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Not quite jewelry, not quite tools in the age of smartphones, watches are weird. And that’s why we love them. The best watches for women deliver grown-up style that can pull together any outfit (not to mention start conversations).
If you’re currently pondering a new watch, you’re in luck: The watch world — like so many industries — is having an awakening around gender. Previously, women in search of a good timepiece had two options: They could dig through a meager supply of sparkly, dainty, second-rate watches in the ladies section, or they could try to find a men’s watch that didn’t look clownishly large. But that’s changing. Today, the best watches for women are just as good-looking and well-made as their men’s counterparts — if you know where to look.
Still, with so many brands, styles and specifications, shopping for women’s watches can seem like a lot of work. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best watches for women to pick up right now.
What to Know Before Buying a Women’s Watch Online
Watch storefronts are great, but web stores now offer more inventory and better deals on certified-authentic timepieces than physical stores. While perusing the best watches for women online, here are a few key specifications to keep in mind.
Style: Build quality and accuracy are important, but they don’t matter if you think a watch is ugly. Before picking up a new timepiece, consider your personal style and how you’ll typically wear a watch (say, to the office, while traveling, on dates or maybe everywhere). Then, pick a watch that’s suited to your personal style.
Size: As the main differentiator between men’s and women’s watches, size makes a difference. The key measurement is case diameter, which, for women’s watches, usually ranges from about 26 to 36 millimeters. Larger ladies’ watches have been trending recently, although we also love the vintage sixties/nineties look of a petite face.
Brand: Certain watch brands (and brand nationalities) indicate craftsmanship and a history of premium build quality. Plus, some high-end brands have proven that their watches value after purchase (for example, many Rolex models either hold their value or even appreciate over time). Therefore, the best watches for women usually come from well-known watchmakers.
Movement: A watch’s movement is its internal system that keeps time. Watch movements come in three varieties: mechanical, automatic and quartz.
Mechanical watches don’t require any kind of charging, but they need to be hand-wound every day or every other day. Automatic movements are similar to mechanical but, instead of hand-winding, they harness the kinetic energy of the wearer’s wrist movement to “charge” themselves. (However, if left stationary, automatic watches will run out of power and need resetting.) Quartz watches use a small battery that needs to be replaced every two years or so, but, while the battery is alive, the best Quartz watches are very accurate.
Water-resistance: Between rain, swimming, showers and splashes from the sink, your watch is likely to get wet at some point. However, a watch’s water-resistance rating can be misleading. If a watch is rated at 30 meters water resistance, it shouldn’t get wet at all. If it’s rated for depths of 50 meters or more, then the watch is safe for swimming or showering. Anything rated as water-resistant over 99 meters is ready for real diving.
The Best Watches for Women
Whether you’re looking to invest in an heirloom-worthy timepiece, bring tech to your wrist or spruce up daily outfits, there’s a great watch to make it happen. Below are some of the best watches for women that you can order online right now.
1. Cartier Tank Francaise
Few watches have the understated class of a Cartier Tank. A favorite of Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana, the Swiss-made, French-designed timepiece is marked by a square case and crisp lines. It comes in a range of material options, including the old-school gold with a brown leather strap combo, but we’re big fans of this silver Francaise. Thanks to its unique look, the Francaise can be paired with everything from jeans and a tee to your fanciest getup, evoking vintage-inspired charm with contemporary cool.
2. Longines Mini DolceVita
The Mini DolceVita from luxury Swiss watchmaker Longines, bears a similarly-shaped dial, but the stunning timepiece was actually inspired by a rectangular Longines watch first released in 1927. Longines excels at quiet luxury and the company’s dedication to perfecting the details of watchmaking are on full display here, from the refined lines and contours of the dial to the steel blue hands and stainless steel bracelet (the watch comes in different colors and strap configurations too).
We like the so-called “Cosmo” circular dial inside the rectangular case, which adds visual intrigue and contrast. This is a watch that conjures elegance and class no matter how you wear it — or where you wear it to. Further proof of the Mini DolceVita’s versatility (and star power)? Jennifer Lawrence was just unveiled as Longines’ newest ambassador, starring in a new campaign video that shows the A-list star wearing her Mini DolceVita watch from day to night. As Longines CEO Matthias Breschan declared at the launch event for Lawrence’s campaign, “These stunning jewel watches are not only built on a rich heritage, they are also contemporary models for dynamic, spirited women such as our guests of honor tonight.”
