Suzanne Wong and Lydia Winters discuss watch collecting

WONG I totally hear you about the superhero cape. There was a time when, intellectually, I could appreciate a watch like a Richard Mille, but I didn’t get why some people were so nuts about it. Until I put one on, and thought, yeah, I’m a baller now. And with people being a bit surprised at first because you’re a woman who’s into watches, I think we enjoy that feeling of flipping the script and getting people to think about what it means to be a watch collector.

Do you consider yourself a collector, Suzanne?

WONG I don’t know if I’d call myself a collector. I know collectors who have rooms of watches and they don’t know what they have. I know what I have.

WINTERS Don’t place the barriers. Do you have more than one watch? Then you collect watches.

WONG Everyone has more than one pair of shoes but they’re not a shoe collector. But OK, you know what? I’m going to come out and say I am a watch collector because I actually do put some thought into curating what I have. If you identify as a collector, it implies some sort of intention. It implies you’re making a statement.

WINTERS I felt similar in gaming because at the beginning, I wasn’t playing a lot of games and if someone asked me if I was a gamer, I’d say no, because there was some kind of bar. And who makes the bar? Am I picking these things out and keeping them safe and choosing each day? It’s better to be more open with those words than closed off: “You’re only a collector if you collect rare watches.” All those become barriers for other people to join the community.

Have you been to a watch show yet, Lydia?

WINTERS I really wanted to go to Watches and Wonders this year, but next year for sure. I’ve been to a couple meet-ups. I happened to be in New York when Complecto had a meet-up. Complecto is all about getting more women and people of color into watches. I experienced the best version of a watch meet-up on my very first one because it was a very diverse group.

When I was at that event, no one asked me if I was there with my partner. No one assumed my level of knowledge was low. And everyone was excited about everyone’s watch. Openness drives openness, and diversity increases diversity and representation. The more you keep moving that needle, the more people feel welcome to join. If you’re in the Watch Femme community, you can ask the most basic question and no one’s going to say, “Oh my god, you don’t know what a spring bar is?”