Watch it, has women's safety become a fashion accessory?

Watch maker Sonata has come up with a new range that has a 'panic' button to send distress signals.

 |  3-minute read |   26-12-2016
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"Bahut aage jaayengi ladkiyaan, dekhna," says a woman to her husband as she cradles her infant in the opening shot of an ad for watch brand Sonata's latest offering - ACT (App-Enabled Coordinates Tracker). The ad shows the couple waiting at a bus station late at night, when they notice two women athletes from Haryana travelling by themselves.

Concerned at the girls travelling "alone" for their selections in the dead of night, they ask them if their family members would be worried. In response, the athletes say that their family members are just a button's click away. One of them then shows a mobile phone and watch saying that all they need to do in a panic situation is to press a button on her watch twice and it would immediately send a distress message to 10 people with the location - putting the couple's worry to rest.

sonata-small_122616063806.jpg  Sonata's latest watch is aimed at helping women in distress.

This new product by the watch manufacturer is one of the many initiatives aimed at making women feel safe in the country. The advertisement, however, does not mention the product's functions in detail and somehow fails to hold the viewer's interest by coming across as "just another product". First it were pepper sprays and the innumerable smartphone applications, now there are innovations like pendants, watches and key chains. With most of them relying on one's Internet connection, which goes kaput when you need it the most, such products end up being pretty-looking accessories in a girl's handbag.

In an interview, Suparna Mitra, chief marketing officer, watches and accessories, Titan Company, says, "The style of the watch is very important but just because this is a safety watch it cannot be large, clunky and ugly..." While she adds that "so we made sure it's good looking and stylish but that is not the talking point of the product", has a sensitive issue like women's safety boiled down to being a fashion accessory?

With incidents of crime against women increasing in the country, with more than 34,000 cases of rape being reported last year, it is time we get beyond the "style quotient" of products that are designed to help distressed women, and concentrate on their utility. If actually deemed useful, women will not hesitate to walk around with a product that may not be good looking. Because all said and done, safety comes first.

The watch, which is priced between Rs 2,749 and Rs 2,999, is definitely a welcome step and most likely to make women feel confident and empowered. But all one can hope is that it does not fade out before delivering what is expected of it and is found buried in handbags.

Also read: Dangal is an ultimate feminist anthem with a large, generous, middle-aged man at its core


Shweta Sharma Shweta Sharma @shweta_87

Journalist with DailyO

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