Oh those Limited Editions! The Modern Machine LE1030

by Terry Moss in ,


Taking a short break from our journey through the Fossil Times newsletters, let’s discuss collector’s lore – Limited Editions! We love limited editions and like a fine automobile or in my case a clean pair of sneakers we enjoy sporting them on special occasions.

The Modern Machine Assembly LE1030 released in 2014 was a very limited run of 654 pieces. I’ve only just obtained one recently because these sold out fast at 495USD and rarely have come up for sale since. The reviews of the design and packaging have been discussed and envied for years now and I finally have one in my possession! Description from the booklet because I can’t say it better than Fossil:

A stylish watch set that harkens back to the aeronautic industrial era of the 1940s. Fossil’s Limited-Edition Modern Machine can be disassembled using multiple interchanging machined parts that reassemble into two very distinctive time-measuring instruments. Mix the bezel, band or even the watch center core for a new look, for a total of 32 different time-telling combinations. Its double 316L stainless steel shell is both robust and shock absorbent, with water-resistance of up to 100 meters, and the dial faces are designed with luminescent hands and markers to be read in low light or night. Along with its wristwatch combinations, the Modern Machine set features an optional field timer for everyday field carry. Packaged in a Limited-Edition gift box, this tough yet timeless set comes complete with four interchangeable batteries, one topstitched leather belt strap and one Zulu-inspired military weave strap with matching hardware, as well as a hefty three-row plated stainless steel solid bracelet. This sleek and modern set is all the wearer will need to complement any wardrobe choice. Limited to 654.

Limited Editions are the essential piece for any Fossil collector and we’ve seen all sorts of Limited-Edition collectors over the years. Some only collect Disney or Superman or other TV characters, while some like the sports releases (Nolan Ryan!) I tend to collect the military/field collections with the snazzy packaging and the LE1030 has been high on my list for almost 5 years now. The elegant leather box with the grey felt lining and presentation of the interchangeable bezels is beautiful. Some of these bezels aren’t found anywhere else and don’t get me started on the fonts – it’s a real treasure.


Fossil Times Reaches 1997 – Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

by Terry Moss in


And then it was 1997. Welcome to our ongoing series of bringing back to life Fossil Times from the Collector’s Club era. Up for your consideration today is Volume 4, Issue 1. The newsletters from 1997 & 1998 were the first ones in a different size at 10.5 inches wide and 16.5 inches tall (ie..very hard to scan in)

Let’s start with missing socks. Remember those from last time? In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine a major company (or any company) announcing that they received a sock and have a hard time identifying the sender! 22 years later did anyone ever claim that sock and what was the reward?

The highlight of this newsletter and the reason why this site was created was for the collectors. On Page 3 we find an article called, “C’mon in Collectors” and wow it really made me long for the retail days where you had to go to the stores to get your goods and talk with salespeople. I had a good relationship with the salespeople at 2 of my local Fossil stores and they would call me when the good stuff came in! Like my own personal Cheers Bar minus the drinks. Those Fossil stores in the 90’s were magical and I can attest that they were designed to keep us coming back for more.

Further inside in the newsletter we learn about the international presence of the Fossil Collectors Club – 1500 members internationally! Suspicions confirmed that the retro-American style was loved internationally just as much as here in the good old USA. Little known fact that has been forgotten was Fossil Collectors had their own inbox direct to Fossil HQ: COLLECT.FOSSIL@FOSL.COM

Other points of interest are always Star Wars watches (how many did they make?), information on the 1997 Collector’s Club option and always a highlight for Collector of the Quarter – where are you Matthew Martin?

Enjoy the first issue of Fossil Times from 1997 – it was a good year!


Join the 1997 Fossil Collectors Club

by Terry Moss in


Just in time for the holidays, join the 1997 Fossil Collectors Club today! Ahh…wouldn’t that be nice? In our own humble opinion this is the peak of the design phase for that 50’s American style we all love and miss. The front cover really says it all, but an exclusive fossil frame is something that our bathroom monkeys must have missed and now they are searching the halls of the interwebs for one! Without further ado let’s dig into Volume 3, Issue 5!