3. Casio LA11WB-1 Sport Watch
Seen on everyone from Kristen Stewart to Bill Gates to Serena Williams, Casio watches hold a special place in the hearts of watch enthusiasts and this LA11WB-1 model earns its place on our list thanks to its genre and generation-defying aesthetic.
The sporty watch is a great example with Casio’s throwback eighties vibe, a bang-on Japanese quartz movement and ribbed black resin wristband. Rock the watch with bold date night outfits (maybe a blazer and jeans) or wear it every day while traveling. All the features you grew up loving about a Casio are here too, from the stopwatch to the perpetual calendar. It’s water-resistant up to 100 feet too if you want to swap out your fitness bands for something a little more stylish.
4. Rolex Datejust Pink Dial Oyster Watch
Rolex is the most recognized name in luxury watchmaking for a reason. The storied brand’s pieces are timelessly elegant and incredibly robust, translating to watches that keep ticking and looking good for generations. Right now, we think this pink dial Oyster is one of Rolex’s best picks for women. It’s minimally styled, and the watch’s pale pink dial introduces a tasteful dash of femininity. The movement — a Rolex Calibre 2236 automatic — charges itself while on your wrist.
While Rolex watches are among the most expensive picks on this list, they also hold their value incredibly well, making the Datejust — and any Rolex watch really — a true investment pieces for years to come.
5. Seiko SWR054
Can’t swing a fancy Swiss watch? Seiko has you covered. This SWR054 brings throwback dress watch style at a very attainable price point. The watch boasts a gold-tone stainless steel case, a white face and vintage Roman numeral hour markers. Inside you’ll find Seiko’s highly-accurate Japanese quartz movement, and, surprisingly for a dress watch, this one boasts 50 meters water resistance (meaning it’s safe to bring in the shower or wear while swimming).
We love the way the leather band will patina over time, getting softer with each wear while achieving that desirable “worn in” quality. The gold-colored case adds a touch of luxury without going over the top.
6. Hermes Heure H Quartz White Dial
Clothing brands sometimes struggle to produce great watches. But not Hermes. Since the 1930s, the French label has been making elegant watches that straddle jewelry and time-keeping for something unique. The double wrap design, seen here in the Heure H watch, is one of the signature details you’ll see on Hermes watches. Plus, most of the components are actually crafted by a Swiss company, Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, ensuring a high level of quality and accuracy.
The watch is in keeping with Hermes’ equestrian-inspired aesthetic, though it works as beautifully out of the field and at the office (or gala) as well.
7. Breda Revel
Based out of Dallas, Texas, Breda has made a name for itself by tapping into our nostalgic side. The brand’s watches, such as this Revel, evoke mid-century cocktail parties and Mad Men office looks. The Revel measures a petite 14 by 18 millimeters, and its green hands complement the gold-tone case, bracelet and face. Better still, the watch keeps time with a reliable Japanese quartz movement from Seiko.
8. Timex Indiglo Easy Reader
If you’re looking to nail a Nineties aesthetic, check out this Timex Easy Reader. The no-frills watch features a silver-tone 25-millimeter brass case and a delicate black leather strap. Together, these straightforward design notes make it one of the most wearable, casual watches you can get.
Timex makes a number of other models that we recommend, from their best-selling field and fitness watches to a limited-edition Pan-Am collection that launched over the summer. These are watches that are as versatile as they are stylish, and an easy pickup online.
9. Apple Watch Series 8
We love old-school analog watches, but smartwatches deserve a spot in everyone’s watch box. The best-selling watch in the world, the Apple Watch needs no introduction. With GPS and cellular, the newest Series 8 can do almost everything your iPhone can — as well as track health data like sleep, heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Plus, thanks to its customizable display, sleek case and ample color option, the new Apple Watch looks pretty great too.
10. Tissot Everytime Desire Dress Watch
Tissot has over 160 years of expertise — far more than most budget-friendly watch brands. This Everytime Desire dress watch is a great choice from the celebrated Swiss brand, delivering an eye-catching stainless steel bracelet and minimal face. As the name suggests, the Everytime’s low-key, timeless style can really work with every outfit.
In our opinion, Tissot is one of the most underrated women’s watch brands out there and worth considering if you’re looking for a decent watch in the under $500 range.
11. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Medium Duetto
For something truly spectacular and eye-watching, consider upgrading to a Jaeger. One of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world, Jaeger-LeCoultre is an excellent source for classic, ultra-premium timepieces. The Reverso is one of the brand’s best-selling models, seen here in silver with a white dial and a black leather strap. It’s at home in board rooms and ballrooms, but we think the watch looks great with casual attire too.