For years, most luxury watch brands have concentrated their marketing towards men.  In a way, that makes sense, as the watch industry is hundreds of years old and at one time, men were the only people who had any money.

That has changed over the years, and watch brands have slowly begun to include watches for women in their product line.

There is a difference, however, in having women’s watches in your product line and taking women seriously as potential customers.

patek philippe minute repeaterWhile most watch brands have at least a few watches for women, they usually were far fewer than men’s models.  Women’s watches also tend to be less elaborate and offer fewer features or complications.

While a given brand might include chronographs, automatic movements, a tourbillon, a moonphase display or a perpetual calendar, the women’s models offered by the same company might consist entirely of watches with quartz movements with time-only displays or perhaps, at best a day/date complication.

Of course, they’d embellish those watches with diamonds and perhaps a gold case, but the features often ended there.

This is changing.  Certainly there are more women in the workplace than there were 50 years ago, but today, there are more women earning large salaries than there were even 20 years ago.  With those large salaries comes an interest in buying more expensive things, and those things often include luxury watches.

There are a few companies that make watches exclusively for women, but many women would like to buy the same established brands that men wear, and that’s understandable.

Patek Philippe has noticed this.  The Swiss watchmaker is known for their elaborate and expensive timepieces, but, like many watch brands, they have traditionally made watches mostly for men.

patek philippe world timeIn recent years, they’ve changed their approach, and at the moment, some 30% of their watch lineup consists of women’s models.  That may not sound like much, but it corresponds roughly to the percentage of the luxury watch market that women currently hold.  Patek intends to increase the percentage of women’s models over time.

These watches are not just quickly-thrown-together quartz models, either.  Like the rest of the Patek Philippe watch lineup, these watches have mechanical movements that are designed in-house.   Some of them also boast some fairly impressive complications, as well.

This year, at Baselworld, Patek showed off their 7130G.  This watch is a woman’s version of their World Time Reference, and it can keep track of the time in all 24 of the world’s major time zones.

The automatic movement boasts a gold rotor and a 48 hour power reserve.  The case is white gold and is adorned with 62 diamonds.  Yes, it’s a bling-heavy watch, but under the hood, it has the same impressive credentials that you’ll find in the company’s watches for men.

It turns out that a lot of women actually collect Patek Philippe watches, and that means that those that own some already will likely want to buy more in the future.  For that, of course, the company needs to make more watches for women, and they’re working on that.

Women are just as fascinated with technology as men are, and for women in the business world, a watch makes a great conversation piece and an ice breaker.  People do notice an unusual or interesting watch regardless of who is wearing it, and if you can get people talking to you, then you can do business.

It will be interesting to see if the remainder of the watch industry will follow this trend.