Interview: Barbara Palumbo – jewelry and watch journalist, mother of two,the mind behind What’s On Her Wrist and Adornmentality

Barbara Palumbo
Barbara in a image taken by the New York Times when she attended their conference on Luxury back in 2017
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today I will combine my “Found on the Internet” and “Interview” column for a special person – Barbara Palumbo. While the title summarises shortly Barbara, I am firmly convinced that, if you don’t already know her / about her and her work, after this you got yourself a new piece of writing to read and an interesting person to discover and follow. 

Two web publications, many collaborations and an impressive amount of freelance articles

I feel compelled to explain myself. When I started these two columns, I had in mind the idea of presenting you not only watches but also the people behind them: watchmakers, brands’ representative, watch media and everything that I consider interesting about the watch world. I like the idea of Peter Speake-Marin twelve questions, on The Naked Watchmaker Website (and I warmly recommend you to read that, besides the entire site), but I needed more than that. This is why I started in 2015 with my own set of questions to master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen (on my former Blogspot platform).

Found on the Internet

Today, I will introduce you two websites and the creative mind behind them: What’s On Her Wrist, Adornmentality and Barbara Palumbo.

Barbara Palumbo portrait
The serious professional side of Barbara (her friends and followers also know her humorous, full of life side)

I strongly recommend her websites for the original content and perspective. I enjoy especially What’s On Her Wrist due to watch-related articles. By the way, the last Watch Terminology for Dummies is a must-read for anyone, regardless if novice or veteran.

Adornmentality is mostly oriented on the jewellery world, a subject on which Barbara has a long history and a rich experience.

On personal life, Barbara Palumbo is a mother of two, juggling like a pro between professional and personal life. She speaks proficiency sarcasm and she presents everything with humour (subtle or not). I enjoy her vertical way of writing. My wife is also one of her readers.

Short questions, short answers

I have to admit that I somehow intuited the answers. I know and follow Barbara for some years and her answers were for me no surprise. Talking to Barbara is always fun (even if the conversation chances are rare due to lack of time at the events). Talking about daily subjects, family and life is even more fun. My last topic of conversation with her was not jewellery or watches but, you might never guess – shoes. But let’s leave the shoes aside and go to our short conversation for today.


Andrei:  Watches! A high school love? (A nice thing with nice memories to be sometimes remembered) Or a maturity love? (Where understanding how the world turns makes everything more complex).

Barbara: I’d say for me, especially as a mother, they’re probably more of a mature love because now, when I buy a watch, I immediately think about which of my children I’ll leave it to before I pass away. I know that seems quite morbid, but it’s how my mind works. There’s this dark spot in my brain that thinks about that, day in and day out, so I guess watches, for me, are now purchased with the idea that they’ll be passed down as a family heirloom long after I’m gone.

Answering Barbara, I think it is a mature, less egoistic way of thinking. I don’t know how a mother thinks, but it sounds perfectly natural. Plus, a curated collection, personalised for each of the children seems to be an excellent idea. I know many collectors that have made acquisitions thinking about their children (J-C Biver for instance)


Andrei: The perfect black dress watch? (What would be your long-time runner for a black dress? Regardless of maker, complications an so on. Maybe a watch that inspires you for a black dress. Could also be a perspective).

Barbara: Reverso. Reverso. Reverso. In the small size, on either a metal bracelet or a really fun strap. I recently added a bespoke metallic strap to my stainless steel Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and I intend on wearing it to a black-tie event I’m attending in August. The two-tone look with the silver-coloured case and gold metallic strap will offset my Grecian-goddess-like white full-length gown. I cannot WAIT to wear it.

I do love Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with my whole being. I consider it one of the most perfect watches ever created.
Barbara Palumbo Reverso
The gold metallic strap is not something that comes in mind when I think about Reverso, but knowing Barbara, I think it suits both (Barbara and the Reverso) perfectly.
As final words: don’t forget to have a look at Barbara’s Palumbo websites, What’s On Her Wrist and Adornmentality. If you have and enjoy humour, watches and jewellery, give them a try. Enjoy reading!

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