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Fashion Designers Are Teaming Up With Watch Companies

  • March 6, 2024

Fashion designers have spent the last few weeks presenting their new collections, focused on styles for fall. But many also have been introducing new looks for some of the most recognizable names in watchmaking.

On Feb. 2, a week before the start of New York Fashion Week, Victoria Beckham gathered the likes of Helena Christensen, Derek Blasberg and Katie Holmes at the stylish Indochine restaurant in Manhattan to celebrate her new venture: a series of watches for Breitling.

In late January, during Couture Week in Paris, the models walking for Tamara Ralph wore the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition, which the Australian designer had created for the brand. And Yiqing Yin, another couturier in Paris, has had a partnership with Vacheron Constantin since 2019.

But why are watchmakers teaming up with female designers?

“Women’s importance in the watch market is only increasing,” said Georges Kern, Breitling’s chief executive. “We approached Victoria Beckham because her brand’s understated elegance, or quiet luxury aesthetic if you want, aligns with our positioning as the cool and relaxed alternative in watches and is a great fit for the types of women we want to approach.”

Basically, he said, “Victoria’s influence in the fashion industry allows us to speak to style-savvy women, thus reaching a larger female audience.”

Such collaborations, said Claudia D’Arpizio, the senior partner and global head of fashion and luxury at Bain & Company, are part of watchmakers’ efforts to address women in a more empathetic, considerate manner — moving beyond the stereotypes that once characterized some offers from the male-dominated industry.

“Historically, women’s watches always had precious stones,” Ms. D’Arpizio said, “they were essentially jewelry watches, but now, many brands are designing timepieces for a genderless consumer and reinforcing the segment of non-jewelry watches

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