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A complete guide to ladies’ luxury watches

A complete guide to ladies’ luxury watches

Tuesday, 02 October 2018
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William McNish
Strategic Planner at RE-UP

“There is nothing quite as beautiful as the spark in a person's eye when you bring up something they are passionate about.”

Creative flare with an analytic mindset.

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8 min read

We’re entering a new golden era for women’s luxury timepieces, with products that are just as impressive technically and arguably more stunning visually than their male counterparts.

The landscape of ladies’ watches is changing, and fast. For some brands, Cartier and Piaget to name a couple, ladies’ watches are not only their most popular lines but their priority. Yet in a highly saturated men’s market, producing technically brilliant ladies’ watches with impressive movements is actually fairly new for most brands. To guide you through this ever-changing environment, we’ve put together a complete guide to ladies’ watches, covering everything from expert views and celebrity interviews to social media analyses and 2018’s new releases.

A changing approach

There was a time when run-of-the-mill quartz movements were standard for women’s watches, and brands were too concerned with design to realise that women were after more than traditional ‘feminine beauty’. Now, more and more Fine Watchmakers are creating timepieces that are as technically astonishing on the inside as they are beautiful on the outside.

  • In 2013, Jaeger-LeCoultre revealed its Rendez-Vous collection, a hallmark for ladies’ watches which accounted for 45% of the brand’s revenue last year. Ladies’ watches have gone from high-jewellery to high-tech, since luxury watch brands started listening to what women want.

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  • Brands are coming to realise the potential of a demographic that is just as appreciative of a bi-axial tourbillon or a skeleton movement as it is of a diamond bezel. In terms of mechanisms, women’s watches are coming up to speed with men’s and the potential for growth is as big as any other market, if not bigger.
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  • Beyond the high-end showpieces at SIHH 2017, there were some very affordable and practical timepieces on display – a trend already apparent among men’s watches. The choice of entry-level watches was bigger than ever, with a wide variety of colours, materials, jewels and movement options.
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2018 new releases

For men’s timepieces, this year proved fairly unremarkable in terms of new launches at either of the big fairs, leaving women’s watches to steal the spotlight. Take a look at some of the most impressive ladies’ watches of 2018, so far.

  • With new (often in-house) movements, bigger diamonds, robust sports cases and métiers dials, ladies’ watches have outshone men’s this year. We look at how brands are pushing the boundaries of women’s timepieces.

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  • Summer means a different type of watch. Whether at the wheel of a classic car or manning the ropes on deck, there’s a timepiece for it.
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SIHH & Baselworld 2018

Whether new movements, stunning beauty or technical complications, the ladies’ watches presented at this year’s SIHH and Baselworld were more impressive than any other fair before them. Take a look at some of the standout performers from both fairs.

  • Colourful, sparkling, technical, precise or classic, ladies’ watches put on a show at this year’s SIHH. Prior to curtain-up, we looked at 12 watches that didn’t disappoint!
    Watch the slideshow
  • We know, we know, ladies’ watches are no longer all about high jewellery, but Van Cleef & Arpels is pretty good at it. At SIHH this year, it released eight dazzling floral-inspired creations that showed what the brand is all about.

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  • FHH Journal came up with its prediction for the most exciting women’s and men’s releases at this year’s Baselworld, from the beauty of the Harry Winston Emerald to the technical brilliance of the Chanel Boy∙Friend with a new in-house movement.
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Expert views

When giving context to ladies’ watches, it’s important to hear what the experts think. Trend hunters, journalists and watchmakers themselves bring valuable insight and help us understand the intricacies beneath the dial. Get the inside story and trend predictions from some of the industry’s brightest minds.

  • Eszter Faykiss turned her passion project, Louposity, into something much more than that. Louposity explores Fine Watchmaking, jewellery and art through personal experiences. In this interview, Eszter discusses trend predictions and changing attitudes from brands.

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  • At SIHH this year, Bella Donita caught up with Theodore Diehl, watchmaker at Richard Mille, to discuss their ladies’ offering, and with Romain Gauthier to talk about his first ladies’ watch and find out… why women?
    Watch the video
  • Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron took time out at SIHH to share his thoughts in an interview in the Auditorium. Check out some of the highlights and learn why Cartier is, first and foremost, for women.
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What about the hashtags?

Social media are one of the most important tools for luxury watch brands wanting to get to grips with a new generation of consumers. Instagram, more than any, is a great way to highlight the beauty of luxury watches. Check out some of the most popular ladies’ watches on the platform.

  • As mentioned, SIHH 2018 went a long way towards showing how impressive ladies’ watches can be, with more brands than ever presenting complex and beautiful timepieces for women. We scoured Instagram to find out which were the most popular among visitors to this year’s fair.

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  • We searched Instagram for #ladieswatch to find out which are the most popular timepieces on the platform.
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Celebrity views

Celebrities and luxury watches go back a long way. Personalities have ingrained themselves into every part of the Fine Watchmaking process, sometimes turning styles into icons, such as the Paul Newman Daytona. Find out what these famous women have to say about their relationship with watches.

  • We caught up with megastar Sharon Stone to discuss everything from binge-watching TV to a near-death experience that changed her perception of time.
    Read the interview
  • Billie Jean King, a Swatch for her birthday and understated masterpieces: Emma Stone gives us her story of watches and what they mean to her.

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  • Longines ambassador Kate Winslet speaks about her own watch collection and the special moments she associates with them.
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Already growing fast, the market and range of timepieces for women are set to develop even more in the future. See all our updates on ladies’ timepieces here.

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