The only female Swiss Watch Maker explains how she captures the spirit of the women who wear her designer watches
‘The year of women’ ended with high hopes for humanity. With Hispanic women being paid only 54% and black women 63% of what men receive for the same work, the question still stands:
Who is going to change the world in 2019?
‘We are not responsible for what happens in our lives but what we do with it’- Giselle Rufer
Facing a non-emotional data driven reality, more people decide to invest in themselves and learn to monetise their big ideas. The old paradigm ‘time is money’ is no longer representing the quintessential definition of prosperity. Time is life, instead. More women find their way into a new economy that is shaping the future of society: The Talent Economy.
With the average person spending four hours a day facing a smartphone outside working hours, and the internet wildly available to walk one step further into serendipity with every search, is it possible that we will make progress without being overwhelmed by it?
As confused as most of us are about what is happening next, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world is going to be changed by those who suffered the most.
Is the talent economy going to help us close the achievement gap?
We reached out to Giselle Rufer, Creator of the DELANCE Swiss Watches, who made her life mission to encourage women and tell them how marvellous they are, empower them to be all they can be.
Mother of two, Ivan (49) and Rachel (47), Grandmother of Zoé, Mael, Loïc (18, 16 and 9), Giselle is an exceptionally talented entrepreneur who leaves in Macolin, Switzerland, near Biel, a renowned watchmaking city, home to Rolex, Omega, Swatch Group and many other world renowned companies. Her life story was captured by an American writer in ‘BUTTERFLY IN A STORM- Lady to watch’. Here is what she told us…
‘Sometimes it takes external forces to activate the latent entrepreneurial spirit; for many women, this moment of inertia occurs when they reach the glass ceiling in their jobs. In my case, the desire to create a special watch for women is the inertia that pushed me forward. This desire became a mission.’
Giselle advocates for women’s commitment for a better world. ‘Women’s intelligence and skills are very important on all levels. It is very important to take a step further. If you have a dream, make it come true. Put all your energy to achieve it. If you are not happy in your job, change it. You will find the perfect one just for you. It will perhaps take a few years but follow your star.’
Giselle shows women how to stand up for what they think is right and good, to go back on, after life knocks them down, to search for unique solutions, to develop and deliver their vision, work with other women, make a significant difference in the world.
‘Many times in my life I had to change my plans, as life was not going in the direction I would have like it to go. Depending of the circumstances it can be easy to change or very difficult. However, sometimes it happens that the small changes can have a big impact’
The only woman in the Swiss watch industry with the ability to make designer watches, Giselle decided to create a special watch, made by women that capture the spirit of women. Because the timepiece she created is connected with who she is as a woman, she had to gather the courage to create her company rather than selling up her design to a male competitor.
Her first step was to create an international business network, to reach out and make meaningful connections with women around the world. She travelled extensively to find out how women define “time.” Interestingly, not one woman said that ‘time is money’. The most frequent answer was ’time is life!’
Women told Giselle that as they give their time to raise a family, or to build a business, they organise and manage life. Women are always the givers, the managers of life and for them, time is life, not money !
‘Women do not measure the value of time in dollars and cents; this is not the value women give to their time and life. When I asked women what is important in their lives and how they spend their time and what business women want, their unanimous answer was that they are striving for harmony. Women want to be in a harmonious state with everything in their lives.’ A lot of women also said that they wanted something more than just everyday life, something spiritual.
‘In addition to capturing the strength and eternity of women, I also wanted the DELANCE watch to capture the sentiments of life, harmony, and spirituality. This is why I have chosen the diamond shape, because it symbolizes life and harmony.’
Giselle’s next step was to learn if women would invest in a high-quality watch that did not have a famous label. Many women said they would buy the kind of special watch made for her with two condition: if they loved the watch or if there was a special reason to buy the watch. Giselle’s challenge was to satisfy this niche of the market by making a watch that was very beautiful and recognizable at first sight and which was designed to make each woman feel that the watch was made just for her.
When you follow your desire, you find the way
Once she clarified and refined her design concept and the ideal target market, her next step was to identify all of the pros and cons of embarking upon this global venture.
At the time, Giselle was well known for successfully launching Flik-Flak, the watch for children for the Swatch group. Knowing her worth as an engineer, an artist, a good communicator and a good saleswoman, helped Giselle face the challenges in front of her:
‘I am a woman. I am over 50. I have no money. In Switzerland, men between the ages of 35-40 are responsible for most new business start-ups. It is quite unusual for a woman of my age, 48 years old at the time, to venture out to start a business on her own.’
She decides to turn this challenge into an opportunity, cross an internal psychological boundary and refrain from feeling that her femininity and her age was a disadvantage, but an unfair advantage.
‘For the femininity I would do something with the spirit of a women that no men could have done
For the age, bringing with it maturity, experience, and my well-established name in the watch industry I would do a masterpiece, a resume of my life.
For the lack of money I have to consider me as my capital, I have to be creative, use synergy and opportunity.
I have connections, so my strategy is to go as far as I can without having to obtain formal financing. I engage a network of friends, family, and business partners to invest in my venture. So in Mai 1996 I created DELANCE inc.’
Since, Giselle partner with exceptional female entrepreneurs, from all over the world who are in a position to both invest and launch DELANCE in their respective countries. ‘The Delance watch is a silent mentor, an anchorage which remind you at every moment to be true to yourself. The Delance watch is also a sign of recognition for women who want to participate in all field of life.’
Fighting against big brands is impossible, so she decided to use her unique talent to create the buzz, to put the word out, make women aware of their silent powers.
Distinctive, always the same, yet different for each woman, this magical timepiece discreetly reflects the personal story of the woman who wears it.
‘I combined universal symbols to create a very unique watch meaning Life Harmony Spirituality.
At the center, the diamond shape is a universal symbol of life and prosperity. At the Zenith, 12 o’clock, is the spiral, symbolic of water, moon and femininity. The stone at the Nadir, 6 o’clock, represents the south, the sun, and radiates the masculine energy. Finally, the infinity knot links the feminine and the masculine for all eternity.’
Giselle named the watch after her father and the true meaning of Delance watch, is a universal symbol. While the basic form never changes, the watch becomes unique for each woman with a unique personalization.
‘Empowering another woman is a reciprocal gift. I have a social goal as well as a business goal in terms of what I want to accomplish with my company. Just as I want the DELANCE to express the excellence in women, I also want to engage all women in the production and execution of my watch business. The women who work with me share my dreams and we work harmoniously together. My dream is to find DELANCE Ambassadors around the world and let them make work of mouth publicity.’
Giselle’s role is to lead talented women into prosperity, generously sharing the spirit of the company. A woman on a mission, Giselle travels all over the world to bring us the good news: now is the time to watch and learn from women the true meaning of life.
‘Together we are stronger, more creative and better in all dimensions. I believe that it is important for women to support each other. Delance is made by women for women. I am certain that the success of one woman is the success of all women. It is now time for all of us as women to be all what we can be, to help each other, to reach for the sky so we may all become stars and shine bright.’
Do you know a woman who is leading an extraordinary life? We want to publish her story!
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