Top ten women’s watches that aren’t insulting

Insulting? According to Yann Gamard, CEO of Glashütte Original, Nayla Hayek asked him to make a watch that “wouldn’t insult her.” Perhaps the insulting things that she had in mind was wtaches that are just downsized men’s watches, or watches covered from top to bottom in diamonds. In any case, the result was the Pavonina by Glashütte Original, which is definitely not an insulting watch. Here are my top five of the women’s watches seen at the two 2014 watch fairs, in no particular order.

1. Pavonina, Glashütte Original
1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_FR_15cm copyWith this watch, the people at Glashütte Original show that in their opinion, for a women’s watch:
– a quartz movement is OK, because many women aren’t interested in geeky things about the movement, and they want to be able to take the watch out of their box, drawer or safe without having to rewind it and reset the time;
– dial, case and strap design are important;
– special case shapes (not round) are good;
– strap colour is important;
– a few diamonds are always appreciated, and likewise a mother-of-pearl dial.
The Pavonina, reference 1-03-01-05-34-30, has a case in white gold, 31 x 31 millimetres, very slim at 7.5 mm thickness. The strap is in a satin-look ‘Radiant Orchid’ colour. The quartz movement provides hour, minute and date indiations, and keeps running for 48 months before the battery has to be changed. There are diamonds on the case, lugs, dial and crown; the case has an interesting design, cushion-shaped, with diamonds framing a circular mother-of-pearl dial, with diamond hour indicators, and an area of pavé diamonds at the centre that reflects the same cushion shape as the case. The diamonds on the bezel are cleverly graded to enable the circular dial to fit the cushion-shaped exterior line. The way that the lugs are hinged to the case provides great mobility, so that the watch sits very comfortably and adapts to the curve of even a small wrist.

1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_PR6_25cm copy

1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_PR5_25cm copy

1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_PR4_25cm copy

1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_PR1_25cm copy

1-03-01-05-34-30_Pavonina_WG_Brill_SB_PR7_25cm copy

 

2. Cartier Tortue
Tortue_watch_medium_model_pink_gold copyThis is a classic watch, dating back to 1912, now available in a new series. You could say that it has stood the test of time, along with the other Cartier special-shaped watches, such as the Tonneau, Baignoire and Crash watches. The name Tortue comes from tortoise, and the shape is roughly inspired by this animal, though the original domed watchglass that suggested the curving shell of the tortoise has been abandoned for a more modern, flatter and more attractive flat glass. Its lines, slimness, relatively large dial and delicate curves make it immediately recognizable. The case is 34 x 28 mm in size, and 7.6 mm thick. Inside it has a mechanical, hand-wound movement, providing hour and minute indications shown with sword-shaped hands.The watch is available in several versions: small and medium sized, in white gold, pink gold, or diamond set; with leather strap for use during the day, or a flexible bracelet for use in the evening. Tortue also exists in men’s models.

Tortue by Cartier, small, white gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, small, white gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, medium sized, pink gold, brown alligator strap

Tortue by Cartier, medium sized, pink gold, brown alligator strap

Tortue by Cartier, medium-sized model, white gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, medium-sized model, white gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, small version, pink gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, small version, pink gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, small, pink gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, small, pink gold and diamonds

Tortue by Cartier, medium, pink gold

Tortue by Cartier, medium, pink gold

 

3. Lucea by Bulgari
Lvcea_1-1200Lucea by Bulgari, or LVCEA by BVLGARI. Very confusing. The brand actually distributed a press release a few months ago saying how they wanted their name spelled, Bulgari when it’s lower case and BVLGARI when it’s all capitals. It’s connected to the brand’s Roman origins, that they underline using references to Ancient Roman lettering. But that’s just a detail. Lucea is a watch that has a lot of thought and a lot of design incorporated into it, combining the heritage of their Serpenti range in the bracelets, with some new features. The most important visual element is the crown, which dominates the watch with its large size, smooth surface, and construction with a cabochon-cut pink stone and a diamond set at the centre. The watch has a mechanical Calibre B77 self-winding movement, for hours, minutes and seconds, and a date window at 3 o’clock, It has 42 hours power reserve. The watch is 28 or 33 mm in diameter, and the many versions available range from steel case and bracelet with silver-toned dial right through to precious metals. Bulgari want it to become (sorry, I have to write a horribly over-used word) iconic, and personally I think it could well become just that. The design is excellent, the detailing exquisite, the bracelet is amazing.

