First off, let me say that when you’re buying your partner a wristwatch, no online article or forum out there is going to be as useful as turning to the person you love and asking them to pick out a watch they want. Sure, there’s the fun of surprising them, but one surprise that is not fun is finding out they don’t like your choice and for it to sit in a draw unworn for years.
If I have one piece of advice, it’s to go mechanical – if you’re reading Oracle Time you’re probably already a fan of mechanical over quartz so why would you buy your partner something you wouldn’t buy yourself. So, here is a selection of mechanical watches for women you should consider buying as a gift, whether that’s for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier, £11,200
One of the most famous watches of all time is the Cartier Tank, a highly unisex design with Art Deco influences that is available in a variety of styles and sizes. One of the archetypal models is the Tank Louis Cartier, one of the smaller models in the range with its rectangular case measuring 29.5mm x 22mm.
The Roman numeral display and cabochon crown make it exceptionally refined and it houses the mechanical 1917 MC manual calibre. Honestly, there isn’t too much that’s explicitly romantic or connected to Valentine’s Day with this watch, it’s simply a classic executed to perfection. Solid, reliable and heartfelt.
More details at Cartier.
Chopard Alpine Eagle 33mm, £13,300
Integrated Sports watches are one of the most unisex subcategories of watches on the market, especially at smaller size points where they become much easier to wear on slim wrists. The Chopard Alpine Eagle is perhaps the best example of this, especially in lucent steel and rose gold bi-colour, with the mix of materials breaking up the blocky outlines of the structure and making it feel more feminine. Beneath the textured sunray dial is the Chopard 09.01-C automatic movement with COSC chronometer certification.
More details at Chopard.
Omega De Ville Prestige, £5,400
Omega do produce a line of watches dedicated to romance in the Trésor, however that collection is quartz powered so finds no home in this article dedicated to the best mechanical watches for Valentine’s Day. Instead, let’s highlight the 41mm Prestige, which houses the Co-Axial Calibre 8810, an automatic movement with a 55-hour power reserve. This variant features a steel case and a salmon pink dial featuring sunray brushing.
It’s pretty without being overtly feminine, relying on a restrained display of central hours and minutes, small seconds, date and power reserve indicator with stud shaped hour markers interspersed with Roman numerals. Plus there’s the fact that it’s pretty large, but women are wearing ‘boyfriend watches’ in the same way they steal partner’s jumpers for that oversize comfort.
More details at Omega.
Tudor Black Bay 31, £5,240
One consideration you might have is whether or not you want to be able to have a matching watch with your partner. It might be a little kitsch but his & hers collections exist for a reason – they’re popular. In the world of watches the most versatile his & hers collection is the Tudor Black Bay, which is available in sizes from 31mm all the way up to 41mm with most styles being available at all size brackets. This Ref. M79603-0007 is particularly feminine with its silver dial, bi-colour case and diamond indexes. Powered by the COSC certified MT5201 automatic movement.
More details at Tudor.
Tag Heuer Carrera Date, £2,750
Measuring 36mm in diameter, the Tag Heuer Carrera Date is the perfect blend of style and sportiness. Whether in sage green, peach, vibrant pink or restrained silver, the dial is stunningly subtle and elegant with a sunray brushed finish. It’s powered by the Tag Heuer Calibre 7 Automatic, a really solid movement with a 56-hour power reserve. It’s not the fanciest movement out there with only time and date complications, but there’s also a beauty in that simple utility.
More details at Tag Heuer.
Blancpain Lady Bird Valentine’s Day 2024, £28,200
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend and watchmakers tend to agree with more than a fair share of women’s watches featuring gem-set cases, bezels and dials. While Blancpain are better known for their heritage dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms, they also produce an annual timepiece to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For 2024 it takes the form of a new addition to the Ladybird Colours collection, featuring a mother-of-pearl dial, ruby red numerals, a diamond bezel and a ring of diamonds in the centre of the display that flows into a love heart. It’s perhaps a little on the nose but there can be no questions as to your feelings towards your partner if you buy them something like this.
More details at Blancpain.
Rolex Datejust, £13,100
Sometimes you just can’t go wrong with a classic and the Rolex Datejust is exactly that. It also happens to be one of the most versatile watches Rolex produce with a huge number of option and configurations available including fluted or smooth bezels, gold or steel cases and dials with Roman numerals, diamond indexes or baton markers. The benefit of which is you can pretty easily tailor the Datejust to your partner’s tastes. A particular snazzy combination is this bi-colour edition with mother-of-pearl dial and diamond indexes.
More details at Rolex.
Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 Victoria Beckham, £4,950
The dial of the Breitling Chronomat 36 Victoria Beckham is effortlessly elegant. Understated baton hour markers with strips of lume down the centre pair well with similarly elegant hands. The VB logo on the seconds hand is the only visual indicator that this is a collaboration watch. Technically the colours are also an indicator of Beckham’s involvement as they match the peppermint green, midnight blue, dove grey and sand gold of the Victoria Beckham SS24 collection. Housed inside is the Breitling Calibre 10, an automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve.
More details at Breitling.
Longines Evidenza, £2,100
The Evidenza by Longines is another timepiece that goes all in on its Art Deco style with a sector dial and tonneau case shape. It measures 26mm x 30.6mm, so it’s fairly slim while also retaining plenty of presence thanks to its broad, sweeping surfaces. The movement housed inside is the L592, an automatic calibre with a 45-hour power reserve. It makes a certain amount of sense that a lot of womens’ watches lean into Art Deco style because the 1920s was a period of emancipation for women, with greater levels of independence and developing more expressive styles, such as the iconic flapper.
More details at Longines.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon High Jewellery, Price on Request
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon High Jewellery is a fusion of haute horology and high jewellery, combining a diamond bezel with an automatic tourbillon movement. Tourbillons are one of the most wide-spread and popular haute horological complications, consisting of a rotating cage that helps to alleviate the effects of gravity on the watch’s movement, highlighted by the open heart window at 6 o’clock. It’s one of the most beautiful and sleek watches Vacheron Constantin produce, ideal for Valentine’s Day.
More details at Vacheron Constantin.