Luxury brands are upping their game to lure the woman watch connoisseur
What does the future hold for women’s mechanical watches? Companies give different answers as they fight to woo women watch connoisseurs.
This magazine has been waxing lyrical about high-end horology for women for five years. This year though, it really looks like things are going to take off in a big way.
Over the past decade, luxury watch brands have been tantalising women collectors with an array of limitededition mechanical timepieces. Having circled the runway for a long time, several watch companies are finally diving into the women’s technical market in a more determined way.
At the SIHH watch fair in Geneva in January this year, Vacheron Constantin marched out only ladies’ watches, a large number of them featuring top-notch inhouse mechanical movements.
Meanwhile, Audemars Piguet envisions 2013 to be the year that it “officially reinforces its efforts to meet demands of women collectors”. And in almost every lavishly decorated booth from JaegerLeCoultre to Van Cleef & Arpels, one can find femme-friendly mechanical watches.
The same can be said of the Baselworld watch fair in April. Patek Philippe, an early proponent of modern mechanical watches for ladies, again leads the way with new Calatrava models – the Ref. 7121 with moon-phase display, and Ref. 7200, a two-hand variant – both housing ultra-thin movements. Elsewhere, we count a healthy number of complications for women such as tourbillons and chronographs from a variety of brands including Blancpain and Bulgari, not to mention more automatic timepieces in women’s collections.
That is not to say that watch companies are fast abandoning the design-driven styles that traditionally characterised feminine haute horlogerie. Instead, they are responding differently to an increasingly sophisticated demographic.
“We believe the market for women’s mechanical watches will be huge in years to come,” predicted Thierry Stern, Patek Philippe’s president. He adds that the range was conceived after he was convinced by women customers from Asia that there was a burgeoning niche of technically astute female watch aficionados. “For them, watch appreciation isn’t just solely about style anymore.”
Van Cleef & Arpels even had butterflies working their charm to lure women watch collectors at
this year’s SIHH watch fair.