For centuries, poets and artists, writers and musicians tried to capture the essence of femininity. But it took a woman to invent the epitome of beauty, elegance, sophistication and self confidence, the only Women Swiss Watch to inspire women.
Giselle was only eight when she lost her father, a little girl trying to help her mother going through challenging times. One day she found a four leaf clover and gave it to her mother, Odette. “Mother, we are saved. I found a four-leaf clover!” Her mother placed it inside her pendant. Four decades later, when this little girl became a businesswoman, and was facing difficult times, her mother, Odette, unlocked that pendant and showed it to her daughter. Little she knew that with that she unleashed the feminine power in her daughter and a whole wave of inspiration will take the world by surprise.
Like her mother, Giselle missed her father greatly, but found comfort in her mother’s strength. She learned from her mother the old saying “ Time is Money” but found that is no longer a true reflection of the women’s business world. From her own perspective, the business world needs a woman’s perspective: “Time is Life”.
Giselle Rufer decided to create a Swiss watch for women that will remind her of her father, and it will honour women and their contribution to society, their commitment to life. In an industry where historically only men are allowed, she stepped up to the challenge and became a prominent entrepreneur creator of the chic Delance watch for women. She received numerous international awards and accolades for Innovation but she is yet to be recognized for her contribution to closing the gender gap.
Only 1% of the world population owns the Delance watch at present: famous actresses, politicians, businesswomen, athletes and inventors from around the world. But with every watch, Giselle helps another woman connect with her inner teacher and unleash her self confidence.
Here is our latest interview with Giselle.
What do you remember about the time when you were a little girl, who was Giselle as a child? Tell us about your parental home, your childhood, your dreams back then…
My parents were both born in Paris. They married very young and I arrived in 1946. They moved to Porrentruy, a small Jura town in Switzerland when I was 5 years old. I was a tomboy, very energetic and wanting to discover the world. The old city was our garden and we were investigating all the places in search of treasures and adventures.
My mother had a shop in the old city, selling beautiful tableware, Limoges porcelain, Baccarat crystal, Christofle cutlery, tableware coming from France. She was the “Parisienne”, so beautiful and talented. She was my queen.
The picturesque region of Jura in Switzerland is the cradle of watchmaking industry. The Swiss Jura has been industrialized since the 18th century and has several cities at very high altitudes, such as La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle, and Sainte-Croix (renowned for its musical boxes). It is hard to resist its natural beauty and features such as the Creux du Van, peaks such as the Chasseral, caves such as the Grottes de l’Orbe, and gorges such as Taubenloch and my undying love for this regional heritage goes way back to childhood and makes me very proud of my origins.
Since you developed a sense of trust with yourself, and the outside world, you went on an adventure of the mind, re-imagining your life, and that takes courage. What impacted your self confidence?
As my mother was busy running the shop, I grew up to be independent and take responsibility for my own actions. On the other side, my father was encouraging me to dream big and believe in myself. I still hear him telling me: “Everything you want to obtain, you will be able to achieve it !”
I grow up in self confidence and probably my childhood years impacted all my decisions I took later on in life. My father being very passionate about the watchmaking and selling Swiss watches in France, cherished the idea of creating his own watch brand. It was his dream that became mine after his death. He was only 32, I was 8… It was my father’s idea to name his watch brand “DELANCE”, the name inspired by our family name. I made my father’s dream mine since I was a child.I created DELANCE forty years later,but I designed the only Swiss watch for women.
When I reached adulthood I worked in the watch industry but I could not find the watch I was dreaming of. I wanted a watch that has an unique style and mirrors every woman’s authenticity and courage. I wanted a watch that reflects the feminine personality and values, a talisman, a symbol of life, harmony, spirituality ticking with a feminine rhythm. I could not find it so I had to create it.
In 1994, I decided to create a watch that is a silent mentor empowering women to reach the sky. I had to do it, it was my mission. Four decades ago, before women’s role in society started to make the headlines, I decided to empower women, inspire my sisters all over the world. Since then I attended thousands of international conferences to instill self confidence in the feminine talent and help every woman I meet re-instate her self confidence.
