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The Women Watch Companies Aren’t Watching For… But Should Be

No one questions a man who has–or desires to have– more than one watch. It's just assumed that he's looking for a way to express himself, or his love of his timepieces. Many men who choose to dress in a traditionally male fashion find themselves with limited accessories. Socks have become a big focal point in recent years–at least in my industry. (Tattoos too, right along with the undercut, but that's another discussion for another time.) The point is, the general assumption seems to be that selecting multiple watches is a mark of success for a man and an expected form of self-expression. 

Women traditionally have more options and are expected to accessorize as a means of personal expression. And yet I feel strangely ignored by luxury watch companies. I have a sneaking suspicion that women are, on average, better addressed by fashion watch brands than luxury ones.

I am courted by all sorts of jewelry companies attempting to lure me with promises of beautiful and delicate jewelry that I can "afford" to treat myself to. (The idea that I should wear delicate jewelry is laughable to anyone who knows how clumsy I am, but nevermind that.) These companies understand that I'll buy myself "the F$*king Lilies"; I can and will celebrate my own accomplishments and earn what I want.

So why don't the luxury brands understand that women can and should treat themselves to the great feat of art and engineering that is a gorgeous Speedmaster or Datejust? Seems like a major blunder, doesn't it? Is it expected that my husband will buy himself a nice watch, and I'll wait for him to buy me one too? Or is the assumption that I treat watches less like an investment and more like more dispensible, low(er) cost accessories? What I do know is that I’m a missed opportunity. 

But maybe some women are missing the opportunity too. A friend recently asked me whether we would be able to find a deep community of female customers. She wears an Apple Watch, she argued, and feels like she doesn’t need to change her dress watch out that often. I was bewildered, as she has a distinct and gorgeous personal style, often matching every accessory to her outfit du jour. I countered that she might not realize what’s available, and all the ways in which she might customize her favorite dress watches. She simply hadn’t thought about it, which might be the point. No one had prompted her to.

Many women purchase and wear diamond rings on their right hands as a symbol of independence, a trend dating back to circa 2006, and one many have attributed to Sex and the City's beloved Carrie Bradshaw. So why don’t some of my wonderful female friends seem to realize they can buy themselves luxury watches? I’m not sure, but I hope this community helps to eventually render that question irrelevant and very outdated. 

And while we're on the subject, let’s dispense with the notion of “men’s” and “women’s” watches altogether, shall we? Let people buy and wear what they like. I’m far more interested in wearing a Bremont than a bedazzled Rolex or anything with a mother of pearl dial. It may have been one of our favorite podcasts, Tenn &Two where I first heard the phrase “shrink it and pink it”, but truly that’s not necessary to get most women interested in a beautiful timepiece. And we deserve a high quality one, without trading function for form. If you like a smaller case, a pink dial, diamonds–or all of the above– by all means, go for it. But it should be a choice, not a lack of options. Those options are just a matter of marketing, plain and simple anyway.

Please, give me some unpredictable design cues, an interesting history, and the respect of asking whether I'm interested.

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