Women make up (at least potentially) half the market for luxury watches, so why are so many women's watches little more than miniaturized, often jewel-encrusted versions of the most popular men's models? As we assembled our list of the Best Women's Watches in 2022, we aimed to focus on timepieces whose designs and aesthetic details speak most clearly and directly to the avid and growing audience of female watch enthusiasts, and strove to find offerings suitable for just about every budget. Scroll down to read the list, compiled in ascending order of price.
Citizen x Disney Jasmine for Aladdin 30th Anniversary
Price: $350, Reference: GA1072-07D, Case Size: 30mm, Lug Width: 10mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: Splash-Resistant, Movement: Eco-Drive Caliber J015
Citizen began a high-profile partnership with Disney in 2018 and ever since has launched special-edition timepieces designed with Disney properties and characters in mind. This year sees the release of this model inspired by Princess Jasmine from the blockbuster 1992 Disney animated film Aladdin, which marks its 30th anniversary in 2022. The watch has filigree detailing on its gold-tone steel case and an arabesque scroll pattern on its mother-of-pearl dial, which also features an on-theme genie’s lamp icon at 6 o’clock. An Eco-Drive movement, ensconced behind a caseback inscribed with the motto, “Life’s a Magic Carpet Ride,” ensures that the wearer need never change the battery. The watch is delivered on a teal leather strap and a coordinating jewelry pin in a special gift box.
Seiko Diamond Collection SRZ539
Price: $495, Reference: T0062071103600, Case Size: 29.5mm, Case Height: 6.3mm, Lug Width: 13mm, Lug to Lug: 36mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Quartz Caliber 7N01
Japan’s Seiko Group celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2020 with an array of special models, for men and ladies, from both the parent Seiko brand and the high-luxury Grand Seiko label. Not to be lost in that shuffle is this limited-edition, feminine timepiece with a gradient white-to-blue mother-of-pearl dial whose colors signify the anniversary theme. Ten diamonds serve as the dial’s hour indexes, along with applied Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock, and a blue cabochon is set into the winding crown, helping the dainty, 29.5mm steel case achieve a respectable 50-meter water resistance. Inside it ticks Seiko’s quartz Caliber 7N01.
Bulova Marine Star Series L
Price: $476, Reference: 96R215, Case Size: 34mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Quartz
Bulova’s nautically inspired Marine Star series finds its most dazzling expression in this ladies’ (Series L) model, with 29 diamonds individually hand-set on the silver-toned bezel and four additional diamonds joining the applied numeral hour markers on the blue outer dial, embellished with a radiating texture. The inner dial is made of blue mother-of-pearl and hosts sword hour and minute hands and a sweeping central seconds hand to accompany the date display at 3 o’clock. The screw-down crown renders the watch water-resistant to 100 meters and protects the quartz movement inside.
Tissot Le Locle Automatic Lady
Price: $675, Reference: T0062071103600, Case Size: 29mm, Case Height: 9mm, Lug Width: 14mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA 2671
Tissot’s Le Locle collection takes its name from the Swiss village in the Jura Mountains where Tissot (along with many other watch brands) got its start. Tissot Le Locle Automatic Lady watches have round cases with thin bezels, and dials bedecked with precious stones and applied hour numerals, leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a textured pyramid-style guilloche pattern at the center. The model pictured carries the automatic ETA 2671 movement, with a 38-hour power reserve, and shows it off behind a clear sapphire caseback window.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart Lady Auto
Price: $1,195, Reference: H32115191, Case Size: 34mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Hamilton H-10
The cutouts in the mother-of-pearl dial of the Jazzmaster Open Heart Lady Auto provide a dial-side view to elements of Hamilton’s H-10 caliber, the proprietary ETA-based automatic movement whose primary talking point is its lengthy 80-hour power reserve — a rarity at this price point. The cutouts in this model are distinctly feminine, echoing the petals of the dial’s central flower motif. The 34mm stainless steel case is water resistant to 50 meters and features an even more expansive view of the movement and its pearled finish through a sapphire caseback. It connects to a five-link steel bracelet with a double-folding clasp.
Rado True Automatic Diamonds
Price: $1,900, Reference: R27242742, Case Size: 30mm, Case Height: 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA 2671
Rado is one of the most prominent pioneers of using high-tech ceramic in watchmaking, and the brand puts that material in the service of feminine elegance in the True Automatic Diamonds model with an eye-catching, gradient cherry-red dial accented by diamond hour indexes at the 15-minute marks. The compact 30mm ceramic case flows smoothly into the bracelet, which combines ceramic and lightweight titanium for wrist comfort. Inside the 50-meter water resistant case, with its velvet-like brushed finish, the automatic ETA Caliber 2671 brings the dial’s three hands to life and stores a power reserve of 38 hours.
