by Dana Li
When I began Tell the Time, I followed Watch Femme closely not only because of the amazing community, but also because it was addressing a large gap in the watch world and giving women a platform to voice their perspectives. Since early 2021, the organization has been a champion for supporting women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and changing the dialogue on watches for women. I recently had the opportunity to connect with Laetitia Hirschy, Nathalie Veysset, and Suzanne Wong, the three lovely founders, to discuss the Watch Femme’s mission and their recent event at Horology Forum NYC.
Get to Know Watch Femme's Founders
While all three ladies of Watch Femme are united in their passion for watches and creating a space for women in the community, each of them found their way into the industry in different ways.
Laetitia Hirschy was born in Geneva, where watches are deeply embedded into the culture of the city. Following an internship at Cartier in NYC, she began her career within the luxury industry. Having grown up around watch culture in Switzerland, she continues to appreciate the timeless nature of watches, along with the Swiss heritage and craftsmanship behind them.
Also from Switzerland, Nathalie Veysset comes from a family of watchmakers from her father to her grandparents. She started her career as an international tax lawyer in Geneva and soon met Jérôme de Witt. In early 2008, he approached her with a new role in the company, where she eventually became the CEO of the DeWitt brand.
Before becoming a watch journalist, Suzanne Wong did not have any direct connections to the watch industry. Growing up in Singapore, one of the most important luxury consumer markets in the world, she learned about watches from her father. Early in her career, she began covering watches while working for a luxury magazine when the former watch writer left the company. Her passion for the community and collecting prompted her to move to Switzerland as a full-time watch journalist.
Starting Watch Femme
Laetitia, Suzanne, and Nathalie began hosting Watch Femme discussions on Clubhouse in early 2021, where everyone from CEOs to editors to consumers were actively participating in those conversations. “Because these discussions weren’t recorded, people were able to speak freely with no judgment, making it the perfect platform for us to start Watch Femme.” -Suzanne Wong
After the initial success of their Clubhouse events, Watch Femme began to expand. In August 2021, they teamed up with Zoe Abelson (@watchgirloffduty) and WatchBox for their first in-person event, which had an impressive turnout of over 50 women. Since then, Watch Femme continues to host events that welcome and celebrate women collectors and industry professionals across the world, whether they're a seasoned or a newer watch enthusiast.
Watch Femme’s Mission
Advancing the position of women in the watch world is at the core of Watch Femme’s mission and drives all their initiatives. With the momentum from Clubhouse discussions and events, the organization needed an official entity to support its growth. In September 2021, Watch Femme was formally registered in Switzerland as a non-profit association, allowing its members to have a tangible impact on the organization - an intentional decision made by the founders.
Watch “Speed Dating” at Horology Forum
During their latest event at Horology Forum NYC, Watch Femme hosted an intimate watch “speed dating” event with a handful of women collectors and introduced them to some of the fine watchmaking brands behind iconic pieces such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carolina Bucci and the De Bethune Starry Sky. Each group had 10 minutes to interact with and learn about a small selection of timepieces and then assessed the watches similarly to how they would assess a potential date. This fun, interactive event encouraged women to think about watches as "life companions" that could be integrated into their everyday lives. It also allowed the women to explore their style and develop their personal tastes in timepieces.
What’s Next for Watch Femme
While Watch Femme will continue to create opportunities for women in the watch community to meet, Laetitia, Nathalie, and Suzanne hope to expand the group’s reach and affect change within the industry itself. Their goals include providing training and mentoring programs for women who are in or looking to get into the watch industry, advocating for more inclusivity in everyday business operations, and representing what women collectors truly are looking for in their watches. Personally, I’m incredibly excited to see Watch Femme continue to grow and can’t wait to follow them in their journey.