During the recent Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021 digital exhibition, visitors were treated to some sensory overload presentations. Some were live, others had been pre-recorded and others were open discussions. A lot of videos had also been prepared and were launched. Not every aspect of the week-long show was perfect and there were some technical glitches along the way, but one of the highlights of the week was the Connoisseur Conversations that A. Lange & Sohne launched. These conversations featured a small group of experts discussing topics like watch collecting, cars and watches, watch design and — the highlight for me and many other women — the discussion entitled : “Are women a game changer in the world of watches?”
For this discussion, A. Lange & Sohne’s CMO Barbara Hans was on set in Berlin, with me, Roberta Naas, in America and Elizabeth Doerr of Quill and Pad in Germany. The three of us spent 30 minutes discussing what got us involved in and passionate about watches, the changes we have witnessed in the watch industry over the years when it comes to brands marketing to women, brands creating watches for women and the world of women collectors.
Some recurring themes surfaced. Including the fact that brands should stop labeling watches as men’s and women’s and that they should stop trying to market expressly to women with special ads and feminine highlights. Women want what they want, just like men do. Women are capable of making their own decisions even if the brands tell us the watch is made for women. Women don’t necessarily want diamonds (in fact, some women run from them), but we do want form, function and technical excellence.
For years women have had the ability to double dip. We could buy men’s watches that were larger and more sexy thanks to the complications inside, or they could buy a “woman’s” watch. Men didn’t always have that ability to choose from either category because most men didn’t want the one thing many watch brands do to characterize a women’s watch: add diamonds. While we recognize that brands have to create watches for the different tastes and styles of people all over the world, they can be more discriminating when it comes to certain markets and tone down the glitz.
Other interesting takeaways from the discussion include how we, Beth Doerr and myself, respectively got into the watch world as journalists and how we see the female watch collector evolving. Hans had some interesting insights to share on the brand’s behalf, here, too, noting that it tries not to differentiate between men’s and women’s watches, but rather hopes the product will speak to everyone. We all also said we hope these types of conversations, especially about collecting and women in the watch world, will continue.
One of the things i found particularly interesting was the fact that in Europe (or at least Germany) the women collectors seem to be more discreet about their hobby than their male counterparts. Here in America, I don’t find that. I think American women are confident in their love of watches and they want to share their passions with everyone. So, If you are a woman in the watch world, speak up; I want to hear from you.
Meanwhile, here is a complete video of the discussion.