Choosing the perfect luxury watch for her
Your pre-Christmas guide to investing in the right timepiece gift
For a long time, the ladies’ luxury watch market was limited to petite versions of men’s watches with added diamonds or a pretty pearl face. But times are changing – at this year’s Baselworld, the number of specifically designed women’s watches was higher than ever. That creates the perfect opportunity to thrill the lady in your life with a truly memorable Christmas gift. So we spoke to luxury watch expert David Duggan to find out more about the changing market and get some tips on how to pick the perfect luxury watch for her.
What’s the gender divide like in the watch market?
Certainly, there has been a shift in the demographic. Around 90% of the people that come into the showroom are male watch collectors, but we’re undeniably seeing an increase in women intrigued by the benefits and prospects of owning a preowned, luxury watch. More women are abandoning the dainty, quartz powered, diamond-encrusted formula for larger watches with serious complications and they’re choosing vintage models to enhance their investment.
Women also tend to be more practical, I’m endlessly amazed at how devoted ladies often become to just one watch. There is a certain a loyalty which you don’t often see with men. It’s only recently that we have noticed women starting to opt for more than one watch.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to buy a watch for a woman?
You need to start with the basics. Think about her style and look to her current wardrobe for clues. Does she wear minimal, unassuming jewellery? Does she like bold, sporty statement pieces? If she prefers gold, which colour? Once you’ve got to grips with her taste, you can start considering which brand might suit. As an investment, you can’t go wrong with a luxury second hand watch. Patek Philippe and Rolex are sterling winners and can fit both high end and more modest budgets.
What separates a feminine or masculine watch?
Historically, ladies’ watches have always been smaller. Rolex used to offer their watches in three sizes – gents’, mid-size and ladies’ – the ladies’ having noticeably smaller faces and more delicate steel bracelets. Now, we’re seeing more women choose the medium sized sports Rolexes, bypassing the smaller styles in favour of a statement piece. Just last week, an eighteen-year-old visited us looking for a Rolex Sea Dweller for her own birthday. It seems like the demand for dainty, feminine watches is passing, which is a good thing because ladies’ watches don’t perform as well in the investment market. So, if your wife, partner or daughter is attracted to a large gentleman’s watch like a gents’ 40 millimetre Rolex Day-Date, then go for it!
Which brands cater better to women?
Historically it’s been Cartier that entices female buyers. As a luxury jewellery brand, they create beautifully designed timepieces with superb faces and bracelets, which – despite their relatively uncomplicated movements – have survived the test of time purely for their aesthetic quality. Cartiers also hold their value well. Another brand which caters well to women’s wrists is Jaeger-LeCoultre.
What are your most popular women’s watches?
Jaeger-LeCoultre produces one of my favourite watches – the Duetto, which is very similar to the Reverso collection. It’s available in both leather and steel straps and has two faces; a modest white dial for day wear and a black dial with diamonds for the evening. It’s impeccably versatile and fulfils many women’s desire to own one watch that suits all occasions. Practicality aside, it’s a stunning watch that I would always recommend.
Which models would you recommend for a Christmas gift?
Any preowned, top condition watch with the original box and guarantee would be a fantastic present. If you can afford to start with something like a pre-owned Rolex Submariner, it will already be on its way to becoming an investment the moment you make the purchase. Equally, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duetto or Patek Philippe model Twenty4 are good options.
Don’t forget to consider the servicing and maintenance required for vintage watches as well. Early models may not have waterproof features, may be more fragile and will likely require regular servicing. It’s worth bearing those future costs in mind if you’re giving a watch to a loved one, unless you’re planning to fill their Christmas stocking with gift vouchers for servicing as well!
If a pre-owned watch doesn’t appeal, then a new Tudor could be an option. I’ve sold two gentlemen’s Tudor sports watches in the last 10 days to ladies seeking a reliable, every day timekeeper. Tudor Pelagos models are also very popular.
Above all, it’s important to find a watch that your loved one will like and want to keep for a while. So make sure your primary goal is to give them a gift they will fall in love with. If you can marry this with a sound investment proposition, then all the better.