‘Twistie’ bracelets, hammered dials: 7 women’s watches that deserve a closer look
The ladies want watches as multi-dimensional as they are, and these seven watchmakers are delivering them.
Watch releases have slowed down a smidge this year for obvious reasons, but that hasn’t meant a regression to novelties aimed squarely at men. We are still in an era where women’s watches are growing not just in number, but in complications and innovative decorating techniques. These seven horological femme fatales deserve your attention.
CARTIER MAILLON DE CARTIER
Complications are nice to have, and Cartier has proven many times that it’s more than competent in that department. But sometimes a watch really only needs to look good, and the tasty little Maillon de Cartier is definitely a looker.
“Maillon” is French for link, and each polished, twisted one has been carefully assembled to form a bracelet that is somehow both tough and feminine. These are available in yellow, white and pink gold with the option of diamonds on the bezel, bracelet, or a full blanket of them on the pink and white gold models.
There are also two limited editions, a 50-piece yellow gold model with a black lacquer dial and lacquered link sides, and a 20-piece high jewellery version embellished with diamonds, tsavorites, as well as blue and green lacquer.
HARRY WINSTON OCEAN BIRETROGRADE BLACK & WHITE AUTOMATIC 36MM
Sporty watches don’t always have to look the part. On more delicate wrists, that oversized, tougher-than-Tyson aesthetic can look uncomfortable and awkward. But that’s nothing a few diamonds set by one of the world’s most famous jewellery brands can’t fix.
Harry Winston’s Ocean Biretrograde collection welcomes a new 36mm white gold model in black and white. Mother-of-pearl dials, 199 diamonds, and a sharp, two-tone palette dress up the automatic movement’s retrograde displays.
The movement, which uses a silicon balance spring and is finished with Cotes de Geneve and circular graining, can keep going for 65 hours. The rubber strap also features a weave down the middle – a first for the brand.
HERMES CAPE COD MARTELEE
It’s often the women’s watches that get first dibs on techniques borrowed from jewellery making. In this case (and dial), Hermes’s anchor chain-inspired Cape Cod uses hammering to give the surfaces a distinct texture. The dial is then coated in a thin film of translucent lacquer in dark, graded shades to achieve the illusion of patina. This artisanal timepiece comes with a subdued black calf strap in single or double tour.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE REVERSO ONE WITH RED-WINE DIAL
All eyes may be on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control collection right now but that hasn’t stopped the inimitable Reverso from trying to score longing gazes with an arresting new colour.
The Reverso One Red-Wine is exactly what you’d expect from the name: The familiar Art Deco-inspired reversible case, glossy red dial from layers of lacquer and subtle sun ray guilloche, a dusting of diamonds and a case back you can personalise.
A quartz movement is used here to keep dimensions as demure as possible, and the result is yet another stylish and modern take on a legendary dress watch.
PIAGET LIMELIGHT GALA PRECIOUS SAPPHIRE GRADIENT REF. G0A45163
Piaget is well-versed in the ways of making a watch dazzle without resorting to lashings of diamonds. Inspired by a Piaget Patrimony piece from 1964, this year’s Limelight Gala Precious Sapphire Gradient relies on hand-engraved “palace” decoration for that extra sparkle on the gold dial and bracelet.
The process is so precise and tedious – requiring two hours for each dial – the same engraver has to work on both the dial and bracelet to ensure consistency. Matching the blue Grand Feu enamel dial is a bezel set with 20 diamonds and 22 sapphires – not as extravagant as the high jewellery pieces in the collection, obviously, but more versatile and no less gala-worthy.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONELLE TOURBILLON
It makes sense for Vacheron Constantin not to overwhelm its newest lady’s collection, Egerie, with too many fancy extras. This way, it gives people an opportunity to admire its “pleated” dial, elegant numerals and off-centred date or moon phase display.
But the manufacture also decided it was about time the ladies got their own automatic tourbillon, so the Traditionnelle line was chosen for its debut. The execution is straightforward, but effective. A diamond-set 39mm case in pink gold or fully-paved white gold is complemented by an equally eye-catching tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock. It is powered by the slim in-house Calibre 2160/1, giving the watch an overall thickness of 11.22mm.
ZENITH DEFY MIDNIGHT
It’s no longer enough for women’s watches of today to be small and pretty. Brands get brownie points when they also consider things like convenience, variety and a mechanical movement – all of which Zenith’s new Defy Midnight collection offers.
The starry sky dial comes in mother of pearl, gradient blue or gradient grey, the straps and bracelets are easily interchangeable, the bezels are available plain or with diamonds, and it features the in-house Zenith Elite 670 SK calibre, viewable from the back through a star-shaped rotor.