No bling, no fuss: The best everyday watches for women to wear in 2021
No occasion? No problem. Here are 10 discreet yet stylish timepieces to show off your horological savvy from your next Zoom call to your weekly grocery runs.
You may not have a soiree at which to flaunt those diamond-studded skeletonised flying tourbillons for a while, but that doesn’t mean your wrist needs to go unadorned. We’ve rounded up the most wearable women’s watches of 2021 so that you can continue your days in style while discreetly showing off your horological savvy from your next Zoom call to your weekly grocery runs.
Those models have, until recently, been fairly large and complicated, so this downsized and simplified time and date-only Royal Oak in black ceramic is perfect for those who love the cult design but could do without the predictability.
Impressively, the 34mm ceramic case and bracelet boast identical finishes – the contrasting brushed and polished surfaces loved by so many – to the metal versions. Another feature that sets this model apart is the use of 18K pink gold bezel screws, instead of the usual white gold, to match the markers, logo and hands.
BAUME & MERCIER RIVIERA 36MM
The bezel is a dead giveaway as to which trend Baume & Mercier has resurrected its Riviera collection for, but who cares about a little contrivance as long as the end result looks good?
The new Riviera maintains all of the charm of the 1970s from whence it came thanks to a familiar but well-loved design, and throws in exposed screws and a textured dial to keep things fresh and fashionable for the 21st century.
There are four versions of the women’s 36mm models, but the silver-faced Ref. 10615 is the only one that uses the automatic Selita SW200 movement with 38 hours of power reserve and a 4Hz frequency. The rest are powered by quartz calibres.
BREITLING SUPEROCEAN HERITAGE ’57 PASTEL PARADISE CAPSULE COLLECTION
Luxury watchmakers realising that precious metals and diamonds aren’t the only paths to women’s wrists has opened up a world of new and stylish options.
After having dabbled with coloured stones in its previous capsule collection, the Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea, Breitling is now just playing with colours with six models making up the Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise range.
If it weren’t for their rotating bezels and 100m water resistance, it would be hard to guess these 38mm wrist candies were dive watches, but these largely tone-on-tone designs will be perfect for a breezy beach day.
CARTIER PASHA DE CARTIER 30MM
Cartier has offered up plenty of shapes to choose from this year, from its iconic Tank and Santos to the nearly forgotten Cloche, but if all you want is a classic round case, Cartier’s pretty good at those, too.
Following a relaunch last year that gave the overhauled Pasha de Cartier convenient interchangeable straps, sapphire case backs, a new crown and personalised engraving options, it is back this year with an even daintier quartz version coming in at 30mm, with options in steel, pink gold or both.
There are gold models with diamonds, but we feel the absence of ice enhances the strength and purity of the Pasha’s design language.
CHANEL J12 ELECTRO
This year’s crop of rainbow-hued watches were a lively display of hope, cheer and carat-driven indulgence, but not everyone can or wants to pull off something quite so flashy.
For them, we recommend the Chanel J12 Electro, the quietest of the brand’s electro-funk inspired collection. The standard J12 design in smooth, shiny black ceramic gets just a wink of colour with graduated neon rainbow hour and bezel markers.
There’s even an electronic playlist to go with it, launched in collaboration with Ed Banger Records and available on Apple Music and Spotify. The quartz-powered 33mm watch is a limited edition of 1,255 pieces and available only at Chanel boutiques.
LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR STREET DIVER
Trust a fashion house to transform one of the most rugged category watches into an expression of spirited summer refreshment.
Thanks to strategic use of colour, shapes and font, Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Street Diver in Pacific White is as chic as it is sporty. The straps are, of course, interchangeable, too.
Its 39.5mm stainless steel case makes this an uncommonly small example of a dive watch, which is ideal for smaller wrists, but will still be fit for diving duty as it includes an inner rotating bezel, generously lumed indices and water resistance of 100m.
This reference is powered by a time-only quartz movement with a small seconds sub-dial.
OMEGA SEAMASTER AQUA TERRA 38MM
Classic, casual and always ready for a day aboard a yacht, Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra welcomes a subtle update this year with a new seconds sub-dial and date at 6 o’clock.
There are 10 variations of the 38mm models to choose from, which vary between steel and 18K Sedna (rose) gold cases with dials in light green, dark green, linen, or mother-of-pearl.
We are partial to the full steel version with the mother-of-pearl hour markers on a satin-brushed dark green dial for its easy elegance and on-trend colouring. Ticking away inside it is the Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8802, which means it is not only highly precise but also resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss.
PANERAI LUMINOR PICCOLO DUE MADREPERLA
Launched in 2017, Panerai’s Luminor Due line was conceived to be the brand’s answer to the slim and elegant dress watch – something it has spent its long history actively avoiding.
But love it or loathe it, Panerai has doubled down with its first unquestionably feminine offering, the Luminor Piccolo Due Madreperla. The traditionally chunky Luminor case is now at a demure 38mm in Goldtech (Panerai’s red gold alloy) and matched with a red alligator strap, though this can be easily swapped out for another strap.
The dial is mother-of-pearl, and the applied gold indices and hands are filled with green Super-Luminova. The in-house automatic Calibre P.900 keeps it ticking, and will continue to do so for three days without winding.
RADO CAPTAIN COOK MARINA HOERMANSEDER
Watch and designer collaborations mean we get the full suite of technical goodies inside an unquestionably solid design, so they’re always worth looking out for.
In this case, Rado has teamed up with French-Austrian designer Marina Hoermanseder, whose bright, buckle-loving apparel and accessories are adored by celebrities like Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez and more.
The 37mm stainless steel watch gets a sprinkle of rose gold colouring and, because this is Rado, the bezel features a polished white ceramic insert. Hoermanseder’s trademark buckle and leather strap can be found on the three accompanying straps in pink, black, and a double tour version in pink – all of which can be effortlessly interchanged.
RICHARD MILLE RM 07-01 COLOURED CERAMICS
In 2019, Richard Mille came in far out of left field with its Bonbon collection, a sugary antithesis to the brand’s typically ultra-tough, athlete-approved performance watches.
That lighthearted streak is back this year with a trio of pastel watches inspired by Miami’s Art Deco architecture and fun-loving attitude.
The cases are made of TZP ceramic, while the dials are assembled using inserts of ceramic, geometrically pattered rubber and, for the first time in the brand’s history, guillochage. They are powered by the in-house self-winding CRMA2 movement, and each reference is limited to just 50 pieces.