In this article, we will be showcasing the best watches for women who appreciate great timepieces. The watches range from classic models for elegant occasions to sporty watches for everyday activities. Our selection is based on statistical data from Chrono24 as well as a few suggestions from our team.
The Datejust is one of the most versatile timepieces in existence. It comes in a diverse range of sizes, from 28 to 41 mm. No matter how large or small your wrist, the Datejust will fit perfectly. The same goes for the style and design options. If you’re looking for a simple, understated piece, we suggest a clean dial in black, white, or silver with baton indices, a smooth stainless steel bezel, and the sporty Oyster bracelet.
If you prefer a more extravagant design, there are plenty of dials in all sorts of colors. Dial designs include those with or without diamonds, those made of mother of pearl, and much more. In addition to the various dial designs, you can also find models with the elegant Jubilee bracelet, a fluted gold bezel, and in a two-tone steel and gold combination. The Datejust can be whatever you want it to be.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual is a simpler but no less grand version of the Datejust. Its lack of date gives it its more minimalist appearance and lower price point. It has fewer size and design options than the Datejust, yet still more than enough to match almost every taste. Thanks to its subtle character, it’s the perfect Rolex for people who want the quality of a Rolex without the attitude.
Our favorite version is the 36-mm model with a “white grape” dial. It offers a clean look plus all the functionality you’d expect from a modern sports watch: water resistance of up to 100m (328 ft), an automatic movement with a 48-hour power reserve, and a nearly indestructible case and bracelet.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
The Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet is a completely different animal from any Rolex model. When it was introduced in 1972, its unique design shocked the watch world. At a time when fine watches were round or rectangular and made of precious metal, this octagonal piece of steel created a category of its own: It was the first ever “luxury sports watch.”
Today it’s considered one of the true icons of watchmaking. If you inspect its details very closely—such as the polished bezel, tapestry dial, and incredible bracelet—you’ll understand why it’s in its own league. The Royal Oak is also available in different sizes and metals and even with different movement types. However, we strongly recommend an example with an automatic movement, as that is best in keeping with its fine-watchmaking character.
Audemars Piguet Millenary
The Audemars Millenary goes even further than the Royal Oak with its unusual elliptical case design. Everything on this watch adds to its playful character, including the curved lines of the case, the skeletonized dial, the precious materials and jewels, and the bracelets and straps.
Make no mistake: the Millenary is not your average fashion watch. Every bit of its movement, case, and dial is finished to the same high standard set for other complicated Audemars pieces. The design clearly has a love-it-or-hate-it appearance, but fans of the Millenary are looking particularly for something that doesn’t play by the rules.
When talking about the Cartier Tank, it’s difficult not to get lost in superlatives. It’s probably the most iconic dress watch of all time. It has adorned the wrist of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, and Cary Grant, and it’s still the perfect choice for special occasions in Cannes to London, New York, and Shanghai.
There are many iterations of the Cartier Tank, such as the Tank Anglaise, the Tank Cintrée, and the Tank Solo, but they all have many elements in common. This classic rectangular watch always features Roman numerals on the dial and a fine cabochon crown. If you prefer an elegant, more traditional look, the Cartier Tank might be the perfect watch for you.
Without a doubt, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is the other legendary rectangular watch. Its Art Deco design is also very elegant yet less formal than its Cartier counterpart. What you’re getting here is pure watchmaking from a famous manufacturer.
The name indicates a core function of the Reverso. Its case can be turned around on its own axis so that back of the watch faces upward and the front is hidden against the wrist. When it was originally created in 1931, watch glass was very delicate and broke easily. To protect the glass from harm, the wearer could flip the watch case.
Hublot Big Bang Broderie
With the Broderie, Hublot has combined the sporty character of the Big Bang with colorful and shiny accents for those who don’t fear the spotlight. With this watch, you’re getting an unmistakable case in materials from steel to carbon fiber to gold mixed with silk patterns and various precious stones. While our previous selections are timeless classics and perhaps a bit understated, the Big Bang Broderie is exactly the opposite with its bold attitude.
Apart from its looks, the Broderie is a serious, high-end watch with a lot of the same technology as its more conservative competitors. This includes high-quality case finishes, automatic movements with a 42-hour power reserve, water resistance of up to 100 m (328 ft), and, of course, robust sapphire glass.
The Rolex Daytona is not only the most sought-after sports watch on the planet, it’s also a great example of how taste changes over time. Several years ago, it was worn almost exclusively by men. Now we are seeing the Daytona on ever more women’s wrists as well.
Why is it so popular? Well, it’s a perfectly designed sports chronograph from the most desirable luxury brand in the world. It’s available with a black or white dial and in steel, white, yellow, or rose gold, and even platinum. What was initially created as a tool watch is today a symbol of exclusivity.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5119
A simple round watch in gold from Patek Philippe is as traditional as it gets. The Calatrava comes in different shapes and sizes, but the ref. 5119 is the most classic. Created all the way back in the 1930s, it’s still incredibly beautiful today. As is true of all pieces from Patek Philippe, it offers watchmaking at the highest level.
The Calatrava is famous for the fine hobnail pattern on the bezel and its clean lacquered dial with Roman numerals and a small seconds dial. As traditional dress watches often are, the Calatrava 5119 is hand wound. You can admire the beautiful movement through the sapphire glass case back.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37
The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin dares to rival the Patek Calatrava. If you’re of the mind that less is more, this piece should appeal to you. Only two hands indicate the time, meaning not even a running second hand distracts from the purity of the dial. Made of white or red gold and available in 37 mm or 40 mm, the Lange Saxonia is the ultimate more-than-meets-the-eye dress watch.
It’s also worth taking a look at the inner workings of this piece. The Glashütte-based brand is known for creating some of the finest movements in the watch industry. Every detail is finished with the utmost focus on detail and quality.