Do you remember the women’s watches of yesterday, scaled-down versions of men’s watches, or diminutive, ladylike dress watches forever awaiting a big night out? They’re history! Today’s women’s watches have become hot fashion accessories meant to get noticed, with large, look-at-me dials, glitter galore and more color than a king-size box of crayons.
The Growing Size Of Women’s Watches
When it comes to women’s watches, petite and feminine are no longer almost synonymous. Case sizes are getting larger, and what used to be a relatively standard diameter of about 24 millimeters, is now downright petite. Some women’s styles are truly mammoth, 40 millimeters in diameter or more. Why this trend toward super-sizing? One reason is men’s watches. As they’ve grown to massive dimensions, women’s watches have bulked-up also. Another reason is the recent popularity of women’s chronograph watches, which necessitated dials large enough to accommodate chronograph subdials. And the biggest reason for the new interest in big women’s watches: the large faces have room for jazzy numerals, decorative dials, fancy hands and all manner of snazzy indicators – all the things that make a watch worth wearing.
Color And Women’s Watches
While it’s true that pink is considered the color for girls and women, so, it seems, are blue, purple, green, red and yellow. All are showing up these days on women’s watches. In addition to pastels and vibrant primary colors, there’s also a more serious palette of grays (pearl, slate, charcoal) and browns (coffee, copper and bronze) for occasions that call for some gravitas. And, yes, orange is still hot. If you can’t find a woman’s watch these days to go with every outfit in your closet, you’re just not trying. The dominant look is watchstraps and dials that match, the latter often mother-of-pearl, dyed any color you can imagine. Also popular are colored gemstones, especially sapphires, in all their various hues – yellow, pink,orange, and, of course, blue.
Wild New Shapes For Women’s Watches
We’ll bet you’ve never seen so many unusual shapes as are currently being offered by today’s watch makers. One of the biggest trends in women’s watches is non-round styles. It’s both a new development and an old one: when wristwatches came on the scene in the early 1900s, women’s models took on a range of wild shapes before settling into the more staid rounds and rectangles of later decades. Now, once again, it’s anything goes, with flower shapes (from Tissot and Citizen, among others), crosses (Roger Dubuis, Locman), egg shaped (Breguet), long rectangles curved to fit the wrist (cK), semicircles (Jean d’Eve) and ovals (from companies too numerous to mention). Van Cleef & Arpels even has a watch shaped like the Alhambra in Spain. So-called east-west watches, which are wider than they are high, are gaining fashion momentum. They’re available now in oval, rectangle and tonneau shapes, with more variations on the way.
The lesson is clear: when you’re adding to your wardrobe, don’t forget watches.
Mechanical Women’s Watches
Watch makers are all wound up about women’s mechanical watches. Ever since quartz movements came to dominate the watch world, women have largely eschewed mechanical ones. When men began snapping up mechanical watches in the 1980s – as they’re still doing today in enormous numbers – most women stayed with quartz watches.
Today, many makers of mechanical watches have launched initiatives to win women over. They’re offering a plethora of new women watch models: not plain, garden-variety mechanical watches like your grandmother used to wear, but extremely-fancy ones, incorporating a full spectrum of special features and functions: chronographs, full calendars, power reserve indicators and even tourbillons. In terms of styling, they’re pulling out all the stops, with eye-catching displays for all these exotic add-ons – a winning combination of function and fashion.
Glitzing Up Women’s Watches
These days women’s watches are so gem-laden that the term jewelry watch is almost redundant. But truly glamorous, gem-laden women’s watch models designed for after-dark festivities are more plentiful than ever. Perhaps as a consequence of this – and the need to set themselves apart from the crowd – they’re also more unusual in design, moving far beyond over-the-top bling. Just a few examples: Jaeger-LeCoultre has new jewelry versions of its Reverso watches that have diamonds set in a lopsided-checkerboard pattern and, in another model, a pattern resembling dice. Patek Philippe has a new version of its Twenty~4, decorated with a bubble pattern composed of diamonds. Cartier has several new enamel and diamond models inspired by jungle animals, including a tiger-striped pendant watch. And Piaget has a diamond watch customized with the owners fingerprint.
Watch Straps and Style
Watch straps are no longer mere appendages. As watches have become accessories, watch bands have stepped into the spotlight as well. No wonder: a watch strap can make a plain watch fancy or tone down a dressy one for office wear. Or, like magic, turn a basic watch into the perfect companion for a colorful beach wrap.
Exotic watch strap materials are hot these days and include sea snake, python, galuchat (stingray) and simulated big-cat skins (especially leopard). Fabric straps are also plentiful – Audemars Piguet has an array of embroidered silk ones on some of its women’s watches. Then there’s the old standby, calfskin, dyed a vibrant color or embossed to look like lizard.
Many watches are designed so the owner can change the strap herself. Some watchstraps can be converted from one style to another. The Baby Star by Zenith Watches, for instance, has a thin leather strap that can be worn alone or, for a sportier look, on top of a wide cuff.