Not so long ago, an abyss of difference existed between status watches for men and women. The men enjoyed feature-rich mechanical pieces, while women had to make do with diminutive quartz styles. But no longer.
Women have driven the trend in timepieces over the past decade, spurning traditional designs and drifting over to the men’s side of the boutique to secure the look they wanted. Today’s market offers a mix of mechanical watches designed with women in mind, as well as styles that boast classic elegance and precision. Here, five of the best luxury watches for women.
Happy Sport Chrono
Who says a serious watch can’t also feel a bit playful? That’s the thinking behind Chopard’s Happy watches, crafted with cases that allow diamonds to ﬂoat across the dial. The just-released Happy Sport Chrono combines the features of a certiﬁed chronograph with seven gold-set diamonds that dance around the dial in a 40-millimeter case. Features on this timepiece include a chronograph second hand, 30-minute and 12-hour counters and a date window. For an extra touch of feel-good sentiment, both the gold and diamonds have been ethically and sustainably sourced.
$17,800, at chopard.com
Among the house’s range of iconic Tank watches—the ﬁrst debuted in 1918 and was named for a French Renault tank used in World War I—the latest model has received a chic update that puts an emphasis on the Cartier codes, while also conveying a decidedly sportier feel. Today’s Tank Française is available in three sizes in both stainless steel and yellow gold; the largest steel model includes an automatic mechanical movement, creating an elegant unisex piece that feels substantial in both style and craft.
$5,500, at cartier.com
Reference 7130R Few mechanical time-pieces feel as artful—or, for frequent travelers, as practical and needed—as a world timer, and Patek Philippe excels at crafting a self-winding mechanical women’s design that’s equal parts stunning and serious. The latest Reference 7130R has been released in a sophisticated olive green, seen in both the hand-guilloched basket-weave dial and calfskin strap, which beautifully offset the 36-millimeter rose-gold case. The dial is deﬁned by the 24 cities representing the global time zones, while gold sun and moon indicators allow for easy day/night reading. The gold bezel and buckle are set with 89 diamonds totaling 1.03 carats.
$59,140, at patek.com
J12 Watch Caliber 12.2
Not unlike the woman who founded her eponymous house, Chanel’s J12 also has been a game changer in women’s watches, offering chic, sporty style and mechanical movements years before many traditional timepiece brands. Known for its scratch-resistant ceramic case and bracelet in black or white, today’s J12 comes in a variety of sizes, but among the newest is this 33-millimeter style, which eschews any accent of diamonds in favor of a straightforward look that feels both elegant and transitional. Features on this J12 with a self-winding mechanical movement include a black-lacquered dial with white ceramic indicators, a steel unidirectional rotating bezel, and water resistance to 200 meters.
$7,150, at chanel.com
Recently Rolex has expanded its selection of artful dials, and surely the legendary brand’s legion of women collectors has played a role in that decision. From palm motifs to a graphic take on its iconic ﬂuted bezel, Rolex dials have indeed grown a bit more dazzling. Among the newest releases is this Datejust 31, which features a ﬂoral motif that the brand has dubbed Azzurro blue, accented with 24 diamonds; those located around the outer perimeter also serve as subtle indices. The 31-millimeter case in Oystersteel and white gold is set on an Oyster bracelet. Combined with the dial, the result is a self-winding watch that’s a terriﬁc balance of a status mechanical embellished with feminine detailing.
$10,250, at rolex.com