At first glance it looks like an ultra-chic, high-tech smartwatch, all rounded features, digital face and a modern rubber band in typically Olsen-esque white or black.

But Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, the elusive sisters behind CDFA award-winning brand The Row and its accessible cousin Elizabeth and James, have never been ones to serve up the expected. In fact, given their penchant for 1970s references in their fashion designs, we should have expected they’d go retro in more than just looks.


Designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen outside the Met Gala 2017
Credit Getty Images

Their collection of 10 watches under their Elizabeth and James banner – the first for the label – uses the same LED technology founded in the ‘70s prevalent in watches throughout the ’80s in all its red digital numbered glory. Press a button and it jumps between time, date and seconds illuminated in big numerals.

But there’s one very unique feature in this watch that we don’t recall any wrist-candy offering two decades ago: when the time display is off, the face turns into a mirror for on-the-go primping. So clever, so worth skipping all the smartwatch bells and whistles for in our book.

Retro wrist candy: even the launch’s ad campaign feels like a throwback
Credit: Supplied

The watches are waterproof to 30 metres and available for US residents on the Elizabeth and James website as well as in the brand’s Los Angeles flagship store. Australian shoppers can find it on global fashion retail juggernaut Shopbop, which is the exclusive retail partner for the launch and carries eight of the 10 colour-ways for $265.

GALLERY: a buffet of high fashion smartwatch options (aka black or white)

Elizabeth and James, Series 200 Digital Watch, $265. SHOP NOW

thoughts?