Time On Her Terms: Exploring The Bond Between Women And Watches

Time On Her Terms: Exploring The Bond Between Women And Watches

THM Desk
8 Mar 2024 |
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For women, watches are not just accessories, but emblems of empowerment, self-expression, and a celebration of their unique journeys. This article delves into the fascinating relationship between women and watches, exploring the multifaceted roles that these timepieces play in their lives.

Drawing from the insights and experiences of a diverse group of women, we uncover the deep connections they forge with their watches. From the sentimental heirlooms that carry cherished memories to the meticulously crafted masterpieces that adorn their wrists, each timepiece tells a story as captivating as the woman who wears it.

We caught up with Kelly Yoch, Fiona Kruger, Abingdon Mullin, Zoe Abelson, and Georgia Benj to discuss women in leadership roles, their preferred timepieces, and more!

How do you think the role of women has evolved in the watch industry over the past few years?

Kelly: There are simply just more of us. I have done this since 1997 and I am thrilled that more women have chosen to select this as an occupation. This is an industry that has evolved so much. We can only do more as we are selected in roles that will make a difference. More female CEOs, please.

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Kelly Yoch

Fiona: The honest answer is that I never thought about being a woman in this industry, so I’ve never really looked at the roles people had based on gender. It sounds naive, but my focus has always been so much on the project, doing the best work we can with the best people we can, and whoever that was, that’s who we worked with. The collaborative nature of my practice means I get lost in what we can create with our team and how can we highlight their skills.

Fiona Kruger FractureThat being said, I think some of the assumptions around what makes a “woman’s watch” have changed, thankfully, so the discussions on the manufacturing side have evolved. We also have a very mixed team with everyone we collaborate with, so the discussions around our projects reflect that. I also think that there is an awareness of women not being this 1-dimensional “extra market” for the industry, so brands who chose to label their watches as “men’s or women’s” pieces are shifting from making girly pieces as a tick-box exercise to “have something for the women” to creating watches which have a design sensibility to them that appeals to women and men. Women are interested in watches, and in mechanics, we just need to include them in the conversation.

Abingdon: I think over the last few years, women have become much more vocal about what they like/don't like as consumers in the watch industry. Whether the watch industry is listening to them is another story, but women are making it loud and clear that they don't want their only option to be small, pink, and made with diamonds. And then they're spending their money with those brands that hear them, and they're ignoring the brands that are still considering them to be an afterthought.

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Abingdon MullinGeorgia: Women have gained more notoriety and respect in the last few years and it's an amazing to see that transition and acknowledge how welcoming the watch world has actually been. For so long it has been an 'old boys club' with so much snobbery and exclusivity and women have been integral in opening up that conversation, making the market more welcoming and helping to educate others on watches. I only see it growing and growing and I am determined to help with that growth.

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Georgia Benj

What are the 3 things you'd like to see brands do differently to better cater to their consumers?

Kelly: I would love to see the brands market their product to a broad audience rather than to “men and women.” So many discussions in the last few years have lead the conclusion that timepieces come in different sizes, shapes, and colors and they should be marketed as so with more inclusion.

Complications need to be offered on smaller mm watches because not everyone is interested in wearing a 40mm plus timepiece. I challenge these brands to go back to their roots and make these pieces of art like they used to! Creativity is lost. I feel like many brands end up mirroring their competitors. Only a few brands today are challenging themselves to be unique.

Fiona: Take a creativity-first approach - we make something people do not need, so I see watches as inspirational objects, not aspirational.

Radical transparency - share who they work with to make their pieces and why. I assume that brands are working with the best people they can to make their watches, so why not celebrate them? From the designers to the artisans, it only adds to the provenance and richness of the story behind the piece, and ultimately its value. Consider what they are making and why they are making it - intention matters, you can feel it in the object, the imagery, the words used. In a world with too much stuff, it’s important to think about what we are making and why we are making it.

Fiona Kruger Chaos timepieceAbingdon: 1. Listen to their consumer. Don't assume what they want. Instead ask them what they want. 2. Have fun. No need to be pretentious or elitist - it can come across exclusionary and uninviting to a consumer. 3. Be more inclusive. Have more options with your product - from colors to sizes. Show women, other ethnicities, and all kinds of people in your messaging. Watches don't discriminate. Neither should a brand.

Zoe: Pieces with complications. I’d love to see more watches in the 34-36mm size with complications like perpetual calendars, annual calendars and chronographs. Brands used to make “men’s” watches in these sizes with complications in the 80s and 90s, so I’d love to see this come back for women to have more options with modern watches in smaller sizing with more interesting functions and complications.

