by Dana Li
Whether you’re someone thinking of buying their first piece or an enthusiast who wants to expand their collection, there is a watch for you. In this 2 part series, I will be putting together a compilation of watches based on budget that aren’t necessarily designated in brands’ traditional women’s collections, but wear well on women. This last article in the series features my picks for watches over $5,000 if you have a higher budget for your piece and may be looking to splurge.
Note: While I would love to include some vintage options in this series, the prices of vintage watches change so frequently that it’s difficult to predict which price range they will fall in. Therefore, I’ve focused this article on modern pieces that are available for purchase and do not require a waitlist as of February 2022.
The Reverso is probably one of my favorite watches ever. The current Reverso lineup has numerous variations that feature different complications and sizes, but this Reverso Classic Small Monoface is the closest in proportion to the original 1930s version. The watch was originally designed for British polo players who needed a solution to the glass on their watches cracking during matches. The reversible case also makes it great if you want to engrave anything on the case back.
Even though the Ballon Bleu is one of the newer designs in the Cartier line-up, it has become one of brand’s best-selling models since its launch in 2007. The watch has graced the wrists of powerful women such as Kate Middleton and Vice President Kamala Harris and is the ultimate statement piece despite having a classic and understated silhouette. With a range of sizes from 26mm to 42mm and a number of dial variations and case materials, there is a Ballon Bleu for everyone.
From the detailed dial resembling the sakura blossoms falling into the water to the precise Spring Drive movement, this US-exclusive from the Japan Seasons collection showcases everything that Grand Seiko does best. The watch is also extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear thanks to the titanium case and bracelet. Swap the bracelet with a strap and you’ve got yourself a perfect dressy piece.
IWC launched the Portofino in the 1980s with a pocket watch movement that featured a moon phase complication. It has since become a staple in IWC’s lineup and comes in a range of sizes and complications. The Portofino Moonphase is a clean dressy piece that can instantly elevate any outfit or occasion. The blue sunburst dial on this variation is also both striking and subtle enough to wear for every day.
The Zenith Chronomaster Original is one of my favorite chronographs for a number of reasons: its functionality, accuracy, and wearability. Zenith’s El Primero movement is one of the most accurate chronographs on the market, with the ability to measure 1/10th of a second. Rolex even used the iconic movement in their Daytona watches from 1988 to 2000. Thanks to the iconic blue and grey shades on the dial, the Chronomaster Original can be worn with just about any outfit in any occasion.
The Omega Speedmaster is instantly recognizable and steeped in history. As arguably the most iconic chronograph ever, it is a watch that every serious watch collector has owned or will own at some point during their collecting journey. Though it was first introduced as a sports and racing watch in 1957, the Speedmaster became critical in NASA’s space missions beginning in the 1960’s, accompanying Ed White on the Gemini 4 mission and Buzz Aldrin on the first manned moon landing. As a result of its role in helping the Apollo 13 crew, Omega was awarded the Snoopy award, which continues to be incorporated into the commemorative editions of the Speedmaster. With its sleek black dial and bezel against the steel, the Speedmaster is incredibly wearable for anyone. This 39mm version also features an exhibition caseback that showcases the legendary Caliber 321.
A. Lange & Söhne was one of the first watch makers to settle and produce watches out of Glashütte, Germany in the 1800s. From the Lange 1 to the Datograph, Lange has artfully crafted some of the most technically complex and beautiful watches that rival those from the Swiss holy trinity of Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet. The Saxonia collection was first launched in 1994 and has since become one of Lange’s quintessential models. The Mother of Pearl (MOP) dial is the stunning focal point of the piece that’s accentuated by the white gold and white alligator leather strap. Wear it during formal occasions or dress it down as an everyday piece.
A twist on the classic Cartier Tank silhouette, the Cartier Tank Cintrée has a gorgeous elongated, curved case. In 1920s, the popularity of wristwatches exploded. In response, Louis Cartier designed the Tank Cintrée to fit comfortably on the wrist rather than adapting pocket watches to the wrist, a common practice among watch makers during that time. The black dial combined with the rose gold case on this particular model of the Cintrée goes with just about everything and will look sleek on any wrist.
Even though it is a part of Vacheron’s ladies collection, the Égérie is the epitome of elegance. It comes in a number of materials and sizes, but this 35mm pink gold absolutely takes the cake for me. The Égérie collection was designed by and dedicated for women and is meant to embody the intersection of haute couture and haute horology. That aesthetic definitely comes through on the watch, with the detail of the pleated folds on the dial, the slim case, and the diamonds on the bezel. This dressy piece will make a statement against any outfit and is a show-stopper for any formal occasions.
For the woman who’s constantly jet-setting to her next destination and is looking for a decorated, statement piece that works with her on-the-go lifestyle, this Patek Philippe World Time blends functionality with feminine elegance and beauty. The unique hand-guilloched light gray-blue dial, along with the matching alligator strap makes this watch jaw-dropping. If you’re looking for a big splurge that showcases some of the best of Patek, this is the watch for you. As a note, this watch may not be readily available in all authorized dealers or boutiques but you should be able to request/order the watch.