All things should be equal when choosing a car. Sadly, this is definitely not true when it comes to the price. And, while some marques might be a very clear indication of which tools their owner used to make the purchasing decision, when you search for information to help with your choice, it’s also sad to still find headlines that read “Top 10 cars for a single woman” (substitute “man” or any one of the 56 gender nomenclatures I discovered are listed on the US version of Facebook) which perpetuate the age-old stereotypes separating car brands and models based on gender.
For over a century, the same has largely been true in the watch industry. Pretty things encrusted with diamonds, for women. Exciting pieces of machinery, for men. Fortunately, this is changing, even if largely due to the economic storm, and the women’s segment, much like that of millennial newcomers, has been a great contributor to growth - and they are no longer an afterthought or offered a smaller version of men’s models.
Just as your choice of car should be based on practicality, needs, budget, safety, design and, of course, performance, so too should your selection of a timepiece reflect your lifestyle, the size of your wrist and fascination with what’s under the hood.
In a report back by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the independent body that monitors the industry, tracks trends and organises events such as the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie and Watches & Wonders Miami, “making watches that sit well on a slimmer wrist is now a priority”.
“Proof of this, brands that once refused to depart from super-sized cases, the caricatural ‘pizza-sized’ watch, are presenting styles that women can comfortably wear. Brands are anticipating what it is their female customers want, and in many instances this means fewer elaborate embellishments.”
The industry has woken up to the fact that there are ways to a woman’s heart – anyone’s for that matter – other than the métiers d'art. With rappers and oligarchs having led the charge, there are no longer rules to determine who gets the diamonds and gold. “This is a welcome development, as it shifts the emphasis to mechanisms, alongside original designs that are giving women watch buyers the pick of many vibrant and even downright fun styles,” the FHH report continues.
Following suit, Frederique Constant has unveiled new pieces in its 36mm Ladies Automatic collection with five models, including two embellished with diamond-set bezels, which will steal your glance. However, backed by anthropological research which suggests that love is a universal emotion, it’s the three models that reveal their FC-310 automatic movements through a Double Heart Beat aperture, and transparent case back, which will probably be the objects of desire.
With slim, 36mm diameter cases – incidentally also a men’s vintage watch size – they’ll be comfortable and lightweight to wear and, for easy legibility, the sunray-embossed dial displays hours, minutes and seconds through bold hand-applied Roman numerals, applied diamond indexes and hand-polished silvered or rose gold-plated hands. Movements are Swiss made with 26 jewels, beating at 28 000 bph, with a useful 38-hour power reserve and water resistance up to 50m. The new models are available on a choice of stainless steel, bi-color stainless steel, rose gold-plated bracelet or navy blue alligator leather strap.