Just in case you’re at a loss at what to do with that bonus cheque, I’ve chosen five watches for ladies who want more quality time on their hands! Four of whose DNA can be traced back to iconic men’s designs and one out-and-out man’s watch, that’s been given tantalizing crossover appeal.
We watch obsessives notice other people’s wrist wear and flying to New York recently I duly clocked an orange bezel Omega Planet Ocean on one of the female cabin crew. No shrinking violet, it’s a fullon 42mm dive watch that some men might even might think twice about strapping on. But the orange bezel shouted fun, adventure and sunny places (she told me she’d bought in in Dubai) and she wore it with aplomb.
A watch can be a potent personality signifier. The days when a dive watch was worn by divers and aviation chronographs were the preserve of pilots and astronauts have long gone. And if today’s man can channel Chuck Yeager from behind his desk at the firm of accountants, today’s woman can too… and more. If she wants to wear a Rolex Submariner without going near a wetsuit, she can. If she wants a humungous Panerai or an IWC Big Pilot, she can and she will probably wear them with more panache than us men because today’s premium watches are bold and beautiful. Even the tough, men’s classics, can make the transition to accessories and jewelry (there are gem encrusted Rolex Daytonas and diamond inlaid Omega Speed masters for those who fancy a bit more bling).
ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST:
Rolex maybe an obvious choice but it’s obvious for a reason. The designs are timeless (Rolex really doesn’t fix things that aren’t broken) and the watches are bulletproof and eminently recognizable. We could have suggested a man’s size or, even bolder, gone for a sports model (a 44mm Sea Dweller anyone?) but I’ve gone for a classic 31mm Oyster Perpetual Datejust in Everose gold, with a diamond-inset bezel and a raised floral dial that adds a bit of fun for those who want something a bit off-piste. At 31mm it is also the smallest watch in our selection, but there was a time when this was the classic women’s size and so if Rolex are still happy with it so are we.
JLC REVERSO CLASSIC SMALL DUETTO PINK GOLD
The Reverso is a watch with a huge heritage, allegedly first made in the ‘30s for polo playing British officers in India who wanted a watch that wouldn’t get hit during a quick chukka. You’d think they’d just take off their watch before saddling up but then again we wouldn’t have one of the world’s best-loved watches. I’ve gone for the achingly elegant Reverso Classic Small Duetto with the caliber 844, manual wind movement in pink gold with hour-minute functions and a black alligator strap. The “reverso” face has an art deco black face, topped and tailed by a row of diamonds, presumably for formal occasions. When the day face is worn, four diamonds discreetly peek out of the side, which is a nice touch.
CARTIER BALLON BLEU
57 Cartier gave the world the iconic Tank watch a century ago and in 2007, it duly gave us the Ballon Bleu. By classic watch standards, the Ballon Bleu is something of a newcomer, and Cartier has done a magnificent job of making us feel it’s been around forever. Defined by its distinctive guilloche dial and sapphire cabochon encased in a crown guard, it has become one of the most commercially successful creations in the Cartier stable. Offered in steel, pink, white and yellow gold and available in various sizes from 29mm-42mm, I’ve gone for the 36mm – arguably the most the most versatile size for a woman’s watch – 18 carat pink gold version with an automatic movement on a brown leather strap, which beautifully enhances the flash of blue from the cabochon. Cool, beautiful, elegant, and versatile, the Ballon Bleu is here to stay.
Lastly, a watch for the woman who wants to make a massive statement. At Panerai size matters. The Italian marque started out life in the 1860s and went on to produce outsize watches for the Italian navy divers and torpedo riders (which is admittedly pretty butch). Panerai, was championed by Sylvester Stallone (who else?) and Richemont acquired the company in 1997. Today, the watches, mainly the Luminor and the Radiomir lines, are sought after and collected by devoted “Paneristas”. The Ref 574 is a 42mm (tiny by Panerai standards) manual wind Radiomir with an “exhibition” back case, but it is the lime green strap, which perfectly picks out lume plots, will make it the must have accessory watch from Malibu to Monaco.