What makes a great women’s watch? This year, it’s all about color, gemstone placement, caliber quality, and wearability. These eight women’s watches, introduced at Watches and Wonders, remind us how hard watch brands are working to put great watches on wrists of every size. Increasingly, brands are identifying watches by size rather than by gender, which seems like the right thing to do given that some women prefer larger sizes and some men prefer smaller sizes — it’s all about taste and fit preference, rather than gender, and no one wants that to be dictated to them. “Unisex” is becoming a more acceptable way to describe watches. However, some watches are undeniably feminine, with slightly more decorative features, like a smattering of well-placed, well-matched gemstones, a shiny red strap, or a mother-of-pearl dial — features clearly geared toward the traditional women’s market. These watches range in size from 33mm to 38mm, which seems like the perfect range for a women’s watch right now. If you’re interested in even bigger case sizes, read this article on unisex watches, which highlights some of the most tantalizing gender-neutral designs from Watches and Wonders this year.
The 36.8mm version of the Lange 1 with moon phase now has an aventurine dial. The star-shaped markers on the hour/minutes dial are a nice touch, but the big date steals the show, as always, and reminds you that this is a brand that prizes functionality above all else. The diamond bezel is optional. It contains the manual wound L121.2 movement. $200
This watch is proof that there is nothing wrong with the concept of a women’s watch as a smaller, dressed-up version of a men’s watch. The Seamaster is an iconic, respected model, and taking it down a notch in size to 34mm, decorating it with ruby indexes and a diamond bezel, and giving it an elite movement (the METAS-certified Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8800) is exactly the right move on Omega’s part.
Ditto with the Panerai Due, a scaled-down – 38mm, which is small for Panerai – version of the Luminor. It retains the signature crown cover, cushion case shape and Arabic font coated with Super-LumiNova, but the dial is dressed up with mother-of-pearl dial and pink gold hands and markers. The red alligator strap is just one of many color options. The case is Goldtech, Panerai’s proprietary gold, and the movement is the automatic P.900. $200.
The Pasha was introduced as a men’s watch in the 1980s, but was quickly co-opted by women who loved its chunky style. Cartier went with the flow and continues to feminize the design. It was rebooted last year, and now there is a follow-up in a 30mm size. The red strap, the color of the year for women’s watches, is interchangeable, including a metal bracelet option. The movement in this size is quartz. $200.
This version of the watch with the oxymoron for a title is dripping with 1,102 diamonds totaling 7.09 carats. Does that make it strictly a women’s watch? Although it’s small for a Royal Oak, 39mm is large for a jewelry watch, and there is a lot of dazzle here. Yet the model’s signature angular design and neutral tapisserie dial (blue or black), makes it somehow unisex. $200.
The Ballon Bleu is a distinctive design that doesn’t call for a lot of embellishment, so the ice blue dial and diamond bezel on this new 33mm model have a transformative effect. There are also new gold dial/case versions in the 33mm size, along with blue and grey dials in the 40mm size. All have Cartier automatic movements. $200.
The redesigned Tank Must is another of Cartier’s savvy remasters. Here, the Tank is paired with Cartier’s “Must” designation, a reference to its accessibility and its can’t-live-without accessibility. The revamped line includes new colors, smaller sizes, and a strap that is the star of the show: It is made of 40% plant matter, geared to the growing masses of eco-conscious buyers. $$200.
Sometimes it is good to “shrink it and pink it.” This vintage remake transforms the model’s signature 12-sided bezel by decorating it with 72 diamonds – a feminine take on the 12 nautical pennants on the original model from the 1960s. The titanium case (and bracelet option) makes it light and wearable. It contains the automatic caliber CO 082 and is water-resistant to 100 meters. $200.