Fact: the first wristwatch was made for a lady. The earliest recorded examples were made by Breguet for the Queen of Naples (1810) and by Patek Philippe for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary (1868). Wristwatches were in fact almost exclusively worn by women up until the early 20th century and mainly for the purposes of adornment more than to keep accurate time. Fast forward to today and the situation has transformed dramatically. Function – accuracy, reliability and technical innovation – is just as important as form in the eyes of today’s female multi hyphenates.
So what exactly do women want? Let’s start with these 10 new watches.
Breguet | Reine de Naples
The newest addition to Breguet’s emblematic ladies’ collection is fitted with a grand feu enamel dial — a first for this line. The dial’s elegantly muted design belies the effort that goes into its creation: grand feu enamel dials are notoriously difficult to produce, requiring successive firings in a kiln heated to temperatures exceeding 800°C just to obtain a refined and even sheen. Expressed in a vision of blue and white, the watch is offered in white gold and sparkle with more than 150 diamonds. It is powered by the self-winding manufacture calibre 537/3, which has a power reserve of 45 hours.
Cartier | Pasha de Cartier
The revamped Pasha de Cartier collection — a unisex collection comprising models differentiated only by case material and size — is perfect for the lady who defies gender pigeonholing. Available in two sizes (35mm and 41mm) in steel or gold, with or without diamonds, these watches remain faithful to the assertive nature of the original model from 1985, retaining features such as the four oversized Arabic numerals and the square filigree rail-track ensconced within the circular dial. From time-only variants to a diamond-paved skeletonised tourbillon model, all models include a chained crown and the option of a customisable engraving. Most of them are powered by the inhouse 1847 MC automatic calibre and almost all them (save for a high jewellery model) features Cartier’s QuickSwitch strap changing system.
Chanel | J12 Paradoxe Diamonds
Chanel fans — yup, that’s all of us — rejoice: your favourite watch has been reinterpreted in a brand-new way to mark its 20th anniversary. It remains quintessentially J12, bearing the same recognisable form with its glossy high-tech ceramic body in black and uniquely styled Arabic numerals. But while we’re used to seeing the J12 in solid colours of black or white, this one comes in black with a splice of baguette diamonds — some 4.5 cts worth to be exact. It’s utterly unconventional and a refreshing departure from all the other bejewelled watches out there. Its construction was no mean feat — the watch’s unique aesthetic fuses two cases, dial and bezel components of different dimensions together. It is powered by the same movement that was used since last year — the new Calibre 12.1 produced by Kenissi, the movement maker partly owned by Chanel.
Chopard | Happy Sport Joaillerie
What’s better than a diamond-set watch? Why a watch with diamonds that can move of course! Chopard’s Happy Sport line, featuring a dial with mobile diamonds trapped between two sapphire crystals, add two new models to the collection. Offered in diamond-set ethically mined white or rose gold, each watch is encased with seven prong-set diamonds that sparkle brightly as they whirl freely around the dial. Driving each watch is the ultra-thin self-winding 96.17-C mechanical movement that is based on the very first calibre created by the Chopard Manufacture.
Hermes | Cape Cod Martelée
Another beloved icon, Hermes’ Cape Cod, gets a fresh update in the form of a new decorative technique called hammering. Used predominantly in jewellery making, it is executed on the Cape Cod’s steel case to give a textured patina-type effect. A hammered dial coated with lacquer in graded shades of anthracite and black, as well as a black calf strap in single or double tour versions, completes the aesthetic.
Hublot | Big Bang One Click Marc Ferrero
First launched in vibrant shades of red or turquoise, Hublot’s collaboration with contemporary artist Marc Ferrero is now available in white or black to represent the duality of day and night. Lacquered dials in white and black, with just a pop of crimson, depict Ferrero’s most emblematic work, Lipstick, the modern-day heroine that represents the artist’s tribute to today’s multifaceted women. Limited to 100 pieces in each variant, each one is driven by a self-winding movement and come equipped with Hublot’s one-click strap changing system.
Jaeger-LeCoultre | Reverso One Red Wine
An icon like the Reverso defies trends. First introduced more than 90 years ago, its shape and style have largely remained the same and its resilience in a rapidly evolving world is like fine red wine that gets better with age. This liquid gold is also, coincidentally, the new colour of the Reverso’s latest feminine expression. The new Reverso One Red Wine is inspired by the first Reverso Lady model from 1931 and features the same row of grain-set diamonds on the gadroons at the top and bottom of the case. The red-lacquered dial, subtle sunray guilloché pattern and white Arabic numerals project a decisively feminine allure, while the solid steel case back of the watch serves as an open canvas for one to personalise her watch.
Omega | Trésor
New colours and a new material inspired by the moon’s ethereal glow are added to Omega’s Trésor collection. The watches are offered in 36 or 39mm partially set cases in steel or Moonshine gold, a gold alloy unique to Omega that is paler and more resistant to fading compared to traditional yellow gold. Powered by Omega’s calibre 4061, they bear domed dials in embossed Moonshine gold or white mother of pearl and rhodium-plated or diamond polished hands. The emblematic floral “Her Time” pattern features prominently on their mirrored casebacks while leather straps in eye-catching colours like emerald green, rhodium or nude complete the aesthetic.
Vacheron Constantin | Traditionelle Ladies Tourbillon
The watchmaker’s first self-winding tourbillon watch for ladies is the perfect ticker for one who loves her diamonds and high complications. There are two versions available: in white gold with brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds blanketing the case and dial (for those who simply adore diamonds); or in pink gold with diamonds on the case and around the tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock (for those who prefer a slight touch of discretion). Both variants feature the in-house 2160 calibre (also found within the original Traditionnelle Tourbillon and the Overseas Tourbillon) which includes a small seconds display on the tourbillon in the form of a blackened screw. Despite its slender proportions, the watch provides a comfortable 80 hours of power reserve thanks to its 22k gold peripheral rotor.
Zenith | Elite Moonphase Romeo y Julieta
The latest collaboration between Zenith and Habanos is a poetic tribute to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, also the name of Habanos’ award-winning cigar brand, Romeo y Julieta. Since Romeo and Juliet lived out their bittersweet romance in the shadow of the night with the moon and stars as their only witness, it made perfect sense that the Elite Moonphase was chosen for this collaboration (which also makes it the first special edition of Zenith’s newly redesigned Elite collection). The double hemispherical moonphase complication also symbolises their tragic romance: laser etched with the faces of Romeo or Juliet, they are locked in an eternal chase across the night sky. Driven by the Elite 692 self-winding manufacture movement, the collection is offered in a 40.5mm “Romeo” stainless steel case and a 36mm “Julieta” stainless steel diamond-set case. Each variant is limited to 145 pieces only in commemoration of the cigar brand’s 145th anniversary.