The Cloche de Cartier by Cartier available this fall, cartier.com
Gender roles within the watch world quickly disappear as collectors demand a full range of options.
The bell shape provides the name: the Cloche de Cartier watch, part of the Cartier Privé collection.
When someone says, “a woman’s watch,” what comes to mind? In a watch boutique or department store, you might think that women’s watches are limited to something small and bejeweled, with a satin strap, too delicate to be worn for anything other than special occasions. But that’s not the case. Women have been wearing wristwatches for centuries—in fact, the first wristwatches in known history were created exclusively for women—and they’re not limiting themselves to the women’s section of the watch shop.
Retailers are taking notice. Watchfinder recently announced that it would eliminate the Ladies and Gents signage from its stores. On the collectors’ side, more and more communities of women watch enthusiasts are starting to emerge, such as @watch_femme on Instagram and Clubhouse. The women in the watch collector community are diverse, smart and have impressive and eclectic collections—and not just from the selection that has been traditionally marketed to them.
Cartier (cartier.com) is a brand that evokes classic elegance. Though it does have categories for men’s and women’s watches on its website, it also recognizes that many people will gravitate to the watch they like regardless of gender. Many of its classic watches, such as the Tank and Santos, come in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes to fit various tastes and wrist sizes. At the most recent Watches & Wonders event, where many watch brands showcase their latest releases, Cartier announced a number of pieces that are exceptionally appealing, including a trio of Tank Musts that pay homage to the colors of its 1980s monochrome models, and the stunning Cloche de Cartier, part of its Privé line, which produces limited-edition watches in unexpected and fascinating shapes.
The A. Lange & Söhne (alange-soehne.com) Little Lange 1 Moonphase, also released at Watches & Wonders, is a phenomenal choice that, at just under 37 mm, would suit many women’s wrists. In a white gold case with a dark blue gold flux dial, my favorite model hits all the marks: timeless elegance; an asymmetrical dial design that shows the time, date, phase of the moon and power reserve; and a beautifully decorated and finished handwound movement.
Fine finishing is a hallmark of the Little Lange 1 from A. Lange & Söhne, alangesoehne.com
If you’re more into a casual look with a metal bracelet and want a useful function and an exquisitely crafted dial, the Grand Seiko GMT Seasons Collection (grand-seiko.com) might fit the bill. The latest iterations feature dials inspired by four of the 24 seasonal phases referred to as “Sekki” in Japan. All four feature a GMT function, which allows you to see the time in a second time zone—a must for any traveler (or even those working from home trying to keep up with the London office). The version for spring (Shunbun) has a dial in a rich and subtly textured green. Summer (Shosho) features a pale blue dial that is reminiscent of a clear body of water. Fall (Kanro) has a dark textured dial and yellow accents that evoke a crisp autumn day when the leaves have turned, and winter (Toji) has a shimmering silver-white dial, inspired by the snow.
Nature informs Grand Seiko’s Elegance series inspired by Japan’s ever-changing seasons, grand-seiko.com.
My first rule of thumb is to buy what you love. Get a timepiece that is special to you. And remember: The definition of a “woman’s watch” is that a woman owns it.
Consider the Independents
The distinctive light blue Grönefeld 1941 Principia, gronefeld.com
Grönefeld 1941 Principia
An independent brand started by two brothers in their hometown of Oldenzaal in The Netherlands, the Grönefeld 1941 Principia Automatic (gronefeld.com) is available in several dial and metal combinations, including this light blue dial in stainless steel, red or white gold.
Stylish and affordable, the Retrograph by Brew Watches, brew-watches.com.
Brew Watches Retrograph
An affordable way to get into the burgeoning independent watch scene, the Brew Retrograph Technicolor, in its second run aft er a sold-out first release, has a quartz movement with a mechanical chronograph function, brew-watches.com
Created in limited runs, the Fears Brunswick Salmon Dial watch often sells out, fearswatches.com.
A family-run British watch brand with elegantly understated designs, Fears Brunswick’s handwound Brunswick model is available in several metals and colors, including this stunning salmon dial, fearswatches.com