Parchie Watch Genderfluid Agenda

Parchie watch geometric backdrop

Cara Barrett’s latest Hodinkee screed (All Watches Should Be Unisex – And Here’s Why) calls for horological androgyny. “Gender-free timepieces would make women feel more included in what has typically been a dude-driven industry and hobby.” Down in the comments section, SIMP’s cooed “you go girl!” Less simpathetic readers told her to STFU and GTFO with all that gender-erasing Commie talk. Ms. Barrett promptly shut the f up and got the f out – and returned to hype her new Parchie kid’s watch . . .

Cara Barrett 2

True story. Ms. Barrett has created her own line of children’s watches. She sees an unserved market that I don’t: herself. Would you believe her pre-adolescent self?

Parchie watch gummi bears

Ms. Barrett claims Parchie is the name of her imaginary friend from when she was three years old. I can’t remember being three years old; I find this story too cute by half.

Parchie!

Parchie is some kind of anthropomorphized seal of approval. Its coronavirus-shaped head-for-a-body has suction cup hands. He/she/it they/them wears a watch on its right wrist. This genderless mascot also possesses a Rachel Dolezal-like ability to change colors. The feet oppose each other, so it can’t even walk like an Egyptian.

Beyond gender stereotyped design and marketing, what is Ms. Barrett’s gripe against the current crop of kid’s watches? They’re plastic! Parchie is made of metal!

I take umbrage with this “selling point.” Plastic is a huge field with many watch-worthy variations. While there are soft, brittle, degrading plastics, there are also tough, durable formulations. How about we call these literally time-tested plastics “engineered polymers”? Or take a page from MontBlanc’s pen marketing division and label them “precious resins.”

Ms. Barrett believes metal is oh-so-necessary – even if it’s aluminum (that may well be inferior to a good plastic case in terms of durability). You have to trust that the Parchie watch case is metal, because it’s colored. Anodized, coated with PVD or painted? Unspecified. I know! Let’s pretend it’s recycled!

Metal vs. plastic is a contrived distinction. There are plenty of great children’s plastic-cased watches from Casio, Timex, Flik Flak, etc. It’s the practical and economical choice. Sure, but how do you make your kids’ watch stand out from the crowd? Pigeonhole the competition. Ta-da, best in class!

The 32mm Parchie watch has a colorful, metal case, a useless fixed bezel and a child-sized “hook & loop” band (what normal people call velcro, despite the trademark holder wishing you wouldn’t). Presumably little hands can work buckles, but they’re the weak link that breaks first. The buckles that is.

Ms. Barrett’s website calls the Parchie watch band a NATO. A two-piece Velcro – I mean hook & loop band – is in no way a NATO strap. A NATO has a buckle, three loops and one piece strap of excess length (the underbelly portion). I may be petty to call her out on that, but there’s more . . .

Parchie watch swimming

The Parchie is water resistant to 30m. That’s the lowest possible rating: “splash-proof.” It’s common knowledge among the watch crowd that 30m water resistance is roughly equal to no water resistance whatsoever. Somehow, the Parchie website didn’t get the memo:

Can I swim with Parchie?

Yes! All Parchie watches are water resistant up to 30 meters (100 feet). This means you can swim, bathe, shower, and wash your hands, no problem! Just don’t go scuba diving 🙂

The Southern Methodist University Art History major and ex-Sotheby’s associate cataloger has been at Hodinkee for years. I don’t think this is a mistake. It’s blatant dishonesty: misrepresenting a $50 quartz watch that can’t compete on anything other than marketing.

For comparison, the Timex Kids My First Outdoors Watch has everything the Parchie has except for color blocking for clashy children’s tastes. It’s available on Amazon for $18.49 (no commission on any links).

The Timex For Tots is made of “alloy” – which probably means pot metal, diecast zinc or something at least slightly more durable than aluminum. Timex is honest about their gateway watch’s water resistance. It “withstands splashes or brief immersion in water, but not suitable for swimming or bathing.”

Casio LRW-200H-1B

Ditch the metal case and Casio’s $35 LRW-200H gives young ‘uns a date function and real deal 100m water resistance. Or dress up a bit with a smaller 31mm version of the Timex Weekender. Indiglo’s push-button illumination is enticing (even to Gen Z) and the love of lume rarely gets outgrown.

Never mind. The Parchie watch – “perfect for every wrist” – has over four thousand Instagram followers. I imagine they’re mainly Hodinkee lackeys. A demographic that’s about to get larger. “For now you can buy [Ms. Barrett’s watch] on parchiepal.com — and soon you’ll see them in the HODINKEE Shop.” Of course.