Price: $2,000, Reference: L5.5184.108.40.206, Case Size: 23mm x 37mm, Case Height: 7.2mm, Lug Width: 17 mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Quartz Analog
Channeling the heyday of Art Deco with its curvilinear rectangular case and stylized, painted Roman numeral hour markers, Longines’ DolceVita collection encompasses an array of elegant options and colors, including the two-tone model here with its bezel set with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds. The wafer-thin 7mm thickness of the case, which contains a Swiss quartz movement, ensures that the watch makes a statement while still offering comfort and a subtle silhouette. The matching bracelet fastens with a butterfly clasp.
Tudor Clair de Rose
Price: $2,350, Reference: M35500-0001, Case Size: 30mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber T201 (ETA base)
Tudor redesigned its Clair de Rose family of ladies’ watches in 2017, with case size offerings ranging from 26mm to 30mm to 34mm, all in stainless steel and waterproof to 100 meters, with a screw-down crown adorned with a precious spinel. The opaline dials host relief patterns, blue lacquered Roman numerals or diamonds for the hours, and a date window. The watches are presented on steel bracelets with “grains of rice” links and contain self winding movements based on the tried-and-true ETA 2671.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy
Price: $2,750, Reference: 01 733 7771 3155-07 8 19 15, Case Size: 38mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)
The vintage-inspired Divers Sixty-Five, based on Oris’ first divers’ watch from the eponymous year of 1965, is not what many would consider feminine in its overall aesthetic, but the recently introduced “cotton candy” models — defined by bronze cases and pastel-colored dials in “sky blue,” “wild green,” and “lipstick pink” (pictured) — change that narrative substantially. At a unisex-friendly 38mm, the watches come on matching bronze three-link bracelets, with relief dive-scale bezels and offering the 100-meter water resistance characteristic of the mainline Divers Sixty-Five series. Beating inside each model is the Sellita-based automatic Caliber 733, which is hidden behind a steel caseback.
Baume & Mercier Classima Lady
Price: $3,200, Reference: 10633, Case Size: 34mm, Case Height: 10.4mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita Caliber SW 280-1
Classima is Baume & Mercier’s most classically elegant series, and this 34mm steel watch from its women’s collection expresses itself definitively with a mother-of-pearl dial that features diamond-set indexes and applied Roman numerals, blued hands, and the model’s signature complication, a moon-phase disk at 6 o’clock. The polished case is attached to a shiny blue alligator strap with a steel pin buckle and houses an automatic movement, the Sellita SW 280-1, which is on display behind a clear sapphire caseback.
Breitling Navitimer Automatic 35
Price: $5,450, Reference: A17395211A1P3, Case Size: 35mm, Case Height: 9.9mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Breitling Caliber 17
Breitling expanded the scope and appeal of its iconic pilot’s chronograph, the Navitimer, with a series of smaller models that maintain the hallmark aviation-inspired slide-rule bezel but leave out the chronograph complication, making for simpler, uncluttered design that lends itself well to a ladies’ dress watch. The Navitimer Automatic 35 presented here features the beaded bezel of some of the earliest Navitimer models, pairing it with distinctively feminine aesthetic elements like a mother-of-pearl dial, diamond hour markers, and a pink leather strap. The COSC-certified chronometer movement inside is Breitling’s ETA-based Caliber 17.
Chopard Happy Sport
Price: $7,780, Reference: 278573-3017, Case Size: 30mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: N/A, Movement: Automatic Chopard Caliber 09.01-C
In 1993, Chopard became the first watchmaker to combine steel with diamonds in its original Happy Sport models. The Happy Sport’s free-spinning gems, set between two sapphire crystals over the dial, were designed to express a free-spirited joie de vivre to appeal to the modern, active woman. The blue dial on the model pictured has a guilloché treatment and a combination of applied Roman numerals and indexes for the hours, indicated on sword hands. The automatic Chopard 09.01-C caliber inside the case, showcased by a sapphire caseback, has a 42-hour power reserve and bridges decorated with côtes de Genève.
