Rolex Investment Slays Sexism, Wins Biz


Tracy Call not showing her Rolex investment

“When I started my business in 2010, I soon noticed an interesting pattern: It was easy to get a first meeting with a potential client, but it was nearly impossible to get a second one,” Tracy Call writes at “Was it because I was young and inexperienced? No. I was in my early 30s. I had bought and sold media for a decade. And I had a roster of big national clients. Yet men in these new-business meetings didn’t give me their full attention or respect. Why?” Sexism! The answer: Rolex investment! Here’s how that went down . . .

Media Bridge advertising
Media Bridge advertising (click on image for link)

For my next pitch meeting, I framed the watch with a three-quarter-sleeved jacket. And as soon as I entered the conference room, I saw it: The men looked at my watch, looked at me and their body language changed.

It was like no other meeting I’d ever experienced. No one looked at their phone. People hung on my every word. I got the second meeting, and I got the business.

Media Bridge is nearly 50 times bigger today, and this pattern repeats itself all the time.

Before a new-business meeting, my director of business development will text: “Don’t forget the Rolly!” The men in the meeting will glance at my wrist, then lean forward to hear me better or backward in that “you’re in” kind of way.

The title of Ms. Call’s article – I Wear A Rolex To Win Business, And I Refuse To Apologize For It – indicates a proactively confrontational attitude. The Founder and CEO of Media Bridge Advertising is daring readers to condemn her Rolex investment, her horological solution to the sexist “old boy treatment” she received prior to (since?) the #metoo movement. Which no man in his right mind would do, obviously.

Ms. Call has an answer to her assumed critics: she only wears her Rolex to get male attention/respect for her first meeting. “After that initial meeting, I never have to wear the watch again. It’s a passport that gets me over an invisible hurdle and allows me to be judged on performance.”

Rolex Submariner 2020 date with a green bezel

Notice Ms. Call says she never “has to” wear her Rolex (“a men’s version, because I felt the women’s models were too dainty”) to subsequent meetings. Not that she doesn’t wear her Rolex. There’s more hemming and hawing about the political correctness of her Rolex investment: “if we’re honest, we all judge people based on their hair, teeth and tats.”

Honestly? I thought that last one was going in a different direction. Anyway, you’d be forgiven for thinking Ms. Call wrote this “My Rolex saved my business!” article to jump to the front of the queue for a new Submariner. If so, once again, Ms Call is way ahead of you.

Rolex Datejust Configurator

I’m not telling you to go out and buy a Rolex and all your problems will be solved. It’s really about finding the intersection between what holds symbolic value for your audience and what’s authentic to you. In my case, the men in a male-dominated industry see expensive watches as a seal of approval, and I like watches. Perfect.

Authenticity! Yes! That said, Ms. Call clearly believes a bit a fake authenticity goes a long way . . .

Now that some of my women employees are taking new-business meetings themselves, I loan my Rolex out to them. Why? Because the more women do this, the more likely they’ll end up sitting on the other sides of all those tables.

1932 Oyster ad

Bottom line: the ends justify the means. If a woman has to pander to men to get them not to pander to women, pander away! Which raises that second meeting question again: when should a woman stop wearing a Rolex to overcome sexism? As Ms. Call admits, “It’s complicated.” One thing’s simple enough: a Rolex investment remains a symbol of success.

On a woman exec’s wrist? For some of us, gulp, men, it’s a potential red flag: a symbol of insecurity (i.e., trying too hard to project success). Alternatively, it’s an ironic FU to the manly watch thing. Or a simple reflection of the exec’s taste. In fact, some of us judge a Rolex wearer by the content of their character, not by their gender or their choice of timepiece. Or on the timepiece, not the gender of the person wearing it. Something like that.


  1. $20 says this story is BS. Most of these “woke” articles are fabricated. I have never seen a man take a woman seriously over a watch, that’s just not how men are.

  2. I originally thought that there was no non-sexist way to respond to this, and was going to defer to our female reader(s). But then I read the full article.
    First of all, whatever watch she had previously, this woman that always loved watches, was worth chasing thieves on foot for a mile, so surely it was a reasonably pricey watch in the before scenario.
    “When I started my business…I would buy a Rolex when I hit my first million in revenue. A year later, it was time.”
    We’re comparing apples and oranges here, aren’t we? A new company, no matter how great the founder’s past is, is still a new company. Surviving and thriving the first year puts you in a position to be taken more seriously, regardless of whether there was some placebo effect with this watch.
    Most tales like this do seem to tailor the account to the intended message and are unverifiable or depend on interpretation.

  3. If Tracy Call wants to wear a fancy rolex then so be it. Good for her, those things aren’t cheap. The problem comes in in her advice. Women are tired of being told to adjust their appearances to achieve success. This article highlights the constant sexism and objectification women face in the work place. Although rolex may want to take credit for solving sexism, it seems more accurate to say that its perpetuating it.

  4. So…. she engaged in “mirroring.” It HAPPENED to involve using a watch.

    Mirroring is defined as: Mirroring is the behavior in which one person unconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individuals’ notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others.

    I would add that it can be CONSCIOUS application of the behavior. One might even argue that what she did was a form of neurolinguistic programming.

    She could have done the same thing by talking about sports in a knowledgeable way. Or cars, for example.

    So, she recognized that her potential clients who were mostly male (apparently) respond favorably to superficial shit. Well… NO SHIT!

    A well-known lecturer on the sales and marketing circuit used to say, “Find out what is their Magnificent Obsession, and then get them to talk about it.” It’s about being likeable. If you’re interested in what they’re interested in, they can’t help but like you.

    She just happened to use the Rolex, front and center, to let them know she was interested in things which interested them. It’s How to Win Friends and Influence People 101!

    The EXACT same thing would have happened if she was a man… wearing a Timex and a polo shirt vs a tailored suit and a Rolex. It’s less to do with sexism and more to do with “dress for success” or engaging them about their Magnificent Obsession, whether it be football, golf, their grandchildren, travel, gardening, etc.

    Men do the same thing to gain the approval of other men. Why do you think they play golf??? 🙂

Leave a Reply