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- Watch offerings for women are colorful this year, including hues like mint green and bright yellow.
- The dive watch category – including models dusted with diamonds – is especially popular.
- For watches with a more masculine look, check out our guide to the best men’s watches.
In 2001, I attended my first watch fair in Switzerland. I’ve made a living writing about timepieces ever since. Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of “ladies’ watches” come and go, most of them small, decorated in feminine motifs (think floral designs and mother-of-pearl dials), and powered by quartz battery movements.
Recently, however, the conversation about women’s watches has taken on new resonance, as more brands embrace the notion that a woman’s watch is – wait for it – any watch worn by a woman. In the spirit of genderless style, we highlight 15 of the best watches for women on the market today, including ultra-feminine gem-set timepieces, complicated mechanical wonders, and no-frills sport models designed to take a beating.
These are the best watches for women in 2021:
Inspired by the 80’s teen classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the Armitron Ridgemont features a dual analog/digital display guaranteed to appeal to vintage lovers on a budget. Bonus: It’s water resistant to 165 feet.
Skagen Aaren Naturals
Perfect for eco-conscious shoppers, the timepieces in Skagen’s Aaren Naturals collection have been designed using stainless steel with recycled content and come on straps made with leather alternatives such as mulberry bark, cork and apple.
Shinola Pee-Wee Detrola
Lovers of Americana will flip for the new Pee-Wee Detrola watch from Detroit-based Shinola, which offers a big look in a pint-sized package.
Introduced in 1959, the Seiko Prospex is a cult favorite among watch lovers. This modern “re-imagining” of the Japanese watchmaker’s first sport watch has a rotating inner compass bezel and is water resistant to 660 feet.
Nomos Tangente 38 – 50 Years Doctors Without Borders
A classic of unisex styling, the new Tangente 38 from German watchmaker Nomos Glashütte benefits the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders. (The red 12 on the dial is a nod to the organization’s 50th anniversary.) The watch is available in a limited edition of 2,021 pieces, with 100 euros from each sale going directly to emergency aid services.
Rado True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier
Rado pioneered the use of high-tech ceramic in watchmaking. That legacy is evident in the sleek new True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier collection, named for the Swiss-French architect, designer and painter known as the “Father of Modernism.”
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300
The newly redesigned Aquaracer Professional 300 from TAG Heuer is a no-nonsense dive watch that works equally well for armchair explorers. The model’s signature 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel hasn’t changed since the model was introduced in 1983, but virtually everything else has been updated, including a new scratch-resistant ceramic insert, an upgraded sapphire crystal and a slimmer case and bezel.
A tribute to both the Art Deco era (the design is based on a 1920s model from Longines’ archives) and the Italian notion of the “good life,” the rectangular DolceVita with a diamond-set bezel is the perfect, and perfectly elegant, timepiece for the Roaring 2020s.
Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea Capsule Collection
Breitling’s Chronomat South Sea Capsule Collection — including this 36 mm model with the fetching midnight blue lacquered dial — channels the exotic vacation vibe we’ve all been craving, thanks to its striking hue, golden indexes and hands, diamond-set hour markers and cocktail-hued gem-set bezel.
Rolex Datejust 36
Considered the classic starter Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 now comes in a sophisticated yet sporty Oystersteel and yellow gold combination bearing a golden dial with a pretty fluted motif. Take the model’s signature Jubilee bracelet as an invitation to celebrate.
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Infinity
With its sleek black onyx dial framed by 60 brilliant-cut diamonds, the 1966 Infinity from Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux is the quintessential cocktail watch. But the mechanical timepiece has plenty of substance, too: Its in-house manufactured movement is faithful to the famed Calibre 3000, the origin of the 1966 collection.
Chopard Happy Ocean 40
Chopard’s Happy Diamonds watches, with their trademark floating diamonds, have been a house staple since 1976. The latest iteration of the collection (whose new face is happiness incarnate Julia Roberts), includes this Happy Ocean model, ideal for snorkeling, sunbathing or dancing on the beach.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto Medium
Introduced in 1931, the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre has a unique swiveling mechanism that effectively gives you two watches for the price of one (the same movement powers both sets of hands). In the new 18k pink gold Reverso Duetto Medium, the reverse side features a glossy black lacquer dial that accentuates the model’s day/night possibilities.
Bulgari Serpenti Spiga