03/06/2024
 4 minutes

The Female Watch Buyer: A Deep Dive into the Secondary Market Trends and Brand Dynamics

By Chrono24
Female Watch Buyers’ Favorite Brands

Female Watch Buyers’ Favorite Brands

By Jessica J.J. Owens

It’s undeniable that the watch market has grown exponentially in recent years, what that rise in interest can be directly attributed to is a mix of factors but what surprises some is that that growth is not just due to an increase in demand from men. According to Forbes, women are responsible for over $30 trillion in worldwide spending and influence 85% of all consumer spending and despite what people may think, the female buyer is imperative to continuing the growth of the watch market.

Though watches are customarily marketed to men, smaller to mid-size models are the top selling at many key brands such as Rolex and Cartier. Women have worn watches just as long as men, but they (traditionally) have many other accessories to wear and spend money on; handbags, shoes, jewelry, the list is endless, thus making the purchasing decision far more complex. To most women watches are one of many accessories, whereas to men it’s frequently the only accessory. That factor alone is a double-edged sword as though women have many other options as to what to purchase in the jewelry sector, the mindset that a watch is an accessory is not all bad when considering the velocity at which women purchase accessories.

From Chanel to Rolex: Women’s Watch Preferences

In exploring the purchasing patterns of women in the secondary watch market, Chrono24 aimed to identify which brands are more popular among female buyers relative to male buyers, and to no surprise women dominated the market share when it came to Chanel, earning the French fashion house the number one spot on the list. It makes perfect sense when you consider several factors, the most profound being familiarity. Yes, of course, women are familiar with Cartier and Rolex but not at the level they are with Chanel. The brand has an empire consisting of clothing, handbags, shoes, makeup, and fragrance, making it rather safe to assume if you are interested in purchasing a Chanel timepiece secondhand, you are already familiar with the brand and maybe have even purchased Chanel on the secondary market. With offerings such as the beloved J12, Première, and Boyfriend, Chanel’s watches are an extension of not just a brand but a lifestyle that most classic watch brands can’t offer.

Chanel makes the first place when it comes to watch brands bought by women.
Chanel makes the first place when it comes to watch brands bought by women.

Chopard, Bulgari, Piaget, and Rolex also earned top spots in the findings, which is rather obvious as all but one of those brands sell far more than just watches. Except for the unparalleled brand equity, Rolex has not just in watches but the luxury market in general, the importance of additional offerings is key to growing equity. Chopard, Bulgari, and Piaget not only offer jewelry and leather goods but when considering those three it’s incredibly important to note, that their watches are designed for women with other accessories in mind. Chopard’s Happy Diamonds line is not just a watch model but an entire jewelry line much like Bulgari’s Serpenti. There’s a phenomenal appeal to being able to complement a watch with another piece from the brand. That concept can be applied to Chanel as well: to the female watch buyer it’s not about the mechanics or the watch alone, it’s about the brand’s total offering thus increasing their overall equity.

Rolex also earns a top spot in the findings.
Rolex also earns a top spot in the findings.

When examining where women start to lose dominance in market share, I was disappointed to see Audemars Piguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre because both of those watchmakers have made substantial efforts to appeal to women through not only design but also ambassadors and from a corporate perspective, female CEOs. One can only surmise this loss of dominance is due to the aforementioned in that Audemars Piguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre are solely watch brands. The popularity of the Royal Oak and the Reverso has sky-rocketed amongst women in the past few years, but is the popularity of one model enough? Both have no other offerings and despite how great the brand is from every angle, very few would look toward AP or Jaeger for their first timepiece…odds are they went to Rolex or Bulgari to purchase their first piece because of that familiarity or additional offering thus making that female dominance of market share almost impossible even with all of the genuine attempts to do so both in the primary market.

Surprised that Jaeger-LeCoultre is not part of the top seller brands?
Surprised that Jaeger-LeCoultre is not part of the top seller brands?

Being realistic and continuing through the rankings, Panerai, Tudor, Seiko, and Zenith have a much stronger male-to-female ratio in purchases. Despite those brands experimenting with colors and gems from time to time, they don’t make any vast attempts to appeal to women via marketing, ambassadors, or on a corporate level. Being realistic, it doesn’t make much sense when all four of those brands have substantial loyalty from their obvious target market, but it begs the question…can traditionally male-dominated brands ever genuinely appeal to women without additional offerings and is there even a motivation to do so?

With both the watch market and the purchasing power of women only expected to continue to grow in the upcoming years, it’s interesting to examine the nuances of the secondary market and what genuinely makes a brand appeal to the female buyer. With the undeniable correlation between the additional offerings at brands such as Chanel and Bulgari and the purchasing decision, it’s apparent that the unique value of the female buyer extends far beyond a watch but into the endless value of a brand’s entire ecosystem.


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About the Author

Chrono24

The team behind the Chrono24 Magazine consists of Chrono24 employees, freelance authors, and guest authors. They're all united by a passion for anything and everything…

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