The Cartier Pasha, one of Cartier’s biggest selling ladies’ watches, was originally designed as a man’s sports watch. It was big, with a thick bezel and a large screw-down crown cap attached to the case by a wide chain. You may also have heard of a little watch called the Chanel J12: it too was designed for men, but quickly became one of the most iconic ladies’ watches of all time. This brazen pilfering of men’s collections by watch-loving women has become even more prevalent in recent years. Not satisfied with diamond bezels and mother-of-pearl dials, women are coveting the many wonderful vintage-inspired, ultra-complicated, classic, ultra-slim and even ultra-thick timepieces that are designed for men. Here are seven watches introduced at Baselworld 2017 that women are most likely to covet this year.
1. Monsieur de Chanel
Monsieur? Ha! You can’t scare us off with a 40mm case, even in platinum. The watch contains Chanel’s first in-house movement, the manual-wind Caliber 1 with an instant jump hour and retrograde minutes. The jump hour is not exclusively masculine of course, any more than the moon phase is. Could Chanel have another J12 on its hands? For me, this is a great daily wear timepiece with a useful function and a pure aesthetic.
2. Manufacture Royale ADN
This is a big watch: 46mm, but the hinged horns (composed of more than 67 components) pivot to hug the wrist, which makes it wear much smaller. This is a great watch to show off your appreciation for complications: the manually wound Caliber MR09 is a flying tourbillon with two time zones, including a jump hour for local time. The skeletonized 3D design with steampunk styling makes it as much objet d’art as timepiece. Think of it as a large bracelet with technical street cred.
3. Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition
This design collaboration between Zenith and Range Rover is as sleek and understated as any chronograph could be. The copper colored subdials over the dark grey brushed dial on a blackened case are elegantly minimalist. The rubber/calfskin strap is perforated in a more discreet way than the usual large round holes in a driving strap. The 42mm case is ceramized aluminum and it contains the El Primero Chronograph Caliber 400B automatic.
4. Rolex Royal Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
Last year, Rolex updated the Daytona with a Cerachrom bezel, and this year adds an Oysterflex rubber strap, which just clinches its suitability as a ladies’ watch. Oysterflex is a very soft, flexible rubber with an internal cushion system that makes it close fitting and comfortable. The rubber is fitted over metal blades, so you get the strength of steel and the comfort of rubber. Like a woman, it’s soft on the outside, tough on the inside.
5. Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
If you’re going to go for a men’s automatic, it might as well be the world’s thinnest automatic timepiece. Bulgari cracks another world record with this 40mm x 5.15mm timepiece, adding to its stable of ultra-thin Octo Finissimos, including a tourbillon and a minute repeater. What does this watch – with titanium case, titanium dial, black hands and black indexes – go with? EVERYTHING.
6. H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon
It’s not just the beautifully rounded case or the curved tubular lugs that make this watch seem downright feminine. It’s the beautifully decorative flinqué enamel on the case side and the luscious white grand feu dial with hand-painted Roman numerals and lavish swallow-tail hands. A beautiful watch is a beautiful watch, no matter who it’s made for. This is a 30-piece limited edition.
7. Angelus U21 Tourbillon
The black and pink gold combination is hot right now in fashion, and this watch just seems made to be worn with a camel coat and black dress or pants. The case is 42mm wide and 10.3mm thick, and very lightweight: it is made of NPT carbon fiber and 18k red gold. The main plate and bridges are also made of NPT carbon fiber. It contains the manual-wind flying tourbillon Caliber A-250.