Slim d’Hermès
Slim d’Hermès

I want to buy my partner a watch but she’s not into the usual delicate women’s pieces. Are there any alternatives?

You know what you’re getting with women’s watches. Pretty, bejewelled and small, there are few watch brands that don’t have something that ticks all three boxes. Usually it’s just a diminutive version of a guy’s watch, just a little… shinier.

That’s all well and good; those watches certainly have their place. Often that place is the domain of a Stepford wife from the Sixties, but it’s still a place. However, in the same way that not every man out there longs for a U-BOAT-sized weight on their wrist, so too are there plenty of women that would rather swap horses for horsepower and delicate jewels for serious horology.

The most aware brands have been making a beeline in recent collections for the grey, neutral area between the gender poles of design. After all, anyone can get away with a 40mm watch and, if it’s a good watch, it can be appreciated by anyone. You don’t need a penis to enjoy a sports chronograph.

So, with all that aside, don’t cop out and rely on the tired trope of yet another delicate, diamond-encrusted quartz watch. Instead, think a bit harder about the style of watch the woman in your life might prefer. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Panerai Radiomir Base Logo, £3,400

Panerai Radiomir Base Logo

Panerai may be focusing on their Submersible diving watches this year, but for an entry point into the Paneristi members’ club of the Florentine/Swiss brands, the Logo is perfect. On slimmer wrists it’s oversized but still wearable, and doesn’t actually feel as large as it looks on paper – the lack of the Luminor’s signature crown guard helps a lot with that. What’s more, with its iconic cushion case and minimal dial it’s actually elegant; www.panerai.com

Omega Railmaster Master Chronometer, £3,600

Omega Railmaster Master Chronometer

Women’s watches seem to have largely avoided the watchmaking zeitgeist of retro cool, which is nothing short of a travesty. Omega’s Railmaster changes things. The 40mm steel case is just the right side of sporty and the brushed grey dial with contrasting indexes is modern vintage at its best. You can rest assured that the movement is immaculate, too; it fulfils the criteria for Omega’s own Master Chronometer certification; www.omegawatches.com

Piaget Altiplano Gold Meteorite, £25,200

Piaget Pre-SIHH 2019 Altiplano Collection

If you’re insistent that only gold will do, at least make sure you combine it with some impressive watchmaking. The Altiplano’s always coasting in that gender-neutral gap thanks to its ultra-thin movements – in this case the 838P – and relatively small case sizes. This new version is as elegant as ever with a 40mm rose gold case with one marked difference: a gold, geometrically patterned meteorite dial. It matches Piaget’s other new Altiplanos nicely – the anthracite and blue versions – with a good dash more glamour; piaget.com