Lvcea_MOP-1200

Lvcea_crown-1200

Lvcea_bridge-1200Lvcea_bracelet-1200

Lvcea_black_2-1200

Lvcea_black_1-1200

 

 

4. Élégante by F.P. Journe

WHITE_FACE copy-1200Élégante is the first collection of women’s watches by F.P. Journe, and it reflects a lot of thought in designing a watch specifically for women. Its principal practical characteristic is its movement, much more than a simple quartz movement: it has 126 components, and it is elecromechanical. It has a mechanical motion detector, visible at 5 o’clock on the dial. When the watch is not worn, the gears, rotors and hands stop after about thirty minutes, and the movement goes into standby mode. But the microprocessor is still measuring time, and when you pick it up again, the motion detector sets it into motion, and it automatically sets itself to the correct time. In this process, the hands take the shortest path, rotating clockwise or anticlockwise, again to conserve energy. As a result, the watch has a power reserve that reaches 18 years in standby mode, and 10 years in normal use.

The case has a “tortue” (tortoise) shape, comfortably sized at 34 x 35 mm, slim at 7.35 mm thickness; the dial is luminescent for an attractive appearance by night. It is made in several versions, in titanium, with coloured partitions on the case and a rubber strap available in matching colour, white, pink, light blue, midnight blue, chocolate, burgundy, red or khaki; in a red gold version with chocolate stap; a platinum version with dark blue strap; and a jewellery version with diamond-set bezel.

The caseback is transparent, revealing the battery bridge which is decorated with Côtes de Genève, and the circuitry, with the electronic chip marked by a heart motif. All parts of the watch are made in Switzerland.

WHITE_3_4 copy-1200

Élégante by F.P. Journe, version in gold, with chocolate-colour rubber strap. The motion detector can be seen at 5 o'clock.

Élégante by F.P. Journe, version in gold, with chocolate-colour rubber strap. The motion detector can be seen at 5 o’clock.

OR_3_4 copy-1200

Caseback showing the battery bridge with Cotes de Genève decoration, the heart-shape denoting the microprocessor, and the circuitry

Caseback showing the battery bridge with Cotes de Genève decoration, the heart-shape denoting the microprocessor, and the circuitry

The dial is coated with luminescent SuperLuminova, providing an attractive visibility

The dial is coated with luminescent SuperLuminova, providing an attractive visibility

 

5. Harry Winston, Midnight collection
HW_Midnight Diamond Second 39mm_front_white background_low-1200The Midnight collection by Harry Winston comprises circular watches with models for men and women, and the two women’s pieces described here are carefully designed and decorated. The maison built its success on the founder’s brilliance in using diamonds, and many watches by Harry Winston are showcases for displaying lots of gemstones. These two pieces are more subtle, with gold and champagne colours and gem-set bezels. They are at the top end of size for women’s watches at 39 mm diameter, with 10 mm thickness.

Midnight Diamond Second 39mm has the classic Harry Winston design elements: the triple rectangle motif at the crown, a reference to the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue where the motif is part of the door surround; the HW logo, with an outline in the shape of an emerald-cut diamond, Harry’s favourite; and the lily cluster motif, one of the brand’s jewellery classic, at 6 o’clock, forming a frame for the small seconds display. This is attractive, with a three-leaved rotor with three diamonds, one at each tip, that rotates in a window so that one diamond is visible at all times, through a window framed by the lily cluster motif above. This watch has an automatic mechanical movement, calibre HW2201, and it can be seen through the sapphire caseback. The case is set with 91 diamonds, with another 9 on the dial and three on the small seconds indicator.

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, automatic movement

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, automatic movement

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, automatic movement, detail of the small seconds indicator with the lily cluster motif and the three-petal rotor that rotates, so that one of the three diamonds at the tips of the petals is visible at any given moment

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, automatic movement, detail of the small seconds indicator with the lily cluster motif and the three-petal rotor that rotates, so that one of the three diamonds at the tips of the petals is visible at any given moment

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, an image showing the lily cluster motif that the brand uses in its jewellery collections

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Second 39mm, an image showing the lily cluster motif that the brand uses in its jewellery collections

The Midnight Moon Phase 39mm has a rosé champagne dial with an undulating circular guilloché, with the moon phase display at the centre of the watch. This is surrounded by a circle of pink gold set with diamonds, which connects to a small circular window for the date at 6 o’clock. The moon phase display is tilted to about 45°, and the moon disc is decorated with black stars, while the guilloché screen above has some gold stars. This watch has a quartz movement and a solid caseback. The case is set with 91 diamonds, with another 70 on the dial.

Both watches have a brown alligator strap.

