Earlier this month, Brynn Wallner, 31, was engaging in a common millennial pastime: rewatching “The Parent Trap.” It’s something that she, like many others her age, has done dozens of times. But suddenly, she saw Meredith Blake (the very chic, 26-year-old villain) through a new lens. Blake was wearing a Cartier Panthere, the very watch Wallner dubbed “the ‘it’ girl watch,” on her popular Instagram account, @Dimepiece.co (launched in summer of 2020), and its accompanying website (launched in March 2021), as well as in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar.
Wallner started Dimepiece almost by accident. Prior, she’d never paid attention to watches. But while working at Sotheby’s in editorial, her job was to “create content… [that was] less about the Picasso that was on sale, and more about a young and upcoming artist in downtown New York,” she told Glossy. The watch department asked if she could help with some content and, though Wallner told the team she knew nothing about watches, that quickly changed. “I was just immediately drawn in. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I love watches.’ I had no idea — this was my new favorite thing.” But she had one question: Where were all the women?
Watches and watch culture tend to be male-dominated. “[There was] Jackie Kennedy wearing the Cartier tank, there was Princess Diana. And there are some more public female collectors like Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Aniston,” Wallner said. “But it really stopped short at those big [names], and I was like, ‘There’s got to be more here.’ I just felt like [women were] so underrepresented.” And thus, the idea for Dimepiece, a community dedicated to all things “women and watches” was born.
Most watch marketing is geared toward men. In fact, even the marketing focused on women’s styles is directed at men who may potentially buy a watch for a woman in their life. The styles for “ladies’ watches” also tended to look much like men’s, but “smaller and [with] more diamonds,” Wallner said. But dainty isn’t necessarily what’s on-trend right now, Wallner said — though she’s personally a fan of smaller watches. “[Watch brands] haven’t really caught up to the fact that women these days, especially millennial women, are wearing Air Force 1s. And when they’re buying a T-shirt, they’re not getting the women’s cut, they’re wearing it oversized. On TikTok, they’re wearing huge hoodies.”
Of course, aside from wrist size, there isn’t any reason watches need to be gendered at all — like many styles. “[Some women] want to wear a 40 mm Rolex Daytona,” said Wallner. “[This] has been a big topic in the watch industry and is championing making watches genderless. So instead of labeling them…just remove that label, because you’re shutting the door to a woman consumer who might want that bigger watch.” This has been a slow process, in part, “because the watch industry is very focused on heritage,” she said.
Wallner said her timing seems to have hit a nerve. Though watch marketing might be dated, interest in watches among women is there — it just didn’t have a space of its own. When Wallner decided to make her own first big watch purchase, she found herself wishing there was an “Into The Gloss” for women’s watches, which men had via editorial platform Hodinkee.
Typically, watch media tends to be “guys with their cufflinks and their Rolexes,” she said, noting that the content just doesn’t appeal to women. “But when I started Dimepiece, all of a sudden, you’re seeing Rihanna. It’s a paparazzi pic of her leaving the grocery store in L.A., and she’s wearing her amazing outfit. She looks fucking fabulous. And she’s wearing a Cartier Santos — and it’s vintage, by the way,” said Wallner.
Incidentally, it was after Hodinkee advisor and former editor Cara Barrett, who has about 34,000 followers, reposted a Dimepiece Instagram post on Hodinkee that Wallner saw her followers shoot up — Dimepiece had about 500 followers, and it quickly gained about 2,000. Dimepiece now has close to 10,000 followers, with notable followers from the fashion industry and beyond, including Adam Mosseri (head of Instagram), editor-in-chief of NYLON Magazine @alyssavingan, jewelry designer Carolina Bucci, and influencer and consultant and former Harper’s Bazaar editor @chrissyford.
Like with so many areas of life, after an ‘unprecedented’ year, Wallner attributes some of the popularity to a deep-seated desire for nostalgia, especially among millennials. “[There is] a generational burnout leading people to want to be more analog — it’s why we’re seeing more film photography and all these ’90s nostalgia accounts,” she said. “People are trying to reduce their screen time in favor of a more classic way of life — you know, good, old-fashioned hands on a watch face.”