While almost anyone can wear any watch – some watch companies aim traditionally female watches at men with small wrists – a dedicated woman’s watch is beautiful, well-made, and timeless. Here are some of my favorites for the past year.
Legible and elegant, the PrimaLuna collection by historic Swiss watch maker longines offers a variety of styles with both mechanical and quartz movements as well as all steel or two-tone cases. Many women’s watches are really just scaled down men’s pieces but what is nice about the PrimaLuna is that is feminine from the ground-up and nevertheless appropriately conservative. $1,100 – $6,400
Decorative items such as a mother-of-pearl dial and diamonds mask what is actually a very sensible timepiece in the Captain Ultra-Thin Lady Moonphase watch by Swiss Zenith. It begins with an in-house produced Zenith Elite automatic movement that also features an indicator for the phases of the moon. Legible and classy the 33mm wide steel case is elegant enough for evening attire but wouldn’t look out of place when worn casually. Think of it as a fashionable item for serious watch lovers. $9,600.
While Chanel is mostly known for their popular ceramic-cased J12 collection watches, a solid favorite is the Premiere which blends French romance with a youthful style that tends to still look good on women of all ages and styles. The distinctive watch case is borrowed from the cap of the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle, which is itself borrowed from the shape of the Place Vendome area in Paris. Offered in a few styles with or without diamonds and in steel or 18k gold, the Premiere on the newer chain bracelet is among the most attractive women’s timepiece of late. $4,750 – $31,000
“Tortue” means “tortoise” and refers to the shape of this iconic Cartier timepiece. New for the brand is the Tortue Medium size which marries a humble 39mm wide case with a Cartier manually-wound mechanical movement. Extremely demure, the Tortue Medium recalls traditional luxury with its gold case, classic Cartier dial with blued steel hands and Roman numeral hour markers, as well as a sapphire crystal in the crown all matched to a brown alligator strap. This is a watch that speaks luxury and status without wishing to show it off flamboyantly. $15,600
Widely considered to be Italy’s finest and most exclusive producer of jewelry and silver items, Buccellati also has a boutique watch making facility and craftspeople who hand-produce the cases of each model. Unlike French jewelry companies Buccellati products are typically more densely decorated with engravings and lots of details. Many of their jewelry items are also one-of-a-kind. For the ultimate classic timepiece visit one of the few Buccellati boutiques around the world or visit them in Milan to have a custom-made women’s timepiece complete with an elaborate design and a healthy amount of precious stones. Their prices are even more “reasonable” than those of the bigger names in France.
Bulova Accutron II Alpha 97A111
For 2014 Bulova returns to the classic 1960s “Spaceview” collection in part of the fresh Accutron II collection. Those familiar with original Accutron Spaceview watches will recall that they contained electronic turning fork movements that pre-dated quartz movement technology. A hallmark was a sweeping seconds hand similar to that of mechanical movements. The Accutron II collection makes use of a modern quartz movement exclusive to Bulova known as the Precisionist. In short, it also offers a sweeping (versus ticking) seconds hand and actually more accuracy than most standard quartz movements. The distinctive shield-style case and open dial are reminiscent of the original 1960s models and while this is a men’s watch it gets a bit more girly on the white strap. $499