My Favorite...Vintage Gold Watch
Maxine Bédat, co-founder of Zady, shares the story behind this stunning gold watch given to her by her mathematician grandmother.
Maxine Bédat, co-founder of e-tailer Zady, shares the story behind this stunning gold watch given to her by her mathematician grandmother. Like the timepiece itself, Zady (which means 'grandfather' in Yiddish) is built on the values of timelessness, quality, honesty and transparency.
How did this beautiful watch come into your life? "It was originally my grandmother's watch and she actually gave it to me when she was still living. I remember her wearing it all the time, and I now wear it all the time, and I get to remember who she was as a person and the values and the work ethic, and everything I admire so much. I think it was for my Bat Mitzvah, one of those big moments. I remember her saying, 'I absolutely love this and this is a piece that was special to me and I hope you enjoy it and carry it on. It was a really celebratory moment; also really stressful when you're a 13-year-old child. Also, just to think of her. I look up to her so much. She got herself through college and she was a mathematician in this boys club, she was a woman. That's something I think about often."
What do you love about its aesthetic? "It's this beautiful design, I need to figure out what year it was from, I think it's from the '50s. Back in the day, timeless style was just style. And that's what it is, this very simple, modern piece. And it's gold, which I love, because all of my accessories are gold in color, not necessarily gold the metal. And it looks mod but modern at the same time. It's just very simple, and that's my general way of dressing. It's such a second skin to me, I almost don't even notice it anymore."
Do you know if it's real gold? "It is, actually, I know because I had to get it shortened to fit, because I have a tiny wrist and my grandmother had a bigger wrist. I think she found it funny that I had to get part of the chain removed. She's like, 'Keep that extra gold! You never know when you might need to add it back.' It has this amazing, almost fish-scale ray of the gold, which I guess is a very difficult technique. So it's just kind of this era when there was that extra attention to detail and design and making things to last, and those are all the values that I hold really close. So it's a nice reminder to me that if you invest in pieces, they really will last."
Do you wear it almost every day? "I do wear it almost every day, yeah. It's a piece that goes with everything. It could be very casual, or formal, or anything. It's not, like, ostentatious, it's understated—as I am. I'm very into arm parties, so I keep my clothing quite simple. My uniform is denim and a Steven Alan shirt, and then I have a lot of fun adding really great accessories. Today I have Winifred Grace bangles with it, it's fun to think of the different generations coming together."
How do those values inspire your work ethic and philosophy at Zady? "She was an impeccably dressed woman, she was South African and my parents had absolutely no money when they came to the US, and she would come with a suitcase of clothing for me and my sister just to have us nicely dressed as kids. She taught us the value of investing in pieces that are going to last. And that's something we definitely carry over into Zady—exploring what it is to have value in something and to have only really beautiful products instead of throwaway fashion. My grandmother definitely lived that. I remember, she'd wear these pieces and now I've become the same. When someone would give her a compliment on her clothes, she'd be like, 'Oh, I've been wearing this for 20 years.' That's who she was. And she looked great, and had such a keen eye for style."
What's the first word or feeling that comes to mind when you see it in your jewelry box? "Luxury. I think it's gold, and something that's really beautiful and simple, and that to me is what luxury is, a piece that will last a really long time. It feels luxurious to wear it, and has that timelessness."