the Fossil products.
In 2001, Fossil bought the Swiss brand of watches Zodiac and then, in 2004, they also bought Michele Watch, known as a watchmaker of a bit pricier and more exclusive products. All the success has brought to collaborations with many companies and Fossil Inc is currently a designerand a manufacturer, as well as distributor of the brands like Emporio Armanni, Diesel, DKNY, Davis Cup, Adidas, Burberry and Marc Jacobs.
One of the most notable collaborations is with a designer Philippe Starck. The extraordinary timepieces that came as a result (the Fossil collection named Starck) featured a unique-movement and an ultra-modern design.
The Texas-based watchmakers are also known for their special products, sometimes based on the characters from the pop culture. Up to this point, Fossil has designed collectible series of products inspired by Superman, Batmen, Elvis Presley, Snoopy, Pokemon, Flash, Toy Story, Star Wars, Chronicles of Narnia and Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2006, Fossil created the official watches for all the NFL teams. The Texas-based company, Fossil Inc, produces timepieces for both men and women. Today, there are over 300 styles of timepieces that Fossil produces. Major men’s collections are called Decker, Sport, Dress, Silicone, Vintage Bronze, Trend, Mechanical, Digital, Convertible and S+arc, while women’s series include Stella, Ceramic, Classic Dress, Dress, Silicone, Boyfriend, Sport, Trend, Convertible and S+arck watches.
Fossil Inc also designs and produces their own movement – Fossil Twist Line.