It’s a Question of Proportions
Many have already tried to explain the trend of women wearing larger watches. Some of these arguments are historical, anatomical, horological, philosophical and, of course, some even sexist. Now it’s our turn. However, our attempt is more humorous in nature – a playful approach to the matter at hand. For the attempt to explain the behaviour of women – in a final and absolute sense – is clearly bound to fail.
The Historical Proportion
For a long time, the size of women’s watches were lacking in functionality. While they were indeed timepieces, their dimensions made the dial and indicators so small as to barely be legible. This was a time when women went about “tasteful” forms of work like decorating and taking care of the household. Only the affluent were able to afford watches. However, with the societal changes that took place, especially toward greater equality, came more affordable watches. Whether on the move, in a rush or working under difficult conditions, women needed to read the time at a glance; as a result, they started wearing men’s watches.
The Anatomical Proportion
A smaller sized watch allows the more slender arms of women to appear as slender as they really are. One might come to think that this would be the optimal situation. However, what was optimal back then is no longer optimal today. In this day and age, optimal is just the starting point for what is ideal. Ideal is when the arm appears even more slender. In the process of her self-optimisation, it is not uncommon for women to select a larger watch so that the proportion’s of the arm appears even more slender. And if the watch is worn a little looser and hangs somewhat on the wrist, then one is tempted to ask her out for dinner. ‘The poor thing.’ Of course, there are limits to the ‘large watch effect’. A huge timepiece would be distracting if worn by a very small woman with thinner arms; she would be somewhat displaced by the watch. The heftier arm with the largest of watch also only works to a degree; the proper proportion still needs to be maintained if the right effect is to be achieved. The inverse situation, namely, that too small of a watch makes a slender arm appear thicker and the stouter arm bulky, means that one should go for a somewhat larger watch.
The Horological Proportion
Just as sport shoes were once a sign that one was powerful and mobile, that one operated outside of the box, outside of social norms, watches with additional timing functions are signs that one actively shapes time, that one has things under control and that one has a mechanical and sensual command of time. Yet additional timing functions also require more space on the dial, and therefore, the watches must become larger. If a woman wants to control time, or at least to give the impression of being able to control time, then she needs to go with a larger watch.
The Philosophical Proportion
Freud would certainly have uncovered an erotic dimension to the act of slipping on a wristwatch and then pontificated on it. An erotic dimension similar to the symbolism he uncovered in the act of putting on stockings. For those of you who think this is a little too simplistic, too narrowly conceived or not particularly helpful when addressing the question of women and large watches, you are more than welcome to turn to Kant, you know, Immanuel. Of course, then things start to get a little more complicated.
In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant stated that time is our point of access to the world. As such, it belongs to the subjective-human conditions for the possibility of knowledge of the world and thus is a special form that provides human consciousness with sense impressions. Do large watches provide the proverbial women’s sensuality with an enhanced consciousness for sensual experience? If so, then when it comes to sensuality, men would be way behind the curve. It would mean that women’s sensuality would increase immeasurably –philosophically speaking.
Another interesting philosophical question that philosophers since Antiquity have dealt with is whether time first came into existence with human beings. If answered in the affirmative, then one could pose the bold claim that large watches on women’s arms are an expression for their desire to exert a great deal of influence over time. Again, a shift of proportions – this time of the philosophical proportions in favour of women.
According to Isaac Newton, time is just a vessel in which everything takes place. If you find this notion appealing, then it is understandable that a large vessel, a large watch, offers more space for letting everything happen.
The Sexist Proportion
There are women who possess a great deal of testosterone without anyone being able to tell. They show the world what they are capable of doing. Wearing a large watch means you want to show the world what you’ve got, just like the men who love to show off. Having more watch than necessary is a display of excess. Yes, I can afford things that one doesn’t really need. In the same sense that a Ferrari isn’t an expression of youth and power, but rather a symbol of excess. The large watch, especially with additional timing functions, makes any woman, who wants to appear unpredictable, into a person capable of controlling time and thus life.
Large watches on women’s arms are both a glorification in one instance and concealment in another. They are instruments that women use to orchestrate and perpetuate the myth of their incomprehensibility.
The Proportion of the Proportions
There are proportions that push women to larger watches, others are seduced, and then there are the proportions that make large watches an absolute must for an ever-increasing number of women. Larger watches don’t appear to be just some trend, but rather the final expression of a societal change in which the proportions between men and women have forever shifted toward women.
Until…well, until all of this no longer holds, and the opposite becomes the case. And men will sit there perplexed as to how this all happened and will eventually start searching for explanations. They will search for proportions to help orient themselves and desperately need to find them. However, by the time men think they have things figured out, women will by then probably wear small watches with the same confidence as they did large watches, which they for years considered essential.
(It is almost always men who ask women why they were large watches. And it is also men who usually provide the answer to their own questions. Together we should change this. And yes, in this case, it is a man who ponders such matters – but only to elicit a response from the women. We can’t wait to hear from you!)