Why men buy more watches than women…

I didn’t normally pay attention to March 8, a date that is designated annually as International Women’s Day, or IWD for short.  With the exception of dutifully honouring our parents on THEIR special days, why should EVERYDAY not be EVERYONE’s day, I’d always thought.

My thoughts changed with the recent arrival of a press communiqué from NOMOS Glashütte. Accompanying a photo of their Tangente Update, a “gender-neutral’ watch with an elegantly displayed peripheral date, they wrote that March 7, not to be confused with March 8, is a date their watch would prefer to not have to display.  As I continued to read, I understood the importance of March 7 for NOMOS.  In Germany, March 7 is Equal Pay Day, or EPD for short.

To fully appreciate what follows, I specify that that this stainless steel NOMOS automatic wristwatch with a clean white dial, blued hands, peripheral date and small seconds at 6 o’clock carries a price tag of 3,400 Euros for the 41mm model.  Please keep this price in mind.

First, International Women’s Day.  Inspired by 15,000 women who staged a walkout and marched through the streets in New York City in 1908 demanding better pay, shorter working hours, and the right to vote, a certain Clara Zetkin from Germany, during the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910, pushed for an annual celebration of Women’s Day.  The idea was met with approval and inaugurated in 1911, with the date of March 8 being definitively adopted in 1914.

That first IWD in 1911 was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, and made official in 1975 by the United Nations.  Women’s suffrage was a major consideration at the time, and while some women gained the right to vote even prior to 1911, the path was long : from the Isle of Man in 1881, New Zealand in 1893, Australia in 1902, Finland in 1906, Denmark 1908, Sweden in 1919, individual States and Provinces in the USA and Canada with partial rights between 1910 and 1916 respectively, to the Netherlands in 1917.  In Romania, women obtained the right in 1939, while in France, they waited until 1945.  Surprisingly, in Switzerland, women obtained federal level voting rights only in 1971 (they previously held regional rights); less surprisingly, in Saudi Arabia it was 2015.

IWD today promotes a “gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination”, and celebrates the advances that women have made in all domains, with the Gender Equality Index measuring gaps on economic, political, education and health-based criteria. Pay transparency is part of this, which brings us back to Equal Pay Day.

Equal Pay Day takes place in 23 European countries, first launched by the European Commission in 2011, and now also includes the USA, Australia and New Zealand.  It marks the day up to which women statistically work without pay, with the actual date varying from country to country, depending upon the country’s pay statistics. In Germany, explains NOMOS, that date is March 7.

On average, women are paid globally 20% less than men. (International Labour Organisation, United Nations)   In Germany, the gender pay gap is 18%. If we take 365 days multiplied by the current statistical pay difference as a percentage, the result is 66. That means that for the first 66 days of the year, women in Germany work without pay compared to their male counterparts. Counting from January 1st, this takes us to March 7 as the first day of the year from which women will be paid, in comparison to men who will be paid for the full 365 days.

But days calculated as work without pay is one thing.  In terms of actual salary, the annual average salary in 2021 in EU was 33,500 Euros (Source Eurostat on ranging from 12,600 Euros in Hungary to Denmark with 63,260 Euros just behind the highest, Luxembourg. If we take even the average salary of 33,500 Euros as men’s pay (which would in fact logically be higher) and deduct 20%, that means that women receive annually 6,700 Euros less, or enough to buy 1 beautiful NOMOS Metro Rosegold 33mm, 2 x NOMOS Tangente neomatik 41mm Update, or 4 x NOMOS Tangente 33mm in stainless steel.

While the gender gap in this domain is narrowing, it is still unbelievable that in 2023 it even exists at all, moreover, that it ever existed in the first place!

And in case you’re wondering, there IS an International Men’s Day too, on Nov 19, although unrecognized by the UN.

All NOMOS  watches are powered by in-house movements, manual or automatic, with most equipped with the new neomatik calibers DU 3001 and DUW 6101, all elegantly slender like the watches they run.

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