Posted by Brian Friedrichs on 21st Apr 2017
Women. Arguably the most beautiful creatures on earth. Throughout time, as if they needed it, we have adorned women with every conceivable finery available. The finest gold gilded fabrics, fine linens to every imaginable jewel ever discovered on and in this earth, and crowning them all, the ever-mysterious draw of the diamond. Yet when it comes to women’s watches, other than encrusting them in the aforementioned diamonds, they have in the past been a second thought in the minds of Swiss watch manufactures letting the men’s market carry them to their pinnacles of success. But that is all changing, as was evidenced at Baselworld this year with many of the industry’s top guns addressing this issue with new women’s lines. The variety of new materials incorporated, to the proliferation of new mechanical movements offered by such companies as Omega, Carl Bucherer, Tag Heuer, and even the manufacturer of masculine Richard Mille, that they are taking the women’s lines seriously. Women are beginning to appreciate haute horology, including complications such as chronographs, calendars, dual times and of course no shortage of moon phase models. So, maybe just maybe, even though they are always on the mind, diamonds, may for now at least, may become the second thought when choosing her next watch.
Fluctuating currencies, an unstable world economy and a decline in current value sales to China for the fourth consecutive year, has left the men’s Swiss watch market looking a bit like a watch in need of service. But the rise in the women’s market over the past couple years has, as I mentioned earlier, caught the attention of executives throughout the industry as a possible savior to their current financial concerns. Let's take a look at some of the watch industries responses to this new-found frontier of women’s haute horology, from dive models to elegant offerings with iconic diamond adornment for the boardroom and ballroom alike.
Our first watch, the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec has taken a masculine dive watch and adapted it nicely to the woman’s smaller wrist, with a 36mm stainless steel case sporting a red and white ceramic bezel and screw down crown for a depth rating of 200 meters, the minimum for true dive watch status. Equipped with calibre CFB 1950 a twenty-six-jewel in-house movement, it has a power reserve of thirty-eight hours along with a COSC certified chronometer rating. This mechanical movement contains a central hour and minute hand display with a sub seconds’ dial at six o'clock and a date window at three. Measuring in at a mere 4.8 mm thick it keeps the cases feminine appeal alive. It is a women’s watch with a true purpose under the waves.
Our next example comes to us from Omega, a brand needing no introduction. It also has a decent history as far as variety in women’s models is concerned. For 2017 Omega introduced the Seamaster Aqua Terra Ladies collection with a new refined case and an eye on the technical. The collection comes in 38mm, 34mm and 28mm in stainless steel and their 18k Sedona gold. The 38 and 34 mmm models are equipped with Omega's Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 movements while the 28-mm version is driven by Omega's 4061 calibre quartz movement. Whether you choose the two-tone with diamonds or the stainless-steel model with mother of pearl dial, they are both serious watches beyond their beauty.
Tag Heuer came to Baselworld in 2017 with a made over version of a favorite among watch enthusiasts since it first hit the market in 2003, the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Lady. It checks in with a 35mm stainless steel case featuring a blue ceramic 60-minute uni-directional bezel accenting nicely the blue mother-of-pearl dial. Diamonds mark the hours along with a 60 seconds/minute scale index. The rhodium plated hour and minute hands contain super luminova for legibility underwater. That coupled with a screw down case back allows Tag Heuer to give it a 300-meter depth rating. A number not often seen on women’s watches. The watch is powered by Tags quartz movement and comes on an array of strap and bracelet options.
Avant guard watchmaker Richard Mille also put exciting materials and his blend of haute horology and unique style on display for women this year with his RM 07-02 Pink Lady Sapphire Case, carved completely of pink sapphire crystal. Sapphire isn't the only precious material involved in this watch. The dial section is made from smoky mother-of -pearl accented with diamonds which also grace the winding rotor. The entire movement is constructed from solid red gold showcased in its skeletonized shell of sapphire. As always with Richard Mille he is not all flair. His engineering is brilliant as always from titanium screws to reduce torque on the case to his free sprung balance spring R.M. delivers once again. But with a price tag of $980,000 it may not be for mass consumption.
Other notable offerings included Chopards Happy Divers Edition with their free-falling diamonds but this time on a nato strap with a 300-meter depth rating. Frederique Constant presented their 34mm horological smart watch with cell phone connectivity while Tag Heuer also presented the crowd with their 36mm black PVD steel polished cased Carrera featuring a black PVD fixed bezel, domed sapphire crystal and screw down case back assuring 100 meters of water resistance. A new approach for women’s watches.
These are but of few of the myriad of choices awaiting women in watch stores the world over. Watch companies are now taking from and refining the components of a men’s watches and presenting women's wrists with the options in horology that so gracefully they demanded. It is well known, we always give women what they desire.
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