Ladies watches, I feel, do not get the attention that they deserve within the industry. I think this is both in terms of no one talking about the genuinely horologically brilliant options out there, and ‘ladies watches’ from any other brands than the garbage companies such as Daniel Wellington, Michael Kors et al are horrendously marketed. I mean why is it that ladies out there are buying these pieces of shit instead of the five options I am talking about below?? The cheapest option in my list is in the same price category and is infinitely better, it isn’t even a comparison. It would be like trying to compare a loo plunger and a Claude Monet painting. Clearly the painting is prettier, and I know which one I would rather have. Granted my analogies need a bit of work, but before I blab on anymore, let’s talk about the watches in question.
Seiko Cocktail Time Ref. SRP855J1
It would not be possible for me to put this list together without mentioning the undisputed king of value props, Seiko. Seiko are renowned for offering affordable watches that would rival watches worth three or four times more than them. This watch is no exception. Not only does it come in at just shy of 34mm; a very wearable size, it also fits into the popular minimalist styling that a lot of the competition are offering. However, whereas some other offerings are made in China, and can be purchased for AliExpress for literal pennies, and are then sold to millions of people for hundreds of pounds, Seiko are not going to mug you off. They offer watches made with high quality materials, at more than reasonable prices. This watch comes in a stainless steal case, with hardlex crystal as well as Seiko’s legendary 4R36 movement. It also has a display case back, and has a lovely white/silver dial with a tastefully subtle hint of rose gold. If there was a version of this without the rose gold, I would probably by one myself… oh wait?! There is!
As I guessed... the sunburst effect on this dial is truly stunning...
Seiko Presage Yukigeshiki LE
And here it is, the lovely Seiko Presage Yukigeshiki Limited Edition. This watch is pretty much a like for like version of the SRP855J1. It has the same case, bracelet and movement. However, as you can see from the photos below, it replaces the lovely subtly of the rose gold, with a more conservative set of silver hands and numerals. It also has this amazing, almost guilloche dial, in a lovely silver. Without seeing this watch in the person it is hard for me to say, but you just know this dial is going to look phenomenal in the light. It is about £100 more than the ‘regular’ version. But if you want something which still has the elegance of the regular cocktail time, but in a more conservative execution, this is the watch for you. And if you are thinking of buying this for your wife or girlfriend, you can easily justify it because you could definitely wear this as well (if she will let you!).
Again, this watch is really stunning, the main difference being the hand set, indicies and dial...
Cartier “must de Cartier” tank
Now this is where you would think the price would ramp up, considering this next watch is from none other than Cartier. However, this is where you would be very much mistaken. Whilst ‘regular’ Cartier Tanks can go for between £1,000 and £3,000, Must de Cartier’s go from anywhere between £400 and about £1,300. It is worth noting that a very lovely condition example can be had for anywhere between £500 and £700. Yes, you read that correctly. It is hard really to sum up the timeless elegance and class that a Cartier Tank brings. Whether you are a man or a woman, this is without a doubt the classiest watch that you could possibly buy. I know this is a watch that we have mentioned a few times on the blog, but really a lot of people overlook these and go for the more expensive regular Tanks. But with these being available in both automatic and quartz, these are a real contender. It is also worth noting that these watches are truly one of the most iconic pieces of designs ever, not just in terms of watches, but design as a whole. Andy Warhol; one of the most famous wearers of the tank, was quoted saying he didn’t even wind it or keep the time correct, as it was for him purely a piece of amazing design. Definitely something to keep in mind.
Ladies Omega Constellation Quartz
Now, this watch, in my opinion, falls into the same Marmite category as the likes of the Nautilus, Royal Oak and Offshore. Taking a traditional circular watch, and adding a slightly octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet always seems to split opinion. However, for me, just like the aforementioned trio, I think this watch is brilliant. The particular version I am talking about comes in a quartz. Unless your other half is a watch fan like we all are, I think the easy to maintain nature of a quartz watch just adds to the appeal. This watch comes from one of the most famous and respected watch brands of all time, Omega. I do not need to go into the history and horological pedigree of this brand, but suffice to say any watch from this brand is a fantastic option. This watch comes in at just shy of 30mm, a size which will be very attractive to a lot of ladies wrists. Although a controversial design in terms of case shape and bracelet, I see these a lot around London, and I have to say ‘on-wrist’, they really do look good. These go for somewhere between £1,500 and £4,000 new, depending on what variation you go for. They can be had in a variety of dial options, including mother of Pearl, and can also be had with diamond indices as well as regular batons. Second hand these can be had for £1,200 and under, which makes them a very attractive proposition for a watch that will genuinely last you a lifetime.
Although this is a controversial looking watch, I think it is a very attractive option...
Vintage Omega (De Ville, Seamaster, Constellation)
Staying with Omega, I thought it would be appropriate to look at the cornucopia of just spectacular offerings that Omega have in the vintage space. It doesn’t need me to rave about the value propositions that can be had here, but these watches are just amazing. The options are just mind blowing. Cases can be had in steel, rose gold and gold. They can be had on bracelets and on straps, and can be had in such a variety of dials that makes it hard to keep track. They also come in at very conservative sizes, with 34 and 36mm being the most common. The main reason for including these as a notable option in the category of ladies watches is because they fit in perfectly with the current style. If you take a (trying to keep the sick down) Daniel Wellington, the styles are very similar. Considering these vintage Omegas can be found for the same price if you are lucky, this seems like a no-brainier alternative. If you are unconvinced, please go and have a look on Ebay and just see the plethora of different options that are available.
Just one example of what Vintage Omega can offer you...
I hope that this article has given you some insight into the fantastic alternatives that can be had instead of the truly crap selection of ‘fashion watches’. Considering you can get a truly respectable and long lasting watch from a brilliant brand for the same price, some of these options really do seem like no brainers. Of course there are a whole host of other options, but after having done a fair amount of research, these are the ones I have settled on. There really is something for everyone here, with an effective price range of £300 to £3,000, this means that there is a watch here for not only everyone, but for every possible occasion or anniversary.
Editor & Co-Founder
Editor and Co-Founder