T3's favourite women's watches
There might not be quite the same gargantuan choice that there is the men’s watch arena, but there are still numerous smart ladies' watches to choose from.
- Looking for a man's watch? These are the best watches for men
While you’d expect a watch made for women to sport a slightly more delicate strap and face, that doesn’t mean it has to be pink or covered in flowers fashioned from Swarovski crystals. We've gone for watches that are feminine without being overtly girly. Watches built for business and fun.
From affordable retro timepieces to luxurious designer watches, these are the best watches for tech-minded women to buy in 2016.
- Looking for a really expensive man's watch? Try our best luxury watch roundup
- More tech for women - no pink or Swarovski guaranteed
Montblanc Star Chronograph UTC
This beautiful chronograph from Swiss luxury brand Montblanc is a solid investment piece, if ever we saw one. It's also, slightly unusually, unisex, so you could conceivably wear the same watch as your partner. How romantic and/or creepy.
The black alligator leather strap is teamed with a silver stainless steel case and silver Guilloché patterned dial for a classic look that speaks of the brand's long history of watch-making in Switzerland's chocolate-box-perfect Jura valley.
Giving the Star a further touch of class, there's a subtle splash of fashionable rose gold on the hands and numbers. As well as the date, there's also a secondary time zone, and it's water resistant to 30m.
Price £3,390 | Selfridge's
Olivia Burton Big Dial
British watch brand Olivia Burton brings out new styles every two months, meaning that it’s always got plenty of on-trend offerings. The Big Dial is one of its statement watches.
Measuring 38mm, the face isn’t actually that big, but it looks it next to the delicate soft leather strap, although a metal option is also on the table.
Speaking of options, the modern design comes in a host of colour combinations, and while most of them sport neutral hues, we like this striking teal option, teamed with a silver gold-plated case.
£80 (£95 with metal strap) | John Lewis
Georg Jensen Vivianna
This unusual watch/bangle hybrid comes from the "nice things" brand founded in 1904 by Danish silversmith Georg Jensen, and was designed in 1969 by Swedish jewellery designer Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe.
The stunning minimalist design feature a small (27mm) watch face with a mirrored silver dial to match the bracelet. The movement is Swiss-made quartz, and convex Sapphire crystal glass covers the face for extra durability/class/expensiveness.
A number of Vivianna variants are available including this one with a hammered silver face. Nice.
£1,280 | Georg Jensen
£1,550 for hammered silver | Amazon
Ted Baker Raysa
British fashion brand Ted Baker offers only a few watch options for women and this is the pick of the bunch, being a neat timepiece that offers a classic watch design with a feminine touch.
While there’s also an option with a black band, the nude leather wrist strap offers a slightly more delicate look for the ladies while the double-sub dial design keeps it from looking too girly.
Nixon K Squared
Nixon make some great, affordable watches for the boys, but can also turn its hand to the ladies' market. The neat, square design of case and the tapered leather wristband give this neat watch a tailored feel. The 32mm watch face makes it ideal for ladylike wrists, while the understated face with debossed hour markers lend it a touch of elegance.
There are ten great colour combinations to choose from. We favour this classic, black and silver option with a striking peppermint green face. The minimalist style and reasonable price make this sleek timepiece a great buy.
£140 | Amazon
Ingersoll Disney Silver Mickey Mouse
Can’t afford to splash out on an Apple Watch to get the animated Mickey Mouse face? No problem. You can go genuinely old-skool with this friendly timepiece featuring Disney’s famous rodent and his rotating arms.
Crafted by long-time affordable watchmeister Ingersoll, the Mickey design comes in rose gold or silver. The watch sports a stainless steel case, a matching ‘leather look’ strap and standard three-hand movement though, of course, two of those hands do belong to a cartoon mouse. An affordable, kitsch design classic that will never go out of date.
Kate Spade Metro Grand
This tasty piece comes from New York fashion house Kate Spade, best known for its handbags.
