Women spend more money on wristwatches

Armand Nicolet South Africa AL3 Ladies watch white strap

A wristwatch is considered to be a typical “men-thing”. Looking at sales figures, there is a 70/30 split between men’s and ladies watches. However, the average price spent on ladies watches is higher. At least, according tot Brian Duffy of Watches of Switzerland.

In the past, many women would consider a watch to be a gift, but not anymore. They now buy their own and quite often even more than one. The first one is often a straight forward one, whereas the following will have 1 or more complications, mostly regarding time-zones.

Although women buy less and less jewelry, especially traditional watches remain popular, even with millennials. Some brands are so high in demand prospective buyers are put on a waiting list.

First wristwatch ever

On June 8, 1810 the queen of Naples got a wristwatch from Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) and Patek Philippe created one in 1869 for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1869. Way back then, wristwatches were considered to be jewelry for ladies. In 1930 Rolex produced twice as many ladies watches as men’s watches. Their ‘Princess’ model, launched in 1920, was the most expensive one they sold. There is a famous picture of a woman, Mercedes Gleitze, who swam the channel in 1927 wearing a waterproof Rolex Oyster.

When wristwatches became more and more a male accessory, the watch industry obviously started to focus on men. For a long time, the famous brands didn’t spend too much time on new designs for women. Instead they decided to just downsize the men’s models, “pimp” them with diamonds or add a pastel color, like pink or baby blue.

Women calling the shots now

Slowly but surely, women infiltrated in the industry. Patek Philippe appointed Sandrine Stern as Head of Watch Creation and Marie Laure Cérède became Time Piece Creation Director at Cartier. How does that impact watch design? More attention to female detail?

Cérède states: “For us at Cartier, the passion and the expertise is valued more than the gender at the end. But thinking about men or women as final customers is very important because we have a very specific femininity by Cartier and a specific masculinity. They are different. So when you see Baignoire, or the Santos de Cartier, they’re different.”

According to Stern, the perfect aesthetic of the watch is a very important element because women have more of an emotional side. As much as a growing number of women are looking for technical perfection, there will always be a ‘love at first sight’ feeling attached to it. Women are very demanding in terms of aesthetic, comfort of wear, adaptability, so it is more complicated to design watches for ladies. At Patek Philippe they are increasingly noticing a growing interest in mechanical and complicated timepieces for ladies.




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