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Watch Spotlight: VERO x Smokey Bear Watch - Smokey '44 and Smokey '64

VERO Smokey '64
Smokey '64 - Image Courtesy of VERO

The VERO Watch company has officially released two collaborative Smokey Bear watches, the Smokey '44 and Smokey '64, in celebration of Smokey's 79th birthday. These feature-rich automatic watches are designed to reflect Smokey Bear's style and marquee messaging with a nod to the nostalgia that surrounds Smokey.

VERO commemorates this launch with their committed to giving back, contributing 10% of each Smokey Bear watch sale to the US Forest Service, supporting their vital work in safeguarding our forests for generations to come.

Join us as we look at the importance of Smokey as a cultural icon, the roots of Smokey, and of course the VERO x Smokey Bear collaboration. A fresh look as the nostalgia of mid-century America with modern features and materials.


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Smokey Bear & American Culture

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear - Image Courtesy of VERO

Smokey Bear Is Born

Since 1944, the iconic Smokey Bear campaign has been a steadfast reminder of the importance of wildfire prevention in the United States. This enduring public service advertising campaign, administered by the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council, remains relevant today. Despite its success, the critical issue of wildfire prevention continues to be a pressing concern. We'll explore the history and evolution of Smokey Bear and why his message is still as vital as ever.

Smokey Bear's Roots

Smokey Bear Wilderness
Smokey Bear Wilderness - Image Courtesy of VERO

The seeds of the Smokey Bear campaign were sown during World War II when concerns about the risk of wildfires escalated. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention program was created to educate and engage the public in preventing fires. Slogans such as "Forest Fires Aid the Enemy" and "Our Carelessness, Their Secret Weapon" emphasized the connection between wildfires and national security.

In 1944, Disney's beloved "Bambi" characters joined the cause, amplifying awareness about forest fire prevention. This collaboration further fueled the need for a mascot to champion this important cause.

Smokey's Creation

In 1944, Smokey Bear was officially authorized as the campaign's mascot, with the first poster featuring a bear diligently pouring water on a campfire. The creative genius of artist Albert Staehle brought Smokey to life and helped popularize the campaign. By 1952, an Act of Congress placed Smokey Bear under the control of the Secretary of Agriculture, cementing his role as a symbol of wildfire prevention in the United States.

Evolution of Smokey's Catchphrase

VERO Smokey Bear
VERO Smokey Caseback - Image Courtesy of VERO

Smokey Bear's message has transformed over the years to adapt to changing times while maintaining its core emphasis on fire prevention. The campaign was initiated in 1944 with the slogan, "Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires." This laid the foundation for decades of wildfire prevention advocacy.

In 1947, Smokey's catchphrase was updated to the now-famous, "Remember... Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires." This simple, direct message resonated with the public, emphasizing individual responsibility in safeguarding our forests.

In 2001, the catchphrase evolved to "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" to reflect the importance of preventing all outdoor fires, not just those within forests. This adaptation underscored the campaign's commitment to remaining relevant and addressing contemporary challenges.

Smokey's Ongoing Work

Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear - Image Courtesy of VERO

Today, wildfire prevention remains as crucial as ever, with devastating wildfires continuing to impact communities and natural landscapes. Smokey Bear's timeless catchphrase, "Only you can prevent wildfires," underscores the individual responsibility we all share in preserving our forests and protecting our environment.

The Smokey Bear campaign, born out of wartime concerns, has stood the test of time as a symbol of wildfire prevention. His evolution and adaptability to changing times, coupled with the powerful catchphrase, reflect the enduring relevance of Smokey's message. In a world where wildfires are a persistent threat, Smokey Bear's legacy serves as a reminder that each of us has a role to play in preserving our natural treasures and preventing wildfires.



Founded in 2015 in Portland, Oregon, VERO is passionate about challenging traditional watch assumptions. Their primary focus is on creating affordable and stylish timepieces with attention to detail. With a team boasting over 30 years of cumulative experience, they build on past series using hands-on, tested methods, embracing both triumphs and failures as part of their craftsmanship.

