Words by @dimepiece.co
Fine watches have forever been a coveted luxury item, but a post-pandemic spike in growth — accentuated by a frenzy of hype — has transformed them from a want to a need. One particularly exciting element of watches’ increasing popularity is the amount of women getting into the space. Thanks in part to social media, the obsession around horological consuming and collecting — which was formerly largely reserved for men — has crept into the female psyche. Luckily for ‘les femmes,’ there’s a wealth of beautiful styles to choose from; and because it was the men’s watches that (until recently) garnered most of the attention, ladies’ fine watch models have flown gracefully under the radar, unscathed by the hype machine.
But with so much to choose from, how does one choose? Don’t fret. We’ve put together a brief guide to the most notable women’s fine watches from five of the most iconic watchmakers. This is the crème de la crème — fit for any collector, whether they’re seeking their first luxury watch or have been in the game long before the boys have.
Patek Philippe Nautilus watch
Patek Philippe once coined the famous slogan, ‘You never truly own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.’ These watches are not meant to be bought and flipped (although, they fetch huge prices on the secondary market, rendering them sure-fire investment pieces); they’re timepieces designed to be taken care of and passed down through generations. If you’re choosing what’s inherently an heirloom, why not go for the brand’s most sought-after model? The Nautilus.
Debuted in the 1970s, the Nautilus was designed by none other than Gérald Genta — the famous watchmaker also responsible for Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak. Despite mixed reviews following its launch, the Nautilus has evolved over time into a certified ‘hype watch.’ Thanks, in part, to a collaborative 5711 Nautilus with Tiffany & Co. that fetched over $6.5 million at auction in 2021. Unlike the aforementioned, however, the ladies' models remain underrated grails. This 26mm design’s smaller size balances out the model’s statement feel while the yellow gold pairs beautifully with the black dial, giving the metal’s soft tone an edge. Some watches do have it all.
Chopard Happy Hearts watch
If you’re not so familiar with the (capital W) Watch World, you may regard Chopard as a jewelry brand first and foremost — and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. The maison is renowned for its ‘haute joaillerie’ as well as ‘haute horlogerie’. Since its founding in 1860, Chopard remains a family business today, allowing the luxury of independence to fuel its high-spirited creations. The Happy Hearts watch — and the entire Happy Sport and Happy Diamonds offerings — is exemplary of this. These watches are whimsical and exciting, all while staying true to the maison’s high standards of craftsmanship. Simply put, the Happy Hearts watch proves that truly luxurious pieces don’t have to be so self-serious. Chopard showcases this principle wholeheartedly (get it?) with this model, defined by its floating, heart-shaped diamonds that positively dance on the wrist. This is your invitation to live, laugh and love a little.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is one of the most famous watches on the market, synonymous with the fiercely pioneering spirit that defined its release in the 1970s. The Royal Oak celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and the house has released a handful of limited-edition pieces to honor the milestone. Having graced the wrists of everyone from Jay-Z to Mark Ronson and Serena Williams (who all work with the brand), the Royal Oak is now known as the choice of GOATs.
The artfully severe edges of the Royal Oak are feminized in this 25mm release, accented with diamond markers. It’s a wonderful choice for those who prefer to enter a room without making a flashy entrance, instead favoring a more subtle method of charm. The Royal Oak is highly recognizable, of course, but the TTRO (Teeny Tiny Royal Oak, affectionately) is more of an ‘if you know, you know’ piece. Don’t be afraid to step into Offshore territory, too — this bold iteration of the Royal Oak evokes the audacity of Y2K in the way that only Audemars Piguet can.
Rolex Datejust watch
Rolex is a watchmaker that needs no introduction — it’s a household name by design. In fact, the name Rolex was originally chosen to transcend language and culture; it’s something everyone can pronounce without hesitation, as opposed to, let’s say, Audemars Piguet. Despite this everyman appeal, Rolex has maintained its aspirational, exclusive status, aligning with best-in-class talent and sporting events. If you’ve been to any professional tennis match or Formula 1 race, you’ll understand — one is practically enveloped in that signature dark green hue.
The Rolex Datejust is the iconic brand’s highest-selling model. The ‘Date’ in the name derives from its automatically changing date window, which was groundbreaking technology when it was first released in 1945. Today, it remains one of the most useful watches you can buy. The Datejust truly shines in its versatility — it goes with virtually everything, and, courtesy of its famous multi-link Jubilee bracelet, this timepiece has the power to effortlessly dress up athleisure. You might go for the gold, two-tone or an all-steel model like this one here, and the beauty is that, no matter what you choose, you cannot go wrong.
Omega Constellation watch
Did you know that the Omega Constellation watch was designed by a woman? Carol Didisheim created the innovative 1982 reissue at just 26, and it’s since become one of the brand’s most notable designs. You may be questioning the mention of its creator’s gender, but you’d be shocked to hear how few women are behind the design process of a watch; not to mention how few women sit at the table in the industry’s executive board meetings. Popularized by Cindy Crawford and 2000s icon Anna Kournikova, the Constellation is a testament to the enduring power of good design. Its integrated bracelet, signature ‘claws’ that latch onto a highly original bezel, and its ability to be customized are just a few of the many reasons why this watch has remained relevant since its inception. I personally favor the little Constellations, like this 25mm case design. It’s small without coming off as overly dainty — a powerhouse in a petite package.