Women's Watches Are Dead. Long Live the Women's Watch.
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Our cars are small, our phones are thin, and our televisions are flat — but our timepieces are larger than ever. Why is that? Are we subconsciously protesting the minimalistic culture seeping down from Silicon Valley into the fabric of America’s ethos? Do we secretly pine for days when our belongings made a statement? There are think pieces currently being written to answer such questions by members throughout the upper echelons of the horological community. As the only Patek Philippe dealer in Chicago, we definitely consider ourselves proud members of that community, but this is not one of those pieces. Instead, let’s shed some light on the delicate design falling to our craving for the colossal — the 23-29mm watch, deliberately crafted for women.
It’s no secret that the femininity of the fairer sex magnifies the masculinity of traditional boys-only pieces, creating the type of juxtaposition of which sartorial dreams are made. It is the reason why so many women wear men’s watches better than some men. Once the rules of gender specificity are broken, women also have no need to follow sizing obligations. A watch can be worn like a bracelet, lugs pouring over the wrist, bouncing up and down the arm, surrounded by stacks of jewelry. It’s a look and it’s a good one.
Why the Woman’s Timepiece Still Has Relevance
One can make the argument that the oversized watch is impractical, but doing so ignores the fact that few of us choose our watches for their practicality. The Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea, for example, boasts a water-resistance level of almost 13,000 feet, an irrelevant fact during my daily commute. When it comes to complications, tracking moon phases has never been easier than with the Patek Philippe 5270. Clearly, practicality is not the deciding factor when it comes to what we wear. Timepieces are made at the intersection of utility and form. They’re stunning works of artisanship, compact and portable.
What the woman’s watch possesses is delicacy and intentional femininity. Yes, it sits more neatly on a petite wrist and will require less adjustment after purchase, but aside from that it is graceful. Take the Lady Datejust; in the 1950s Rolex decided to carry their date chronometer in a new design, a piece of jewelry that acts as a timepiece. Equipped with a rainbow of variations in metal, dial colors, and stones, it is equal parts fashion and function. Reflecting the woman of today, its capability is not sacrificed for beauty, or vice versa.
The lesson here, perhaps, is that while men typically must wear men’s watches, women can wear whatever they want. Trends and preferences change like seasons within cultures. Still, the woman’s watch, with its unique ability to be both elegant and excelling, will always have its place.
Three of Our Favorite Women’s Watches
Here are three ladies timepieces we currently are admiring. For details and availability information, please contact Razny Jewelers.