EVO­LU­TION

24-7 (Singapore) - - Contents - BY ALVIN WONG

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.

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