Omega Constellation Ladies
Price: $10,100, Reference: 220.127.116.11.55.001, Case Size: 29mm, Lug Width: 17.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8700
Omega’s Constellation series, introduced in 1952, predates both the Speedmaster and the modern Seamaster, and its distinctive design has evolved over the years to appeal to both masculine and feminine tastes. The contemporary models’ barrel-shaped cases feature half-moon-shaped facets, conical crowns, and bezels etched with Roman hour numerals; the iconic “claws” on each side of the case, introduced in the 1982 version, are streamlined for greater comfort. The ladies’ versions of the Constellation offer a very modest 29mm size as well as mother-of-pearl dials with diamond hour markers and diamond settings on the bezels. Like most modern Omega watches, the Constellation contains an in-house movement with Master Chronometer certification.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31
Price: $10,500, Reference: 278274-0036, Case Size: 31mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Rolex Caliber 2236
A classic timepiece that speaks to both men and women, the Datejust debuted in 1945 as the first wristwatch with the now-ubiquitous 3 o’clock date window. The most recent female-targeted versions of the Datejust combine the signature fluted bezel and “cyclops” date magnifying lens with an azzuro-blue floral motif dial. The case is in the steel-and-white-gold combo that Rolex calls “Rolesor,” is mounted on the signature Oyster bracelet, and houses the self-winding manufacture Caliber 2236, which boasts a 55-hour power reserve and COSC-tested chronometric precision.
Zenith Defy Midnight
Price: $11,000, Reference: 27.03.9000.I001, Case Size: 36mm, Case Height: 10.35mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Elite Caliber 670
Zenith introduced the Defy Midnight in 2020 as its first watch designed from the start to appeal to women. The faceted steel case is in the tonneau shape that has come to define the Defy collection and measures a substantial but still understated 36mm in diameter. Its gradient blue dial with painted stars, representing the night sky over the horizon, is framed by a diamond-set bezel. The watch is powered by Zenith’s self-winding Elite Caliber 670, with a star-shaped rotor and a 50-hour power reserve, and comes with a steel bracelet as well as straps that can be easily switched out without the need for tools.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Price: $11,900, Reference: WGTA0011, Case Size: 25.5mm x 33.7mm, Case Thickness: 6.6mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manually wound Cartier Caliber 8971 MC
The Tank watch, created by Louis Cartier in 1917 and taking its rectangular, curvilinear case shape from a French military vehicle used during World War I, is an enduring icon and a coveted style object for women and men alike. The model most directly inspired by the original is named for its creator and sports period-appropriate case dimensions. The dial has a beaded surface, radiating Roman numeral hours, and blued sword hands, while the crown is topped with a sapphire cabochon. Cartier's manually wound mechanical Caliber 8971 MC beats inside behind a solid engraved caseback.
F.P. Journe Eleganté
Price: $14,500, Reference: N/A, Case Size: 40mm x 35mm, Case Height: 7.35mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Quartz 32,768 Hz
In 2016, F.P. Journe unveiled the Elegante, a ladies’ watch with an in-house-made electromagnetic quartz caliber. The battery inside the curved tonneau case offers an astounding eight-year battery life and a “standby” mode in which the battery shuts down when the watch is not being worn. In standby mode, the movement’s microprocessor continues to keep time even though all the mechanical parts stop moving in order to save energy. The watch’s quartz movement is decorated like one of Journe’s mechanical movements, with a gold-plated circuit board, and is thus one of the few quartz movements to be displayed through a sapphire caseback.
Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Self Winding
Price: $28,390, Reference: 7300/1200A, Case Size: 36mm, Case Height: 10.05mm, Lug Width: 13mm, Lug to Lug: 36mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Patek Philippe Caliber 324 S C
Patek Philippe’s Twenty~4 Automatic in steel entices with its olive-green sunburst dial (the first in Patek’s portfolio), with applied Arabic numerals and hands in white-gold with luminescent coating. A date aperture replaces the hour marker at 6 o’clock, also framed in white gold. The gently rounded bezel of the 36-mm case is set with 160 diamonds (~0.77 carat), arranged in the so-called “dentelle” (lacework) style, in two staggered rows. A transparent sapphire window in the caseback offers a view of the in-house Caliber 324 SC, a mechanical self-winding movement embellished with an array of hand-finishes and decorations.
Piaget Limelight Gala
Price: $28,400, Reference: G0A47161, Case Size: 32mm, Case Height: 8.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Piaget Caliber 501P1
Piaget’s Limelight Gala is a watch meant to be worn in a ballroom, on a red carpet, or at another elegant event where its wearer is dressed to the nines. Its 18k rose gold case is designed to appear as if its two sides are unfurling around the dial, a representation of the eternal spiral of time. A string of brilliant-cut diamonds flows down one side of the case, and the silvered dial features radiating gold Roman numerals and golden hands. Like all Piaget watches, men’s and women’s, the Limelight Gala houses an in-house movement, in this case Piaget’s 501P1, with a 40-hour power reserve and an elite level of haute horlogerie finishing.