Harry Winston Midnight Moon Phase 39mm

Harry Winston Midnight Moon Phase 39mm

Midnight Moon Phase 39mm, with quartz movement providing hours, minutes, date and moon phase

Midnight Moon Phase 39mm, with quartz movement providing hours, minutes, date and moon phase

 

6. Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial
This watch was introduced in 2013 as part of the Hybris Artistica collection, a series of 12 watches celebrating the brand’s verticalized structure, with all crafts techniques performed in-house. The Rendez-Vous Célestial showcases jaeger-LeCoultre’s gemsetting, and in particular its patented Rock-Setting technique in which no metal can be seen between the stones. They are held from below, and so have extra dazzle. The diamond-set dial frames a rotating disc of lapis lazuli, hand-painted with the twelve signs of the zodiac. Another poetic touch is a shooting star whose position can be set using a second crown. It can be used to mark an appointment or a special time. This poetic approach to time gives it some similarities to Van Cleef & Arpels. The bracelet is entirely diamond-set.

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial, detail of the lapis lazuli rotating dial with star-sign constellations and months

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial, detail of the lapis lazuli rotating dial with star-sign constellations and months

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial, design drawing

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rendez-Vous Célestial, design drawing

 

7. Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic
The Bohème range for women includes a lovely perpetual calendar, and the Date Automatic, both confirming Montblanc’s recent policy of using third-party movements to make watches at attractively low prices. The case is 30 mm in diameter, with delicately curved lugs for extra comfort. The white dial has a sunburst guilloché motif at the centre, with elliptical notches at top and bottom; the latter encloses the date window. The self-winding calibre MB 24.14 movement has a power reserve of 38 hours. The watch is available in a number of versions, in red gold or stainless steel, with bezel set with diamonds, and alligator straps in colours including black, white, grey and warm aubergine. Alternatively, there are bracelets in steel, or steel and gold. There is also a two-colour leather strap in yellow and orange, or light and dark blue. The Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery has the central part of the dial entirely set in diamonds.

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery, detail

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery, detail

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic, versions with two-colour straps

Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic, versions with two-colour straps

 

8. Vacheron Constantin Malte
Vacheron Constantin have been making watches with tonneau-shaped cases since 1912, and it is a classically Art Deco motif. The new Malte collection includes three models for women, and one for men. The women’s watches are comfortably sized at 28 mm wide, 38 high and 7.7 mm thick. The different models have diamond-set bezel, sandblasted silver-toned dial, or a dial entirely paved with diamonds. The in-house movement Calibre 1400 provides hours and minutes, with another version (1400 AS) also providing small seconds. Power reserve is about 40 hours. The movement can be viewed through the sapphire caseback.

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

Vacheron Constantin, Malte, reference 81515/000G-9891

9. Richard Mille RM 07-01

The RM 07-01 is both traditional, with its tonneau shape and area of pavé diamonds on the dial, and innovative, with bezel and caseback in white ceramic which provides an interesting contrast with the black PVD baseplate and bridges, and the satin red gold caseband with polished pillars. The watch is 45.6 x 31.4 mm in size, 11.85 mm thick.

The CRMA2 automatic movement is skeletonized, visible through the sapphire caseback. Its rotor has a variable geometry system, with two weights fixed with spline screws: the watchmaker can adjust the rotor inertia by moving the position of the weights on the rotor. This adapts the watch to the user’s lifestyle. Power reserve is about 50 hours. Variable inertia is also used to regulate the balance, which has small adjustable weights.

The same attention to design can be seen in visual details, such as the lovely crown in ceramic and red gold, and the droplet-shaped indices. The watch is also available in brown ceramic, and in white or red gold. The case is water-resistant to 50 metres.

frontandback

rm4

crown

RM1

 

10. La Grande Classique, Longines
Minimalist beauty, in two versions, one with a quartz movement (L4.709.4.11.2), one with a self-winding mechanical movement (L4.708.4.11.6). Pure simplicity, with just hours and minutes, in a 33 millimetre diameter case, 4.4 mm thick in the case of the quartz version, 7.05 mm for the mechanical version. In stainless steel, with black alligator strap or stainless steel bracelet.

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.709.4.11.2, quartz movement

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.709.4.11.2, quartz movement

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.708.4.11.6, mechanical movement

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.708.4.11.6, mechanical movement

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.704.0.11.2

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.704.0.11.2

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.704.0.11.2

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.704.0.11.2

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.741.0.11.2

La Grande Classique, Longines, L4.741.0.11.2

One thought on “Top ten women’s watches that aren’t insulting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.