Simone Bédat was pioneering in the world of women’s watches as Eve’s Watch finds out…
It seems fitting that Simone Bédat bears a striking resemblance to another pioneering women – Coco Chanel. Whereas Coco Chanel rewrote the rules of fashion, Simone Bédat did something equally groundbreaking – in 1996, way before today’s women’s watch revolution, she set up a watch brand devoted entirely to female timepieces.
“After a lifetime in the Swiss watchmaking industry, watching 50% of the world’s population being ignored, I decided to do something,” said the Genevan entrepreneur after launching her brand. “Bedat & Co [which was founded with her son Christian] was that something; a luxury timepiece brand founded by a woman for women.”
Her first collection that she showed at Baselworld a year later featured diamond-set timepieces with tonneau – or elongated – oval-shaped cases that were perfectly designed to hug a woman’s wrist.
All of Bedat & Co’s collections are numbered and not named
Mme Bédat’s love of the Art Deco period informed every piece as did a love of Coco Chanel herself, which might be why each collection is assigned a number rather than a name, though she didn’t go so far as opting for a collection number five. Although Bedat & Co didn’t stay in Simone’s hands, she has remained an inspiration in terms of governing aesthetic and the brand’s emphasis on female empowerment.
Taking as its starting point the idea that its watches are worn by “women of character”, its timepieces have adorned the wrists of some of the most accomplished women in the world, one of whom, Carly Paoli, is its new ambassador. Paoli is a classically trained singer from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, who Bedat & Co spotted singing at an event in Malaysia.
Bedat & Co’s design code is based on timeless Art Deco philosophy and femininity
It wasn’t only her voice that bowled over the Bedat & Co team, it was Paoli’s determined journey from Disney-musical loving girl to singer on the world stage that chimed with the founding principles of the company and personal philosophy of Simone Bédat and one of the many reason why Paoli is the perfect ambassador for the brand.
“Bedat & Co celebrates women in all different walks of life who are breaking the glass ceiling,” says Paoli, when asked about what partnering with the watch brand means to her. “That’s what I strive to do. I’m in a very competitive world.”
Since working with Bedat & Co, she has been the first artist to perform at the International Women’s Media Foundation; duetted with José Carreras at Windsor Castle for the Prince of Wales as well as performing at St James’s Palace for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for a fundraising event for the Prince’s Trust. She’s sung with Andrea Bocelli and Carreras again in Rome and had her version of Ave Maria chosen as the official song for Pope Francis’s celebrations.
Her new album Singing My Dreams is a blend of the opera she has come to love and the film scores she grew up on. “It’s classical crossover,” she says. “It’s a bridge over two worlds, and people from both sides can hopefully enjoy it.”
Carly Paoli will be performing live at London’s Cadogan Hall on February 15 next year. For tickets head to Cadogan Hall here.
The Bedat & Co logo derived from the two B’s of Bédat & Bédat representing a figure 8, is also the brand’s hallmark to identify the Swiss origin of each component with the A.O.S.C. assurance that all the timepieces are Swiss Made in Switzerland