You live at your family home in Switzerland and since the travel was banned your daily routine has changed. What are your morning rituals? Take us through your day
I now live in Switzerland and since the Covid brought the world to a stand still, I cannot travel all over the world anymore, to speak at international conferences and to organize the distribution of the Delance watches. When the lockdown was declared I was just returning from my tour in Asia. I had a shock discovering that I am a person at risk. No, not me… but in fact I am a person at risk as I am over 60. What can somebody who travels for a living do when there are no air plains in the sky, no people to meet? I decided to discover more about myself and travel inside my mind, find out more about living a joyful life while social- distancing. I decided to take a coaching session called “Joliment vieillir” (“Nicely grow old”) with Veronique, for one month and I have to admit that the result is great.
When I wake up, I take the time for me first, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, then brush my whole body to stimulate all the connections, make some kinesiology exercises, a shower, a nice body milk and I am ready for a good day. Depending on my agenda, I will find time for meditation and relaxation time during the day. I have the chance to live in the country so I go for a walk as often as I can. When I go to bed, I make sure I sleep enough. I am very young at heart and I feel well in my body but I take the time to listen to it. I have to find ways of re-rejuvenating so I could carry my mission, inspire my sisters with my strength.
Since you created your Delance the only Swiss women watch from ground zero, you have faced endless challenges. What drives you to unite women in sisterhood ?
Through my life experiences, I noticed that all women, from very young age are facing difficulties, all over the world. I am the oldest of four sisters and I had to support my mother was a widow and my sisters. I we survived after the death of our father, we have the support of our circle of women to thank you for. I learned the power of sisterhood since early childhood. Women who support each other know there is no value in competing against each other or being jealous. I suffered from the jealousy of other people and I remember those times being very difficult. Probably I was too much for them and they couldn’t accept me… I wish I could help them understand sooner that I am a woman on my own mission, and not a competitor.
We are facing a new social algorithm that impacts our behaviour, as consumers. At a time when self isolation brought humanity closer together, as the head of Delance Watch, what do you think is the role of women in society?
I grow up in the city where you could find all kind of shops, butcheries, bakeries, grocery stores, and all those shops were kept by women. I remember as a little girl, I noticed that the cashier at the checkout, it was always a woman handling the money. In my eyes, those women look like queens, they were the face of the shop. There men were doing the job in the back shop, but when the wife was ill, the shop was closed.
Since the dawn of time, the contribution of women in all fields has been immeasurable. Now is the time for women to openly assume the role they deserve in society. Now is the time for men to recognize the contribution of women in all areas, listen to our voices and support us as we used to support them for thousands of years in history. Even the world EVE-olution, puts the name of a biblical woman, Eve, at the core of this word’s meaning.
What seems to be even more powerful than Coronavirus, is the fear of the unknown. There are no rules anymore, what are your thoughts during the self isolation slowdown?
A woman can conquer the fear of the unknown. We had to overcome it so often. The first time when we become aware it is our role to give life, then the first child, the child leaving home, the aging, and everything in between, is a journey into the unknown. Each one of us walks in beauty and love, through every difficult step and survive. Together we will reinvent ourselves and enchant our lives. I am confident we will overcome the pandemic too, we have no choice, we have to get stronger for ourselves and for our children.
Brands, old and new have the chance to overcome the fear of the unknown, what is your advice for business leaders after the outbreak of Covid-19? Are you re-thinking a new strategy for Delance Watch? Do you think there is opportunity in calamity?
The recovering will not be easy. My mother who is now 94 years of age, is a very wise woman and she told me: “After the war was nothing left. We had to rebuild everything and we did it”. Now we will have to rebuild our society, our companies, and our businesses. It will perhaps be a long way and we have to be courageous and ready to work more and to have less. With creativity, love and work we will continue. We have to concentrate on what is really important for ourselves, our family and our society.
Sure a watch is not a priority and there are millions of women who don’t think of a watch right now. But the Delance watch is more than a watch, is a silent mentor, an inner teacher, reminding you who you truly are. As we created a community for the women who are Delance Ambassadress, it is the symbol of our solidarity, a proof of our multiple talents and a sign of recognition for women who want to make the world a better place for all.