For centuries, watch buyers have primarily been men. This is now changing: Women watch collectors are purchasing timepieces in consistently growing numbers. In fact, they’re showing increasing interest in watches that were once marketed exclusively to men. These women want larger dials, more robust mechanics, and more complex complications.
Watch companies have been listening. Traditional women’s watches with gem-set, feminine designs remain popular, but they are no longer the singular choice for female buyers. Some pieces combine mechanical rigor with gemstones and artisan designs, while watchmakers are marketing more of their offerings as gender-neutral.
Isabella Proia, international specialist and head of sale at auction house Phillips’s watch department, offers some tips for attracting these new collectors and maintaining a good business relationship with them.
Don’t assume that all women want the same things. We’re finally starting to get away from pigeonholing all women with diamonds and pink dials, but that’s not enough.
Some women do like smaller watches or gem-set watches —and we should embrace the fact that we can make the choice.
Get to know your collectors. Learn about their interests, occupations and hobbies. They may not know be exactly what would appeal to them, which is why they’re coming to you for advice.
As the experts, it can be fun to solve the puzzle of what might best suit their lives, bringing up features they may not have considered.
Don’t just sell watches; really take the time to talk to your clients about trends, historical pieces, etc. Education and conversation are part of building great relationships and retaining the excitement of collecting watches.
Get involved in the community of female collectors and enthusiasts. You’re going to learn a lot more about what women want if you spend time listening to the conversations they’re having, and hearing what’s important to them.
Go to events, listen to panel discussions, and ask questions.
Keep watches fun. Building out a collection can be daunting, especially for someone who is just beginning their journey as a watch enthusiast. There’s so much information to absorb, it can be quite overwhelming.
When you let your own excitement shine through, it’s easier to help these people enjoy the journey.
This article is from the May-June 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.
Image: Isabella Proia. (Phillips)