With a design inspired by The Big Apple, the Metro Grand sports an enamel dial surrounded by a shiny gold-plated frame that reflects the sharp look of the towering metropolis, supposedly. It looks good, anyhow.
There are no numbers on the face, just simple gold marks and a golden spade icon at 12 o’clock. The 38mm face is held in place with a comfy quilted boarskin embossed leather strap that adds to the premium look.
Price: £179 | Kate Spade
Mondaine Evo Petite
We love Mondaine’s 1940s Swiss railway clock-influenced designs and apparently Apple did too as it had to pay the watchmaker over £15m in 2012 when Mondaine threatened to sue the Cupertino brand over the ‘familiar’ design of its iPad clock, which closely resembled one of the maker’s trademarked designs. True story.
This neat timepiece features a scaled down version for ladylike wrists and includes a domed mineral glass for a magnifying effect. Quite simply one of the most graphically clear watch faces you will ever see.
Price: £139 | Amazon
Like the TAG Heuer in this list, the Tissot Dressport is like a men's watch that's been feminised, for a look that's cool, tomboyish and slightly subversive. This is actually one of the less 'mannish' variants on it, in fact.
With a stainless steel, 35mm face it's big for a ladies' watch, with full chronograph functions and waterproofing to 30m. A quartz movement keeps the price down.
£330 | Tissot
Swatch Night View
The famous Swiss watchmaker has been making quality timepieces in eye-catching designs since the 1980s. The affordable price tag and ever-changing carousel of colours means that there’s something for everyone, and it’s always easy to pick up a Swatch watch to match your outfit, mood, and bank balance.
So for today, let's go with this matte black model, which sports electric blue accents, along with an elongated strap that wraps around the wrist twice for a striking look. Tiny crystals embedded in the dial give a subtle sparkle without edging too far towards garish bling. The price is an absolute giveaway.
Price: £32 | Swatch
Chanel J12 Black
Many of Chanel’s watch designs can be a little flowery, but the J12 is a bona fide classic. The sporty ceramic and steel timepiece from the legendary French fashion house is available in a variety of finishes but this black model oozes understated elegance.
The ‘superluminova’ - woop! - hands allow for greater visibility in the dark, while the the watch face is protected by super-strong sapphire crystal. The price tacks towards the high side, but this is a very fine choice indeed, and you're worth it.
TAG Heuer Formula One
This stunning model is from legendary purveyor of chonometers for blokey blokes, Tag Heuer. It sports a polished steel design with a folding butterfly clasp and white ceramic details that give it a feminine edge without making it too girly.
With a Swiss-made quartz movement under the chassis, the timepiece not only looks good but is also tough enough to withstand wear and tear: waterproof to 200m, with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face.
The hands are coated with luminescent material to enhance visibility in the dark, underwater, or in space, where nobody can hear you scream. We could imagine Ripley wearing this, actually.
Vivienne Westwood Bow Watch
Featuring a rose gold finish with a patent black leather, this striking timepiece comes from designer and punk icon Vivienne Westwood and hints at maverick glamour, without going over the top. Though if you want over the top, Westwood's website certainly has options along those lines.
Sure, there are crystals here, but they’re carefully incorporated into the watch dial, while Westwood’s famous orb logo appears on the face and also as a subtle charm that dangles from the watch’s frame. It’s these little details that give the timepiece’s classic design more of a quirky look. There’s even an iridescent cut glass crystal set into the crown.
Price: £235 | Vivienne Westwood
Orla Kiely Frankie
This Irish fashion designer is best known for her bold prints that have a Mid-Century Modern vibe about them. Carrying on that very feel, this works a matte, brushed gold casing and bracelet, joined by a dark olive green watch face emblazoned with Kiely’s signature ‘Stem’ print for a cool vintage look. Yes, we like cool, vintage looks this season, as you can tell.
The watch is water resistant and also comes in polished gold with a white face, or polished rose gold with a black face. Bonus feature on all models: a very attractive box featuring the designer’s Abacus print.
Price: £150 | Orla Kiely