Watchmakers focus more on design than gender in new unisex models – Robb Report
These days, there is no point in questioning whether a watch is for women or men – the answer, whether the watchmaker likes it or not, is ‘yes’. Fashion and jewelry are seeing big unisex moments, with men wearing pearl necklaces, ponytail blouses and wedge heels, though designers from Nicolas GhesquiÃ¨re of Louis Vuitton to John Galliano of Maison Margiela cut suits. strong and broad shoulders for everyone, men or women, who wants to wear them. And now the watch industry is catching up with its peers and customers. Noticing, perhaps, as we have done, that chic women sport everything from a massive Rolex to an FP Journe Souverain while many stylish men are discovering a penchant for smaller cases or diamond accents, the Watchmakers have started to label unisex models or avoid labeling them at all.
Interestingly, the same trend applies to the most coveted and collectable vintage watches, but not because heritage brands were somehow little-known pioneers of genre fluidity – or at least, not on purpose. Classics are becoming classics for a reason: because the design is as stylish as a fine cashmere sweater and can also be worn fitted or oversized depending on your personal preferences. Today’s iconic models – the Nautilus by Patek Philippe, the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet, the American History 1921 by Vacheron Constantin and the Tank by Cartier, for example – are also distinct in the mid-30mm shape. whether they were in the 1940s, with or without diamonds. And while each started life as a men’s watch, when manufacturers started to create versions for women, they did so simply by reducing the size instead of introducing clichÃ©s such as pastel, floral dials. or rococo froufrou.
Consider a modern 35.2mm Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 7118 / 1A, apparently for women. It’s not far removed from its 40.5mm moonphase cousin, the Ref. 5726 / 1A, and both look remarkably similar to the 42mm original from 1976. Place one of them on any wrist and it exudes the same great taste, but the specific message will vary slightly depending on the size: a heavy watch on a woman, like an undersized watch on a man, has become a sign of quiet confidence.
But for a style to transcend genre, it seems clear that it must first stand the test of time, especially bold designs. Watchmakers are forced to chase trends like any fashion-conscious designer, although they’ll never admit it, which means you have to take the chorus of âinstant classicâ and âmodern iconâ claims with a grain of salt. How will these models fare, for example, compared to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso, which turns 90 this year, and which has changed very little over the last century? When it was created in the roaring twenties, the Reverso was a fanciful and practical sports watch, but in today’s more casual era, it is considered an Art Deco-inspired sartorial model, suitable even for outfits. evening. The style never really changed, the company did. With that kind of resistance, what difference could a minor detail like sex make?
Sure, there are plenty of currently trending – and unisex – watch trends that are about to look tragically dated (looking at you, brightly colored ceramic cases), but there are a few new models that have the potential to remain in demand. long term by buyers. of both sexes: Octo Finissimo by Bulgari, a great ultralight and ultramodern beauty; Piaget’s ultra-thin Altiplano, so thin it can fit in your wallet card holder; and the HermÃ¨s Arceau L’Heure de la Lune Moonphase, a wildly cool take on a centuries-old complication. Retailers say these models are flying off shelves and into chests owned by people of all genders.
If nothing else, think about the unisex potential of a model as an indicator of ROI. A Cartier Crash, recently seen both surprisingly outraged at rapper Kanye West and presumably elegant at New York socialite and entrepreneur Lauren Santo Domingo, is a prime example: last year, a London version in 18k yellow gold. sold online at Sotheby’s for $ 225,000, well over double its maximum estimate of $ 90,000, and dealers say it’s nearly impossible to get there now.
The latest Nautilus with a green dial, Ref. 5711 / 1A, released in April, is already selling in the secondary market for around $ 360,000, more than 10 times its original retail price of $ 34,893. It’s an unusual but important lesson for watchmakers with a strong brand DNA: the best way to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing cultural landscape is not to change much at all.
Paige Reddinger is Robb ‘reportpublisher of watches and jewelry. She resides in Brooklyn and has just bought a new watch for her husband for their wedding, which she intends to wear.