6 Ladies Watches That Any Man Might Wear – And That This Man Would Definitely Wear
“If you were a woman . . .” Bonnie Tyler sang ever so expressively in her hit single from 1986.
While at times as a young boy I might have wondered how it would feel to be a girl, watches are the single thing that might cause me to think like that today.
These days, ladies’ timepieces are well thought out and finally receiving the attention they deserve from designers and customers alike. There were already signs of this back in 2013 when Vacheron Constantin stunned observers with an entirely new lineup of watches called Harmony in cushion-shaped cases that was almost wholly dedicated to women (see Two Exceptional Cushion-Case Chronographs For Women: Patek Philippe Ladies First And Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph Small Model).
This had never happened before, and however unusual it might have seemed at that time, it is our reality today. Even such a male-oriented brand as IWC, which used to market its watches with the tagline “Engineered for a Man,” now has a pretty wide array of timepieces explicitly created for women (see IWC Da Vinci 2017: The Ultimate In Masculine Watches Finds A Female Side With Automatic 36 + Automatic Moon Phase 36).
That, however, is not the reason for this story. Its raison d’être is that ladies’ watches have become bloody good – to the extent that I, as a man’s man, would happily wear some of the better ones on my hairy wrist.
With the evolution of modern ladies’ watches has come an evolution of quality. Today it is not just about downsizing existing men’s models. Nor is it only about design, bling, or glossy luxury.
It is all about watchmaking, great watchmaking!
So, here are six predominantly female watches that I’d wear. With pride.
1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Rainbow (Ref. 116595RBOW)
I remember it vividly – almost as vividly as the watch itself: the moment I laid eyes on the latest edition of Rolex’s “Rainbow” Daytona at the 2018 edition of Baselworld. We were presented several new pieces at the same time, including the very popular and sought after “Pepsi” GMT-Master II in steel.
But it was that gold chronograph appropriated for the female wrist that stole my full attention.
There is just something about that colorful sapphire-set bezel (hence the nickname) that interplays perfectly with pink gold of the case and bracelet. The size is right; the weight is substantial but comfy; the movement is Rolex-precise; and then then there are those looks. There is just something about the way this watch looks . . . I couldn’t take it off my wrist.
John Mayer wears one. And that man knows his watches.
For more information, please visit www.rolex.com/watches/cosmograph-daytona.
Quick Facts Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona “Rainbow” (Ref. 116595RBOW)
Case: 40 x 12.8 mm, pink gold
Gemstones: 56 brilliant-cut diamonds on lugs and crown guard, 11 baguette-cut colored sapphires as hour markers (each matching the graduated color on the bezel above it), 36 baguette-cut sapphires in rainbow gradation
Movement: automatic Caliber 4130, 72-hour power reserve, chronograph column wheel and vertical clutch, blue Parachrom hairspring, officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; chronograph
2. Chanel J-12
This sporty watch by the house of Chanel must be one of the coolest ceramic timepieces ever made. It’s slick, slim, shiny, and has a very well made exterior crafted in a high-end zirconium oxide composite.
While ceramic watches are not new and certainly no longer very rare, the J-12 can well be considered one of the OGs of this category. And now it comes in an all-new, slightly redesigned version with a fresh automatic caliber crafted exclusively for Chanel.
The black version is my favorite, and I would happily steal it from my girlfriend if she had one.
For more information, please visit www.chanel.com/en/watches-jewelry/watches/the-watch-j12.
Quick Facts Chanel J12
Case: 38 mm, ceramic
Movement: automatic Caliber 12.1 with 70-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
3. Patek Philippe Ladies First Chronograph Reference 7071
When Patek Philippe first introduced the Ladies First Chronograph in late 2013, it was quite a shocker: the brand had developed a complicated new movement that included a manufacture chronograph from scratch and then put it in a ladies’ watch! Blasphemy, some said.
Patek Philippe played a bold card and in doing so created a beautiful watch. The Ladies First Chronograph’s gold case is shaped like a little cushion and adorned with diamonds. Every detail is just perfect.
