Leading luxury retailer Watchfinder & Co. has become the first watch seller in the UK to remove gender labels from its website. It instead will simply label watches as small, medium or large.
The industry-first move has seen the brand launch a campaign with America’s Next Top Model judge and renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker, calling for all jewellery and watches to be made genderless as standard.
The brand is urging manufacturers to follow suit and refer to watches by their size alone and ditch the ‘redundant, restrictive and outdated’ gender model, which labels certain watches as only suitable for those of a particular sex, undermining people’s personal tastes and size choices.
The move follows a trend amongst celebrities and consumers alike for subverting stereotypes and wearing watches originally designed for – and marketed solely to – the opposite sex.
For example, rappers may have traditionally been associated with large, statement watches, but Kanye West is regularly spotted wearing a dinky – and very valuable – 22mm Cartier Crash. Meanwhile Jay-Z is known to favour a 27mm Jaeger Reverso Duo and Harry Styles likes to sport a 32mm Rolex Precision. All of these watches would traditionally be considered ‘women’s sizes’ by the gender categorisations.
Cartier Crash © Cartier
Women are also increasingly moving towards larger watches. Victoria Beckham is often seen wearing a 40mm Rolex Daytona, Rosie Huntington-Whitely a 40mm Patek Philippe Nautilus and Charlize Theron a huge – and incredibly thick – 44mm Rolex Deepsea divers watch, which can withstand depths of up to 12,800ft below sea level.
Nautilus © Patek Philippe
Analysis by Watchfinder & Co. has found that, despite a reluctance to ditch the traditional gender classifications, many watch manufacturers are increasingly catering to this trend. Rolex – perhaps the most iconic watch brand on the planet – has recently enlarged its 26mm ‘Lady’ Datejust to 28mm and taken its Ladies’ Pearlmaster up a huge 10mm from 29mm to 39mm – a dimension which would traditionally have been considered a man’s size.
Datejust © Rolex
The trend works both ways. Tudor – owned by Rolex –recently launched a smaller 39mm version of its ‘men’s’ Black Bay divers watch. Meanwhile IWC launched a 36mm version of its classic Pilot watch.
Black Bay © Tudor
“We feel that categorising a watch as either men’s or women’s is now both redundant, restrictive and outdated," Matt Bowling, Co-founder of Watchfinder & Co. "Everyone should be able to choose whatever style they want, without being dictated as to whether it is suitable for their gender or not."
“By removing the men’s and women’s categories from our business we are encouraging customers to explore and discover more watches, helping them find the right watch for them. With a large proportion of men’s watches getting smaller and women’s watches getting bigger, we feel that gender categories are now obsolete.”