Fossil 2002! If only we knew to save these or remove the batteries immediately. I can’t tell you how many collectors (or eBay scalpers) email us asking to fix these LCD 2002 watches. The LCD watches take 2 batteries and besides replacing the movement entirely we haven’t found a way to fix them. These watches when working selling for good money online, but honestly, they are way too cool to sell. 

The Fossil cups are of interest and we haven’t seen these since going to see Beavis and Butt-Head Do America in late 1996 in the theaters. These cups are one thing we would love in our collection – over 4 million produced, are any left?

Moving onto Collector’s Club news…the Fossil Europe page is very meaty. Details of the previously mentioned European Collectors Club Meeting sound amazing and please send pictures!

Wrapping up the “Fossil Missing Sock Drive” is something Fossil probably regrets. How many socks were mailed and how many of them were not cleaned prior to sending? The world may never know, but take comfort knowing this was a one-time deal and you weren’t involved in opening those stinky packages.

All-righty onto the newsletter!


It’s Mod Time, but let’s pick another name.

by Terry Moss in


Welcome to another installment of the Fossil Times circa 1996. Unlike previous years and future years the 1996 year saw five (5) Collector’s Club newsletters. We’ve reviewed a few stinkers in the past, but this one is one of the better ones for the Fossil Collector. Ignore as always the Issue/Volume numbers on the top and pretend that you see Volume 3, Issue 4. Let’s begin.

The Mod Time was a bust wasn’t it? 22 years later we never see these come up. Of all the options to put on the front cover in 1996 and this was the selection. No more bashing let’s continue onto the Limited Edition Preview and we start with Star Trek. The LI-1435 is okay if you like that sort of thing, but the takeaway is the LI-1436 where only 1000 were produced and these were in special gold. That’s stuff of dreams for the collector imagine the conversations you could have with all your Fossil Collector’s Club colleagues:

Friend: “Well I finally found the LI-1435 and it comes in a lovely black box”

You: (while polishing your LI-1436 to really make that gold stand out) “congratulations you are 1 of 10,000 other collectors who have the same piece”

Friend: “I want your life”

What’s interesting about all these Limited Editions is the regional distribution. In modern times it’s probably impossible (fiscally & legally) to get such a deal, but Fossil managed to release Star Trek, The Beatles, Mickey Mouse and Toy Story all in this newsletter. Some of these 1000 released pieces are some of the more valuable Fossil watches today. The Mickey ones especially with the wooden toys seems to command a premium along with the gold pocket watch LI-1457.

The rest of the newsletter is dedicated entirely to the Collector’s Club and this is why it ranks high on our list. 22 years later there isn’t a lot of information around our club out there and our bathroom monkeys are continuously searching the interwebs for every piece of information they can find. A few takeaways:

  1. Germany (no surprise) had the highest amount of Collector’s Club members outside of the USA

  2. Like the USA, there was a European Collectors Club Meeting along with an Limited Edition Auction on October 26-27, 1996! Pictures please send!

  3. Fossil Pen Pals was marketed as a way for non-USA members to get limited edition pieces not widely distributed.

  4. The winners of the jacket from the previous newsletter was announced. Fred Heedt and Julie Kodama where are you and can we have the jackets back?

  5. The 1996 Fossil Collector’s Convention was a 6 city tour. Where’s that bus?

 Okay onto the show. Sorry for the long post, but this is a good newsletter! Ironic isn’t it that in 1996 a print newsletter was used to announce an upcoming web page and now in 2018 we are using “the internet” to broadcast a print newsletter.


Fossil Blue - you can swim in it

by Terry Moss in


Fossil Blue. Fossil Blue. Fossil Blue. Say it a few more times and you'll be instantly transported back to the late 90's where everyone (yes everyone) had a Fossil Blue. Going through our historical documents, the Fossil Times we've traced the beginnings of Fossil Blue. Welcome to Volume 3 Issue 3 of the Fossil Times released sometime in the spring of 1996. Apologies up front for the quality of this issue -- it's bad and our bathroom monkeys aren't happy with it's quality, but the price is right (free).

