Watches are becoming more and more unisex every year and that’s no bad thing. There are plenty of men’s watches that look great on women and there is a general move towards genderless fashion within the industry anyway. There are even dedicated groups on social media, such as Instagram, seeking to dispel the myth that watches need to be gendered and to show what we all already know: gender doesn’t matter in fashion. So let’s have a look at some of the coolest watches available this Valentine’s day that would look great on women, regardless of their intended market.
Tissot Heritage Banana Centenary Edition
If you want your partner to stand out from the crowd, the Tissot Heritage Banana will certainly do that, if you can get past its faintly ridiculous name. The name comes from the shape of the case, which is long, rectangular and curves with the shape of the wrist in a form-fitting manner. It’s very unique and an interesting design, even if it earned the piece the nickname banana which it has been unable to shake.
Of equal note is the typography of the numerals on the face, which are distorted and of various sizes based on the dimensions of the rectangular shape. A curved watch with wayward, almost droopy numbers… It’s the closest you can get to wearing a Salvador Dali painting on your wrist, and that would look great on anyone.
Price: £330, available at Tissot.
Some watches, like the Hermes and the Tissot above, were designed with one gender in mind but happen to suit anyone. Bulgari had a different vision in mind, they set out the make a unisex watch from the start with the Bulgari Aluminium. The black and white designs are available in three main styles: a white dial, a black dial and a chronograph model. They ride the line between masculine utility and feminine style with great aplomb, using a combination of rubber and aluminium materials.
They’re also unapologetically complicated, whereas most dedicated women’s watches tend to scale the technical side back in favour of aesthetics. The fact there’s a chronograph model speaks volumes, because it’s a watch archetype you see so rarely for women and yet they require those functions just as much. Did I hear someone suggest getting matching watches with your partner? That sounds like a great idea.
Price: £2,430 (Bulgari Aluminium White/Black) and £3,500 (Bulgari Aluminium Chronograph), available at Bulgari.
Nomos Glashütte Club Neomatik Atlantic
Sport is another area of life where gender divides are starting to disappear. Women’s football is more popular on tv than ever and recent athletic events have included mixed-gender relays which are honestly a highlight of any event they take place at. So it stands to rights that sport watches are at the forefront of unisex design, and that’s definitely the case with the Club Neomatik Atlantic.
Blue-black straps and a matching blue-black dial in in a stainless steel case with a neon orange seconds hand, it is a serious watch designed with sport in mind. The functionality comes first: the sapphire crystal, the automatic calibre DUW 3001 and 20 bar water resistance are far more important than any stylistic choices. Which means this a relatively plain watch that suits every sporting occasion, ideal as a gift for anyone inclined to sport.
Price: £2,500, available at Nomos Glashütte.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm, Yellow Dial
The problem with a lot of the flagship watches is they’re serious bits of engineering that not even every man can pull off. But why should anyone be excluded from these iconic watches? The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 is the perfect balance of classic Rolex flair while still being at the easy to wear size of 36mm. Perfect for starting your partner on a serious watch collection or adding to an existing one.
The Oystersteel case and bracelet are simultaneously hardwearing and refined, housing the calibre 3230 movement, which is chronometer certified as you’d expect from Rolex. The dial (in this instance yellow) is instantly recognisable as a Rolex as well, with the iconic crown at 12 o’clock and
the single index hour markers with doubles at the 3, 6 and 9 positions. You get all the style of Rolex, which let’s be honest has always been very gender-neutral, without the baggage of being oversized.
Price: £4,450, available at Rolex.
UNDONE Urban34: Navi
The Urban34: Navi is the third women’s collection from UNDONE and honestly if they hadn’t specified, I wouldn’t have been able to tell who it’s meant for because it has a subtle style that works for everyone. It has a rose gold case and matching leaf hands on its three main and sub-dials, giving a warm colour tone to the whole piece. The dark dial gives an almost rugged look that belies the delicacy of the gold, although the gold is equally tough being PVD coated.
The movement is the TMI VH61 Quartz from Seiko, not a standout feature but it’s a neat bit of kit with both sweep seconds and 24hour display capabilities. Similar to the Bulgari Chronograph, it’s nice to see more complications making their way across the arbitrary gender divide. This is a watch that would undoubtedly see daily use and would be a treasured gift to anyone.
Price: £169, available at UNDONE.
Olivier Jonquet La Galinette
In this list we’ve seen men’s watches that suit women, women’s watches that buck female trends, unisex watches design for both sexes and sports watches that don’t care what gender you are. Lots of progressive innovation that all point towards steps being taken in the right direction. But there’s one last gender division that hasn’t yet been addressed: why can’t women buy their own watches, why do men have to pick them out?
That’s the question the La Galinette collection from Olivier Jonquet asks. They invite women to make their own choices about the timepieces they want by offering a selection of 14 variations in colour and design, removing men from the equation completely. At the same time, the designs don’t conform to traditional concepts of feminine watches, the square design is almost bulky and the colours are bold – not the shy and retiring pieces that we’ve come to expect. In short, maybe the best and coolest watch you could gift to your partner this Valentine’s day is the one she picks herself.
Price: €350 EUR (approx. £316), available at Olivier Jonquet.
Michel Herbelin Power of Two
With ‘his & hers’ sets we all too often see brands fall into the trap of having a super machismo watch paired with a dainty wafer of a timepiece, which doesn’t feel great for either party. Michel Herbelin has taken the next step with their unisex design for the Power of Two set, where the only difference between them is the size of the case.
And why would you want different designs anyway, these pieces have a classic charm, with Art Deco stylings in stainless steel and a clean, legible dial design. The larger of the two pieces sits at 26.5mm by 32.2mm, so both sizes are very discreet and perfect for daily use to reaffirm your connection to your partner. This is a his & hers collection that, finally, doesn’t feel at all cheesy or saccharine.
Price: £315 each, available at Michel Herbelin.
Horse riding, specifically dressage, was one of the first sports in the world where everyone agreed that gender doesn’t matter and men and women can compete against each other on an equal footing. And horse riding is heavily embedded in Hermès history, so this horse riding themed watch makes perfect sense.
Based on designs from the 1970s and 80s, this petite 17mm watch feels like it could swing with the best of them and features a delicate pattern that symbolises the brand’s horse riding origins. The diamonds really embellish the steel watch to bring it up to the next level and make it a great option for anyone. It looks good casually or if you’re on a horse and why wouldn’t you be on a horse if that is an option.
Price: £5,725, available at Hermès.