After the post about the cheapest mechanical watches for men, it was time to do the same for women. Here it is more difficult. The market research conducted by high-end brands shows that many women prefer a watch that is simple to use and carries on running even when they’ve put it in a drawer for a few weeks or months, and this is only possible with a quartz movement. And so brands like Patek Philippe, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Longines and Glashutte Original make beautiful diamond-encrusted watches for women with quartz movements. Tastes have also changed, and preferred watch diameters for both sexes have increased. Men’s watches used to be 36-39 mm, and this has now increased to 39-42 mm as standard. Likewise women wear larger watches. IWC launched its Portofino Midsize collection in September 2014, and the diameter of 37 mm makes it ideal for both men and women.
In this article, I’ll be looking for mechanical watches whose size and decoration make them typically women’s pieces, and concentrating on the entry-level sector, under €1,000. If you’re out watch-hunting, it’s useful to know that you can usually distinguish a mechanical watch from a quartz watch by the word “automatic” that appears on the dial of a mechanical watch.
Longines HydroConquest Ladies
This is the classic diving watch, in a women’s size with case diameter 29.5 mm. It has all the features required from a diving watch, such as recognisably different hour and minute hands with luminescent coating, a second hand to show that the watch is working, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and water resistance rated at 300 metres. It has a screw-in crown, a solid screw-down caseback, and a steel bracelet with double security folding clasp and diving extension. The calibre L595 movement, based on the ETA 2000/1, provides 40 hours power reserve. It is ETA’s compact version of the classic 2892-A2 that powers countless men’s watches: it is 19.4 mm in diameter when compared to the 26.6 mm of the 2892-A2. Features include quick-setting date (set in a third crown position) and the stop-seconds function for precision time adjustment. Reference L3.218.104.22.168, price about €930. http://www.longines.com/
This classic three-hand watch with date has a stainless steel case 29.5 mm in diameter, with features that indicate a close relation to the HydroConquest above: a screw-in crown, solid screw-down caseback, 300 metres water resistance. The calibre L595 movement provides 40 hours power reserve. It has a white dial with applied Arabic numerals at 12 and 6, and applied baton indices for the other hour markings. The bracelet is in stainless steel with bright and satin finish, with triple folding clasp and push-piece opening. Reference L3.222.214.171.124, price about €965. http://www.longines.com/
Tissot Lady T072 Automatique
With a stainless steel case 34 mm in diameter and 9.3 mm thick, this comes in a number of different versions, all with the new ETA Powermatic 80 movement that provides 80 hours power reserve. Sapphire watchglass and caseback. Prices from €595 to €895. More details and online purchases at http://www.tissot.ch/ In the photos below, from left, reference T072.207.11.128.00, €595; T072.207.11.116.00, price €895; T072.207.22.118.00, price €695.
Mondia Madison 9230
One of the women’s watches by Italian brand Mondia is the Madison automatic watch 9230, reference 1-693-2, with a Swiss ETA movement in a 32 mm case, and a steel bracelet with a combination of gloss and satin links. It is quite a chunky piece, solid, with sapphire caseback. Price €520. Read more here. Or visit the Mondia website http://www.mondiawatchgroup.com/
Certina DS Podium Lady
This is an attractive watch at prices ranging from €420 to €620 according to strap and bracelet materials, and details including a cabochon on the crown. Case diameter is 32.5 mm, stainless steel, with a transparent display caseback. More info from http://www.certina.com/ In the photos below, from left, C025.207.16.037.00, about €420; C025.207.16.427.00, about €520; C025.207.11.037.00, about €550; C025.207.22.038.00, about €620.
Certina DS Caimano
In a range of ten models with different dial and strap design, this watch has prices ranging from €420 to €620. Case diameter is 27 mm, stainless steel, with a transparent display caseback. http://www.certina.com/ In the photos below, from left, C017.207.16.057.00, about €420; C017.207.22.037.00, about €495.
Certina DS1 Lady
Case diameter is 27 mm, stainless steel, with a transparent display caseback . Six models, prices range from €550 to €640. http://www.certina.com/ In the photos below, C006.207.16.031.00, about €550; C006.207.16.051.00, about €550; C006.207.22.031.00, about €640