In 2020, they transitioned to Swiss manufacturing, enforcing strict quality control guidelines and producing small order quantities to ensure impeccable quality. They are committed to sustainability, utilizing recyclable packaging and additional sustainable product practices.

Their mission is clear: crafting watches with passion, meant to be worn, not stored. They offer durable products and back it with an industry-leading ten-year warranty, reflecting their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.


VERO x Smokey '44 and Smokey '64

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey '64 (left) and Smokey '44 (right) - Image Courtesy of VERO

In honor of Smokey Bear's 79th birthday, VERO is proud to introduce the Smokey '44 and the Smokey '64, a special pair of watches that not only pay tribute to an iconic symbol of forest conservation but also offer a combination of style and purpose.

The Smokey collection is designed to capture the essence of Smokey Bear's legacy and the enduring message of wildfire prevention and responsible outdoor practices. These watches incorporates several unique features that make them a must-have for those who appreciate the great outdoors and Smokey's important mission.


Smokey Dials

The watch dials stand out with the '44 displaying a distinct custom-designed Smokey Bear image, highlighting the attention to detail in capturing the bear's iconic image. To add a touch of personality, Smokey's shovel serves as the seconds hand's counterweight, reminding wearers of Smokey's tireless dedication to fire prevention. The '64 however, features the same Smokey tree as the accompanying straps as well as a the "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" slogan circling the pinion. This model also features the shovel counterweight. Both dials feature a fantastic matte, textures dial with earth tones throughout.

Images Courtesy of VERO


Smokey Finish & Crown

Crafted with a dual-tone finish, the watches features both satin and high-polish finished stainless steel for its case and crown. This not only adds to the watch's visual appeal but also ensures its durability and long-lasting quality. The crowns, in particular, are robust and designed to suit Smokey's paws, giving the watches a distinctive and characterful appearance. With a substantial 38mm diameter, the Smokey '44 and '64 carry a bear-worthy look that is both stylish and functional.

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey Crown - Image Courtesy of VERO


Smokey Lume

Another exceptional feature of these watches are the Super LumiNova lume, which is applied to the dial dots, numerals, and hands. This luminescent material enables the watch to glow green for up to 15 hours after being exposed to UV light. This makes an excellent companion for those who appreciate reliable timekeeping in various lighting conditions.

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey Super LumiNova - Image Courtesy of VERO


Smokey Band Options

The watches offer wearers the choice of two band options - leather and woven canvas straps. Each strap is adorned with a unique tree icon and can be easily switched using quick-release spring bars, providing a versatile style to match your preference.

VERO Smokey Bear
VERO Smokey Band Options - Image Courtesy of VERO


Smokey Sustainability & Packaging

What sets the Smokey '44 and '64 apart are their ability to encapsulate different eras. With styles inspired by both 1944 and 1964, these watches reflects the history and evolution of Smokey Bear's message. This makes timeless pieces that resonate with those who appreciate the enduring legacy of Smokey's mission.

Not just stylish accessories, the Smokey series is designed to be forest-ready. Its sturdy and durable nature-inspired design encourages forest conservation and responsible outdoor activities, serving as a reminder of the importance of preserving our natural landscapes.

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey Packaging - Image Courtesy of VERO

Moreover, this watch carries a meaningful purpose. VERO is committed to giving back, with 10% of the sales supporting the US Forest Service. These funds contribute to fire safety and forest conservation efforts, strengthening the connection between the watch and Smokey Bear's mission.

VERO Smokey Bear
Smokey Packaging - Image Courtesy of VERO


The Smokey '44 and '64 are for Everyone

Whether you're an adventurer or simply enjoy leisure time in the woods, the Smokey '44 and Smokey '64 offer the perfect combination of toughness, nostalgia and practicality to make them the go-to pick for any outdoor (or indoor) activities. Add in the ever reliable Seiko NH38A, 41 hour power-reserve movement and the price tag of $450, and its no wonder this watch is such a hit amongst hobbyists and enthusiasts.

VERO Smokey Bear
VERO Smokey '44 - Image Courtesy of VERO


A special thank you to the VERO team for providing Imagery and additional information for this article. To learn more about VERO and this incredible collaboration, click below.


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