Classic all the way through, the Patek Philippe Ladies First Chronograph is a perfect unisex watch. Just like Reference 7150 in a round case presented in 2018 powered by the same CH 29-535 PS manually wound caliber (see 5 New Ladies Timepieces Both Technically Intriguing And Aesthetically Captivating).
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/complications/7150-250R-001.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Ladies First Reference 7071
Case: 39 mm, pink gold, yellow gold or white gold with 136 brilliant-cut diamonds
Movement: manually wound Caliber 29-535 with column wheel-controlled chronograph; Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph
Limitation: limited production
4. Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Marshmallow
There is only one watch brand that could pull off what Richard Mille did at the 2019 SIHH. While all other exhibiting brands played it serious with their versions of high-end horology, Richard Mille’s booth looked like a child’s dream candy shop.
All the Richard Mille timepieces on exhibition were also candy-like, with their design cues bearing both candy and fruit motifs.
Among them was the lavender ceramic-encased RM 07-03 Marshmallow with a dial that looks like a pastel set of sweet sugar foams.
But make no mistake – though playful in appearance, this watch represents some serious horology with its manufacture movement and handmade enamel dial. Good enough to eat and definitely good enough to wear.
For more information, please visit www.richardmille.com/en/magazine/collection-richard-mille-bonbon.
Quick Facts Richard Mille RM 07-03 Marshmallow
Case: lavender TZP ceramic bezel and case back, red gold case band set with precious stones, 45.32 x 32.3 x 11.93 mm
Dial: red gold and titanium, hand-enameled
Movement: automatic in-house Caliber CRMA2, skeletonized, power reserve approx. 50 hours, base plate and bridges in titanium, free-sprung balance with variable inertia, variable-geometry rotor, fast-rotating barrel, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 30 pieces
5. MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Funny enough, my highlight of Baselworld 2019 came before the fair opened its doors – and in the form of a ladies’ watch. I received an under-embargo email from MB&F ahead of the fair, opened it, and was blown away . . . and that has never happened to me with a new ladies’ timepiece.
Legacy Machine FlyingT is MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser’s pet project in the quest to create a kinetic sculpture for the women in his life (his wife and two daughters). That is not an easy task by any means.
To no one’s surprise, though, Büsser and his team – favorably called his “Friends” – pulled it off in a jaw-droppingly good way. A sexy, stylish, and contemporary piece with a vertically constructed flying tourbillon movement housed in a slim, white gold case under a high dome of sapphire crystal.
While the FlyingT is a fully functional watch displaying the time, it seems more like a piece of amazing jewelry to me, especially the version paved with 8.2 carats’ worth of baguette-cut diamonds.
Put it on your wrist and I guarantee that whatever sex you are you’ll gasp with admiration.
For more information, please visit www.mbandf.com/en/machines/legacy-machines/lmflyingt.
Quick Facts MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Case: 38.5 x 20 mm, white gold, set with brilliant-cut or baguette-cut diamonds
Movement: automatic caliber with three-dimensional vertical architecture, central flying 60-second tourbillon, four-day power reserve, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: CHF 108,000 (black lacquer dial); CHF 135,000 (pavé diamonds); CHF 298,000 (baguette-cut diamonds), all prices excluding sales tax
6. Omega Speedmaster 38 mm Cappuccino
I like a good Speedmaster and I am even wearing one as I write these words.
Over the 60-odd years since the Moonwatch has been in existence it has come out in an array of variations, including quite recently a smaller 38 mm automatic co-axial version perfectly suited to the wrist of a female astronaut.
The version colored like a perfect cup of morning cappuccino comes in a steel-and-Sedna-gold case complete with a light “milky coffee” dial replete with unusual oval subdials.
I love coffee, and truly fell for that little Speedy when I tried it on thanks to a quick loan from a local Omega PR woman. She has since swapped it out for a Seamaster. But I wouldn’t.
I like good coffee any time of the day.
For more information, please visit www.omegawatches.com/watch-omega-speedmaster-38-co-axial-chronograph-38-mm.
Quick Facts Omega Speedmaster 38 mm Cappuccino
Case: 38 mm, stainless steel and Sedna gold with diamond-set aluminum bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber 3330 with co-axial escapement and silicon balance spring, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Remark: four-year warranty