While we notice gender lines being blurred at an exponential rate in the world today, there are more women at the helm of watch brands that we have ever seen before and women are finally speaking up for their share in the watch world, it’s almost as though they are taking back what they started—the first ever wrist watch was made for a woman.
According to Report Linker, the prediction for the Indian watch market was measured at a CAGR of 20.32% over the forecast period, 2020-2025. This has not only held true but is sizablely populated by women, the keen female eye has been wandering through not only those pieces that are showered in diamonds or have a mother-of-pearl dial, they are going beyond in their choices and are opting for larger dial sizes, complications and more.
We see this change in the way brands are behaving with their newest editions, neutral approach towards design and of course, women at the helm. Jaeger-LeCoultre has given the reins to CEO Catherine Renier, Audemars Piguet has followed suit and given the CEOship of North America to Ginny Wright. There has also been a notable change on the brand front from IWC and Zenith who have removed all gender bifurcations online and offline.
“Women are increasingly stepping away from the 28mm size and want larger watches. And anecdotally I can say that perhaps they are now saying—I don’t want another piece of jewellery, can I just get a nice watch instead” smiles Yasho Saboo, founder and chairman, Ethos Watch Group.
While we like to believe that women have been speaking up for a while, 2020 saw a significant rise in conversation around women and time. While the world sat at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, digital communication strengthened the bond between women around the globe and saw the birth of numerous platforms that empowered their voice.
One of the largest perpetrators for this was Watch Femme, founded by Laetitia Hirschy and Suzanne Wong, along with Nathalie Veysset, the community gave life to a long-held desire of hosting bi-weekly meeting to address issues close to the hearts of women in the watch world, via the audio-only social network Clubhouse.
This spilled into Instagram and even live meetings held at various watch fairs including Geneva Watch Days. Sessions covered topics as diverse as career development, vintage watches, inclusive marketing and product development. While the community is open to women around the world, it is also open to men who share our objectives of educating, integrating and developing the watch industry together.
President of GPHG, Raymond Lauretan rightly added, “GPHG strives to maintain gender balance, seeing more representation by women on the jury panel to select winners. Not out of pressure, but I think women are bringing a different approach and sensitivity to the watch industry. Several women are taking responsibility as the CEO of watch brands, but I think we can do better.”
Amidst the burst we have also seen trailblazers like Brynn Wallner who started Dimepiece, a platform that amplifies watch looks, celebrity sightings and topical horology content all centred around women. Another one includes Watch Girl Off Duty aka Zoe Abelson who is an independent watch consultant who started various whatsapp groups that make conversation around women, watches and collecting that connected people from around the globe in palatable conversation.
“The Watch Femme community is one that sparks passion and provides a platform for members to gather and truly experience what horology has to offer, in an engaging environment. We were delighted to collaborate with them for sessions during Dubai Watch Week 2021 and Horology Forum 2022, where attendees explored watchmaking and were invited to share and learn further about the industry. We’re excited to see how this platform continues to develop and look forward to partnering again in the future.”, Hind Seddiqi, Director General of Dubai Watch Week and a member of the GPHG Jury.
Closer home, Suparna Mitra, CEO of Watches and Wearables Division at the Titan Company, adds, ““I think women and watches are a wonderful combination. But the problem is that women have not discovered watches as their own. In fact, the very first watch was designed for women. But, it is largely seen in the premium brands across the world that a lot of work happens on men’s watches. There is work on women’s watches but a distance between both sides exists. Women also think of watches as not close to them as compared to jewellery. When people are thinking of fantastic innovations in watches, they are probably not thinking of women. We should go from being an afterthought to being a forethought when it comes to women and watches”
The dream of making watches for both men and women as equals is a long one but it’s definitely on its way there. Today we see complications for women in specific brands offering case sizes that offer a more gender neutral approach and of course awareness around the world of horology. The aim is to keep the conversation going, and with various communities joining hands across the globe, the horizon definitely looks brighter.
We feel we are one step closer here in India as the capital will see Asia’s first Watch Femme in collaboration with The Hour Markers happening in the capital in early November 2022. The idea is to unravel the world of watches to those who are just stepping in and create a safe space for those who are already in it. All women of course, the event will be a safe space for them to discuss the perils of being a woman in this slowly but surely changing male dominated world, bear witness to each other’s collections and revel in the world of horology together.
“I could not be more excited to be cohosting our first Watch Femme event in India with The Hour Markers. From the moment we created Watch Femme, the Indian community was one of the first to embrace us and actively participate in our various panels. As one of the world’s oldest luxury market, from 2020, to 2021, Swiss watch exports to India have showed the largest growth among the top 30 markets at +61.7% and the country shows immense potential among budding female watch aficionados and collectors.”
Stay tuned as we bring you Asia’s first ever WatchFemme evening curated by The Hour Markers in New Delhi, India on November 3rd, 2022.