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Zoe Abelson

Georgia: Show more photos on varying size wrists so you have a better idea of what this will look like on if you can't see it in person. Eliminate the genderisation of watches, just use sizes and don't list them as mens or womens. Stop making women-specific watches of miniaturized "mens" watches with diamonds.

Top 5 watch suggestions of 2024 from the releases you've seen so far?

Kelly: I still need to see more. Only few brands have really challenged themselves. I feel like I can make a better analysis after Watches and Wonders. I feel like, at that point, everyone will have had a chance to display and we can judge from that point.

Kelly Yoch's Grand SeikoFiona: As we’ve not had Watches & Wonders yet, some of my selection may date back beyond 2024! But here are some of my favourites:

  • Piaget Hidden Treasures Watch. Although the watch is powered by a quartz movement, the design is stunning, and so contemporary, a testament to the original cuff watches of the 1960’s and 70’s.

  • Krayon Anywhere - again, not from 2024 (goes back to 2022!), but an absolutely beautiful piece by an incredibly talented independent. Technical yet elegant.

  • Slim d’Hermes "Le Sacre des Saisons Winter” - I love the motif of the winter model, the pailloné enamel technique used, and I’m a big fan of the original Slim d’Hermes, an incredible design, so as a new release, this is a lovely piece.

  • DeBethune DB28XP Kind of Blue Tourbillon Sapphire - I think DeBethune make some of the most beautiful and emotive watches I have ever seen. There is an energy to them that just resonates with me. From the exceptional finishing to the dusting of “stars” across the watch face, it’s a piece I could look at for hours. There’s so much to say about it, but I’ll leave it at that - it speaks for itself.

  • DIOR Grand Bal piece unique Parure Tropicale N3 - Unless I’m mistaken, I think this was revealed at the end of last year. I saw it in Dubai - just incredible. I’m a fan of Dior, and the bold aesthetic choice for this watch with it’s green face is so striking. I also love the Grand Bal series in general for how it fuses mechanics with aesthetic creativity.

Abingdon: I love the new WASP Commemorative watch which honors the Women AirForce Service Pilots from WW2. Also, the Jordan Automotive watch from the Abingdon Co. in Gulfhawk and Podium Pink are two styles that just catch the eye. The colors are so fun and the multi-function TMI movement offers so much in those two watches.

Georgia: All gold everything, integrated bracelets (new and vintage), smaller case sizes (heading back to original vintage sizes 30, 32, 34), shift to vintage & neo-vintage (with AD's making it so hard to buy new) and stone dials (people want rarity and what's more unique then a perfect slice of stone)

Georgia Benjamin's timepiecesOne watch that holds a special place in your heart and why?

Kelly: My Cartier Pasha Chrono. That was the first luxury purchase I made for myself. It is stainless and 18-karat yellow gold. It is quartz. When everyone around me was wearing “a certain brand,” I did not want to be thrown in the mix of what everyone had on their wrist. No one was thinking outside the box……I always have – even as a child. If everyone wanted blue, I wanted orange….and so on and so on. That watch represents a time in my past that showed I was successful, independent, and proud of what I had accomplished. That is a piece that will always stay with me.

Kelly Yoch's Ulysse NardinFiona: The skull watch Mary Queen of Scots gave to her maiden, Mary Seaton, on her way to execution. It’s from the late 18th or early 19th century. When I saw it I realized that watches didn’t have to be round or flat - they could be anything you wanted, and your only limit was your imagination. Not only that but here was an object with meaning, not just an accessory. It still resonates today, and I found that incredibly inspiring.

Fiona Skull WatchAbingdon: For the last eighteen years, I have continued to wear my trusty Jackie aviation watch in Seaplane Green. It is the original design from the Abingdon Co. and it will always be my favorite. I don't baby that watch and it is my choice at least 5 days out of the week. It continues to impress me in that it still holds up even though I'm a tough watch wearer.

Georgia: My Rolex President Day-Date 18038 holds a special place in my heart. I wanted to treat myself for my 30th birthday and I was looking for such a specific config with a black gilt dial and factory diamond markers, it also had to be a 1991. It took me about 1.5 years total to learn and hunt and find exactly what I wanted and it was that process that sparked my curiosity and made me fall in deep to the watch world. It'll be in my collection forever.

Georgia Benj Watch CollectionIt's essential to break away from outdated stereotypes and biases and embrace gender equality in all aspects of watchmaking. By celebrating the achievements of women in the watch world and providing equal opportunities for growth and recognition, we not only promote diversity and inclusion but also foster a more vibrant and progressive industry. It's time to give credit where it's due and pave the way for a future where all watch enthusiasts, regardless of gender, are valued and respected for their contributions. On that note, wishing you all a very Happy Women’s Day, one that should be celebrated every day!