Children don’t buy children’s watches. (There’s an old gag about what’s sold in a gift shop: things you wouldn’t buy for yourself.) Ms. Barrett is attempting to carve out a niche in a crowded market by marketing a mislabeled watch to virtue-signaling Hodinkee fanboys. Not girls. Boys.

There’s gender and there’s agenda. Deep diving the splash-proof Parchie, it’s easy to see that fighting gender stereotypes isn’t Ms. Barrett’s primary goal. It’s milking Hodinkee’s sheeple with an inferior product, regardless of how they identify.

19 comments

  1. Looks like someone’s had too much Ivermectin! This is a toy watch for rich yuppies to let their Au Pair strap on their kids. Get over yourself.

    1. Oh not just their own children. As an analogue wrist advocate myself, I suspect they’ll be trying to Jphhny Appleseed these onto any child they can.

    1. I hope you meant Mr. Men, as MR. Man seems to be something about male nudity. There is a strong, if generic, resemblance.

  2. Wondering why it wouldn’t be better to buy a small child a proper Casio on a nato strap that can be adjusted over the years.

    1. The unique selling point is lost on me too. Surely no watch enthusiast is daunted by obtaining or swapping out a strap for a child’s watch?

  3. Former occasional Hodinkee reader here. I rather liked Cara’s editos – save for BF’s interview – but there is something that ughs me with this “product”.

    Can we point the elephant please? The design of these watches misses any originality whatsoever. I do not even find them “interesting” to look at. Why would I impose this to my or a friend’s kids? Not mentionning the lack of material quality pointed out by the article.

    This is suprising, because CB knows what beautiful watch craftmanship looks like in real life – at least when it comes to the pieces she is wearing. I’m afraid the gift shop gag applies.

    1. Yeah, Barrett’s article didn’t read like a radical call to arms. I’m sure there are women out there who are feminine and would rather wear a stainless steel Rolex in a smaller sizes (34mm, 36 mm, 38mm) than some bedazzled Gucci or Cartier.

      That watch though…and that brand name…and that mascot…

      When I hear the brand name, and see the mascot, I don’t think “watch”. I think organic smoothies, or swim goggles, or t-shirts. The design of the watch isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. I’ve shopped for kid’s watches, and I don’t see how this could compete with a similarly styled Peppa Pig watch or a Sonic the Hedgehog (or Minnie Mouse) smart watch. By the time a child is old enough to appreciate the design and colors, they will also be old enough to appreciate (and prefer) a Garmin or Fitbit for kids. Ask me how I know 🙂

      1. On the unisex watch topic, I think I ultimately agree with her, but not her argument.
        I guess those digi-screens can be set to mimic an analog display? Because I’d say get every child a Casio F-91W but make sure they can read a Casio MQ-24 too.

        1. Yes, the digi-screens can mimic an analog display. It’s a kids watch so there are quite a few different displays to choose from. The Sonic the Hedge Hog smart watch even has games that you can play on it and a pedometer. I ultimately settled on a Garmin Forerunner 35, but when I was looking at smart watches, it was the Sonic the Hedgehog watch that piqued my interest. Ultimately it came down to a sizing issue and not *quite* functional enough for an adult. As far as I can tell, it couldn’t sync with a phone and get text messages or push calendar notifications to my attention.

    2. I’m a latecomer, not really familiar with her writing or anything else. But we seem to have reached the same conclusion.
      The one thing I’ll cede is that the differently colored hands, usually seen only on explicit “time teacher” models, is a nice touch. The jarring colors may appeal to children?

  4. “There’s gender and there’s agenda.” Love that line! You politically incorrect, truth telling bastard.

  5. Hodinkee’s limousine liberal politics are an obvious target, but there is another one: the watch spotting that they do for movies. Kramer vs. Kramer, James Bond, Galaxy Quest. Funny how they never do Re-Animator, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (the 1986 sequel to the original), Lair of the White Worm, or Italian giallos in general, which have a surprising number of wrist shots.

    1. I can’t put my finger on what criteria they use. It’s a topic that should excite me but their selections (movie, watch, or both) often leave me cold and disinterested. On the other hand I squeed big time when they showed NWA-era Dr. Dre with the Mickey Mouse watch.

      1. Yeah, sometimes they knock it out of the park, but “Galaxy Quest” and “Kramer vs. Kramer”? Yeeesh. Bland, bland, bland, bland.

  6. It is not about a watch that will end up broken or in a drawer in a few months. It is about an entry point to a line of children products. Also she is making a 36 mm version that will be gobbled up by adults. It is marketing genius and she will make a bundle when the Hodinkee private equity guys buy her out.

    1. It does seem inordinately marketed. Whether that is savvy, startup pump&dump, or both is to be determined.
      I hate that I’m curious to see this 36mm adult variant, but I am.

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