It takes a man to wear a big men’s watch, but it arguably takes more of one to pull off a timepiece originally designed for a woman. I’m not talking about the usual array of downsized sports watches that look identical out of the specs or the plain, 38mm ‘unisex’ pieces that define hedging bets; I mean genuine women’s collections that just so happen to suit a more masculine style.
Here then are five women’s watches that any man can get away with…
1. Chanel J12 Phantom, £4,850
Looking for a rugged, scratch and impact resistant diving watch? Chanel’s likely not high on your list of possibilities then. It should be. Forget their cool Monsieur men’s watch for a second and consider the J12, their first serious and ever-popular women’s collection. The full ceramic case is curvier than usual but otherwise a serious one, while the darker, grey and black of the Phantom dial gives the whole thing a stealth look to put full DLC watches to shame.
More details at Chanel’s website.
2. Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Day and Night, £8,200
They may have Reversos aplenty, but if you fancy something with a similar Art Deco vibe in a round watch, there’s Jaeger-LeCoultre’s equally well-made Rendez-Vous collection. Multi-layered dials, a diminutive yet wearable 34mm case and combination of silvered guilloche dial and light blue hands and day / night indicator make this particular version pop – and without a diamond in sight.
More details at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s website.
3. Harry Winston Midnight Retrograde Second
Sure the Master of Diamonds has a reputation to keep up, but strip away the usual array of diamonds set into the Midnight collection and you’ll find this jewel. Not only is the case classically beautiful, but the minimal champagne dial and retrograde seconds make for a starkly elegant dress watch. At 42mm it’s perhaps more unisex than strictly women’s, though the collection as a whole suggests otherwise. Either way, it’s a lovely piece any guy can pull off.
More details at Harry Winston’s website.
4. Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier, £5,400
I’m not sure why but I’ve always considered the Ballon Bleu more a women’s watch than a men’s. It’s probably something to do with it’s tactile, curvaceous case and more diminutive proportions. Either way, the technically unisex piece isn’t traditionally masculine in any way so fits our purposes here nicely. Don’t complicate things and go for the simple steel and silver version; the added contrast with the blue central hands and signature Cartier crown cabochon is flawless.
More details at Cartier’s website.
5. Piaget Altiplano, £13,900
A good half of the women’s Altiplano collection would work on a man’s wrist, whether that’s an openworked dial with a tasteful number of diamonds or an impressive piece of lapis lazuli. If you want to play it safe however, you can’t go wrong with the most basic rose gold version of Piaget’s flagship ultra-thin timepiece. The 34mm size is small, yes, but if you’re used to buying vintage it’ll feel just right, and it still leaves enough room for the off-centre small seconds to not be cramped.
More details at Piaget’s website.