Talking Watches with Bethenny Frankel

Reacting to the First Female Talking Watches Interview

A Listener Article from LC  (Instagram @watchmakers.daughter)


The Bethenny Frankel episode of Hodinkee’s “Talking Watches” is the first episode of the series that I have ever seen. Having become obsessed with watches through avenues other than the internet, “watch journalism” from the big blogs usually holds little interest for me. I know what I know and I enjoy engaging with other watch enthusiasts on an individual level rather than with the sanitized versions of press releases and reviews promulgated by the blogs that rely on access order to generate clicks. But this episode popped up on my Instagram feed and given that I’m always a fan of hearing female voices talk about watches, I headed on over to listen.

I know who Bethenny Frankel is – I watch too much “Top Chef” to avoid “Real Housewives of New York” entirely. My first thought upon reading through the article was “they couldn’t get Ellen before now?” But I guess Hodinkee doesn’t have that much pull. My second thought was, “I collect like her.” We both appreciate quality, we both want value for our money, we both ended up with the beginnings of collections without even realizing it, and we both don’t know what we want next until we see IT.

As Hollywood is fond of saying these days, “representation matters.” I saw similar perspectives to mine represented in a place that I had more or less written off as irrelevant to my pursuits and interests in horology and watch collecting. Similarly to Bethenny, I realized one day that the various watches my father had gifted me over the years had given me a pretty decent jump start into a collection of vintage ladies tool and sports watches. I rarely am interested in the “next hot watch” that hits the blogs by storm, but cast a casually wide net until I see the next watch (or style of watch) that I MUST HAVE.

Having another female watch collector that I could relate to philosophically, if not budgetarily, was very gratifying. I will probably pay a bit more attention to Hodinkee now and at least peek at Bethenny’s Instagram to see if there’s any inspiration fodder for me. All in all, it was a very enjoyable ten minutes spent listening to these two women discuss how different watches draw them in and Bethenny expresses herself through her watch choices.

And then I broke a cardinal rule of the internet: I read the comments.

It was about as bad as I feared, but not the worst I’d ever seen. The number of comments minimizing Bethenny’s opinions because of how she made her money, how she acquired some of her watches, or how she chose the watches she bought was staggering. It’s pretty rare that I see that density of misogyny on an article not discussing female reproductive health or career trajectories in STEM.

Seriously, what is the practical difference between receiving a watch from a parent or from a lover? Both are gifts given with thought, affection, and sentiment behind them. Why should one be venerated and the other denigrated? To value one over the other is to pass an ugly judgment on someone else’s relationship in a way that lowers the tone of conversation coming out of the watch community as a whole.

Why should it matter whether you’re buying because you value the style first or the movement? A watch is more than just the machine that makes the hands move or the history of the shop that put everything together. If you don’t like the whole package, you’re not going to enjoy wearing it. If gemstones are what make you happy to wear a watch instead of a silicone band or NATO, have at it. At least you’re talking about them and adding to the conversation.

In short, this experience has shown me that the watch world desperately needs more different types of voices out there discussing their passion and their collections. There needs to be the certainty that there is no one right way to enjoy watches and discussing watches. And finally, there needs to be an intolerance for people who denigrate others for not approaching watches or watch collecting in the same way as them. So I’m taking this experience as a reminder that I should always buy/acquire what I love first and gracefully ignore the ill-mannered criticism that may come my way.

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3 thoughts on “Talking Watches with Bethenny Frankel

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  1. This take and more like it is what’s needed. It’s just as bad as the hate, if not worse, from countries from Asia.

  2. When I watched the Bethenny episode I was cringing to think of the comments that would be coming through. Having her talk about her experience is a good start – would love to hear from other female collectors to round out the discussion. Quite a few of the male collectors admit to a love of the look of the dial and the case design first. Part of the reaction, I believe, is due to the RHONY and Skinny Girl cocktails background that she’s coming in with. I hope they include Ellen, or Michelle Yeoh (longtime RM rep), or others to help round out the conversations.

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