Only a few things to highlight in this issue besides the launch of Fossil Blue. The Fossil General Store is something I don't remember and curious who might know anything more about it. I suppose there's a few of you on this site who have their own Fossil General Stores in their homes including the webmaster! Betty Boop made her appearance in this issue as well as a mention of a very hard to find hand painted dial series LE-9408 & LE-9409 - interesting to note that students painted the dials, sounds more like child labor, but the results were amazing and if you find one of these complete with the display card, you have a rarity. Again rarity doesn't mean big bucks, but enjoy and display with pride.

Before we show you the goods, let's talk about the jacket. The Fossil Letter Jacket Model Search - only 2 of these jackets were made. Who's got one and how did you impact the world as the 1996 Mr. or Ms. Fossil Letter Jacket Model Search Winner?

Onto the show! Oh and whatever happened to Jorg & Reiner?


A touching non-eBay rare Fossil Defender find

by Terry Moss in


As collections grow we start to branch out to other forums to find nice pieces without having to pay wishful seller premiums. Anyone can start a website and attempt to sell collectible Fossil watches for $129. Likewise, anyone can sell watches on eBay and buy low with one user ID and sell high with another user ID…...we know who they are and over the years we’ve learned to avoid those traps. All of this to say in 2018 it isn’t difficult to still obtain vintage timepieces online at a reasonable price.

The purpose of this post isn’t to list out these other online avenues for great finds, but to highlight a nice story that worked out well in our ongoing attempt to finish the Fossil DE collection.

The rarest DE Defenders are the 4 similar models DE-1524, DE-1525, DE-1535 and DE-1536.

Rare Fossil Defenders

Some would argue that the DE-1542, DE-1543 and DE-1544 are rarer, but at least those appeared in several US catalogs. The 4 similar models only appeared in one Defender catalog, which we featured a few months ago. 

Collecting tip is the more desirable Defenders and to some extent Speedways appear for sale in Germany more so than anywhere else and our site metrics would indicate that to be true - we have a lot of German collectors. I don’t always search German classifieds, but when I do I find a rare Defender and in late 2017 a DE-1535 made a grand appearance on a German classified site.

Common concerns dealing with classified sites anywhere is reliability and trustworthiness of the seller. Add a few thousand miles between us and questions rise up like will she actually ship it? What guarantees will I have? How bad is the exchange rate?

Swallowing my nerves I sent off a simple email expressing interest and name dropping the Collectors Club and to my surprise Nadja, the seller was very personable and I knew instantly I could trust her. After a few awkward email exchanges with the language barrier we had a deal! Like all watches she bought it to wear it and realized it was too heavy for a woman's wrist even after swapping out the original brown strap for a black one. Nadja even went as far as sending me pictures of the watch all packaged up and a parcel number for tracking.

After a few weeks the DE-1535 made it's way to Ohio where it's proudly displayed with all the other DE Defenders. I like stories like this and had to share -- we're all people and these unique interactions is what makes collecting anything fun.  In the end I have a fun story to tell, a rare Defender watch and an extra OEM strap for another Defender that needed a good strap and I'll save that for another story. Happy Collecting!

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Join the Club - Fossil Times 1996

by Terry Moss in ,


Continuing our journey through the Fossil Times newsletters, we're pleased to release the 2nd newsletter from the 1996 Fossil Collector's Club. The volume and series numbers are ALL over the place, but our bathroom monkeys have been tabulating the data and we are presenting what we believe should be Volume 3 Issue 2. Also note that individual page scans are going to be fairly rough for the next few newsletters -- the only remnant we have from 1996 are full scan PDFs and yes there is some content cutoff (our bathroom monkeys are really upset!) 22 years later this is the best we can do.

Only two things really strike our fancy with this newsletter and first is the Collector's Breakfast. What a great idea....and we'd like to know when the last one was. November 23, 1996 was the fourth annual -- were there more? It'd be great if Fossil chose to do this again, but how many of us would attend? 35 year anniversary in 2019 coming up....wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Second thing of interest is the FAQs. Occasionally we still see limited editions and even standard releases with no numbering or sample numbering like DE-5XXX. Funny to see a corporation admit that samples made it out in the marketplace and if you're thinking that this makes your watch super valuable, you're wrong. However if you would like to buy a certain Defender numbered DE-5XXX I am open to offers and I enjoy real estate, steak dinners and Fossil gift cards.

Please enjoy the second newsletter and as always what happened to Virginia and Kim Johnson?