Blancpain Ladybird St. Valentin 2022
Price: $28,900, Reference: 3660B 1954 55A, Case Size: 34.9mm, Case Height: 9.2mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Blancpain Caliber 1153
The first Blancpain Ladybird watch, from 1956, set a record as the world’s smallest round watch with a mechanical movement. The model re-entered the collection in its 60th anniversary year of 2016 and serves as the template for 2022’s annual St. Valentin edition. The 34.9mm case (larger than the standard Ladybird, at a tiny 21.5mm) is made of white gold with a diamond-set bezel; another ring of diamonds adorns the mother-of-pearl dial, with Blancpain’s signature sage leaf hour and minute hands and an on-theme seconds hand representing a heart pierced by Cupid’s arrow. The ultra-thin Blancpain Caliber 1153 beats inside, imparting this elegant watch a robust 100 hours of power reserve.
Vacheron Constantin Égérie Self Winding
Price: $31,300, Reference: 4605F/000R-B496, Case Size: 35mm, Case Height: 7.2mm, Lug Width: 17 mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1088
Vacheron Constantin unveiled the revamped version of its Egerie collection in 2020 — its name referring to the nymph Egeria from Roman mythology and its mission statement to fuse the worlds of high fashion and haute horlogerie. The cases, at 37mm or 35mm, feature diamond-set bezels and unusually placed crowns at 1:30; the sector-style dials are framed by a fashion-inspired pleated motif. The moon-phase edition pictured above is powered by Vacheron’s self-winding caliber Caliber 1088 L, with an openworked rose-gold rotor and a 40-hour power reserve.
Breguet Reine de Naples 8918
Price: $37,400, Reference: 8918BB/28/964/D00D, Case Size: 28.45mm x 36.5mm, Case Height: 9.32mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Breguet Caliber 537/3
The timepiece that inspired Breguet’s Reine de Naples collection was made in 1812 for Caroline Murat, sister of Napolean Bonaparte and Queen of Naples, and was also, some historians believe, the first watch made to be worn on the wrist. The modern Reine de Naples replicates that historical piece's unusual ovoid-shaped case with a 4 o’clock crown and radiating Deco numerals on the dial. This model is distinguished by its Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial and white-gold case with 117 round diamonds on its bezel. The self-winding Breguet caliber inside is visible behind a sapphire caseback.
Arnold & Son Perpetual Moon Eclipse
Price: $81,230, Reference: 1GLMW.Z01A.C205A, Case Size: 38mm, Case Height: 10.44mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manually wound Caliber A&S1612
Arnold & Son describes its Perpetual Moon Eclipse as “its first watch designed, created, embellished, and powered for women.” Its 38mm white gold case features 90 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, lugs, and crown, and a blue aventurine crystal dial with lace-like cut-outs through which the wearer can glimpse the lunar disks of the moon-phase display, made from ruthenium crystals and set against a starry sky of mother-of-pearl. The entirely new in-house movement created for this 18-piece limited edition, Caliber A&S1612, is the smallest Arnold & Son has ever developed, all the more impressive a feat considering it incorporates a moon-phase complication that will maintain accuracy for 122 years before needing a reset.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Star
Price: $84,500, Reference: Q36434C1, Case Size: 36mm, Case Height: 11.16mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 734
Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced its Rendez-Vous line of women’s watches in 2012 and has been adding complications to it ever since. The latest and most intriguing is the world’s-first mechanism in 2022’s Rendez-Vous Star, a standout at the Watches & Wonders fair in Geneva, which replicates the romance and unpredictability of a shooting star against a starry night sky. At random moments when the watch is being worn, the movement of the wrist activates a titanium disk, beneath the hand-painted, star-dappled sapphire main dial, which sends a shooting star streaking across the watch’s celestial face an average of four to six times per hour. The bezel, upper lug surfaces, and crown of the 36mm white-gold case are set with diamonds; the all-new movement at the heart of this stellar timepiece is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s automatic Caliber 734, whose power reserve is an impressive 70 hours.
Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery
Price: $166,000, Reference: 103560, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: N/A, Movement: Manually wound Bulgari BVL 100 Piccolissimo
Bulgari has made its reptilian-themed Serpenti jewelry watches since the 1950s, and the model gained iconic status after it was worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 movie Cleopatra. For the recently introduced Serpenti Misteriosi, Bulgari introduced its newest extra-small caliber, the BVL100 “Piccolissimo,” which clocks in at a minuscule 12.3mm in diameter and 2.50mm thick and is installed in the head of the snake that tops off the coiling, lacquered bracelet whose scales feature a gleaming handmade striped finish. The head and tail of the serpent are set with brilliant cut diamonds; pressing the tongue of the snake opens its mouth to reveal the tiny watch face while manual winding and time setting are accomplished via the crown mounted in the caseback.
Join the Conversation
As you said, “why are so many women’s watches little more than miniaturized, often jewel-encrusted versions of the most popular men’s models?”
Us women don’t always need diamond options; for instance I really like the Breitling Chronomat 36 and the Longines Spirit 37.