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Throwback Sundays: Six Gentleman Watches for the Ladies, from Our Archives

In the mood for change.
by Robin Lim on July 21, 2019
Reviews

Not too long ago, a friend of the author texted him to ask for a watch recommendation. This one, however, was little different.

The difference came in the form of requirements. The lady friend wanted something that showcases her personality – something along the line of boldness which displays her confidence, yet chic and elegant at the same time. It must be presentable in a corporate setting as well – all within a generous budget of around S$20,000.

Typically, for a lady, the solution is to go with the conventional ladies watches like the Rolex Datejust or Omega Constellation. However, this case is slightly different. We think that we might be able to stretch it a little further, by going into the territory of men’s watches. It is pretty much a norm to see ladies wearing men’s watches these days, and it is honestly quite refreshing sight to behold. We think that this might be something that will tick all the right boxes, and simultaneously offer a rather diverse choice of selection as well.

So, without any further ado, let’s see what are the six gentlemen’s watches that we’ve came up with for the lady friend.

Panerai Luminor 44mm

The first watch that is on the top of our list is Panerai, and specifically the Luminor collection.

There is always something about the Luminor collection. The case design is iconic, and its large size gives the watch a rather great wrist presence. However, despite its large case size (we are talking about the conventional 44mm model), we do think that the watch does looks good on a ladies’ wrist when it is strapped with a brightly-coloured leather strap.

Prices for the Luminor collection begins at S$7,100 for the base model – now fitted with an in-house manufactured manual-winding movement. There are many options and complications available, but we reckon the simple base model works best with these striking strap options.

Cartier Santos

Since its inception in 1904, the Cartier Santos has been a mainstay for the Parisienne luxury maison. Originally conceived as a pilot’s watch, the Santos is now an icon in the horological world.

The Santos collection recently undergone a revamp in 2018, with a face-lift to modernise the century-old model. The 2018 timepiece now features a thinner bezel, as well as a brand-new in-house developed movement. There is also a new quick strap-change mechanism in place, for a seamless strap swapping experience.

The case is available in “M” and “L” sizes, at 35.1mm and 39.8mm respectively. It is also available in “XL” size (43.3mm), but that is only available with the chronograph function. The price for the base model is priced at S$8,600, and we think it is an interesting and safe option for someone who wants an iconic yet bold timepiece.

Rolex Submariner

When it comes to Rolex watches, the ladies have often opted for the Datejust (28mm or 31mm). Do not get us wrong – the Datejust is a watch that deserves the Rolex crown. But we think that there’s more for the ladies than just that.

We think that the Rolex sports models are apt watches for the modern lady collectors. The watches are generally timeless in design, but more importantly it exudes a certain sense of confidence for the wearer as well. The 40mm Submariner, notably the Reference 114060, is our pick. It is a classic tool watch, but more importantly the black dial and bezel combination is versatile in many occasions, as compared some of its brethren.

The Submariner is a easy watch to pull off for the ladies. It is simple, but sophisticated as well. In addition, it makes a strong, but not too overpowering, statement. The Reference 114060 is priced at S$10,060, it is a quintessential piece in any watch collection.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun

The next choice might provide a slight overdose of testosterone, but this is exactly the reason that makes it an interesting choice in the selection. Cue the IWC Pilot’s Chronograph Top Gun Edition.

The combination of a pilot’s watch and the Top Gun label gives the watch an extra “cool” factor. Top Gun – for the uninitiated – is the navy fighter weapons school where the best navy aviators pit against each other in the academy. The watch’s association with the organisation, together with its matte black ceramic case, surely makes the watch a little bit extra special than the usual pilot’s watches from IWC or otherwise.

The latest edition, fitted with the Calibre 69380 (based on the Valjoux 7750), is priced at S$11,500. If one is looking for a stylish timepiece that showcases some character, this IWC might just meet the requirements.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique

Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo Automatique is fast turning into one of our favourite watches in recent years. Sleek, stylish, and sexy – it is no doubt that it managed to capture our hearts so effortlessly.

First launched in 2014, the Octo Finissimo collection had immediately captured the attention of watch collectors. Here, Bvlgari had managed to retain Gerald Genta’s design ethos and drastically make it more elegant with a slimmer case profile. What is even more amazing is that Bvlgari had managed to do so with a myriad of complications: tourbillon, chronograph, and minute repeater.

For a collector who is looking to include a chic timepiece into the collection, the Octo Finissimo Automatique is an excellent option. The time-only model allows the design of the watch to shine, and it looks rather elegant on the wrist as well. The 40mm stainless steel timepiece retails at S$18,350.

A. Lange and Söhne Saxonia Thin

Finally, we have the entry-level (but damn fine) piece from A. Lange & Söhne: Saxonia Thin 37mm.

Launched in mid-2016, the time-only Saxonia Thin encapsulates what a dress watch should be. The 37mm watch is simple and discreet, but it certainly exudes class and quality. The highlight for the piece perhaps lies in its finishing. A. Lange & Söhne is known for its impeccable attention to detail, and collectors will be pleased to know that the finishing of the Saxonia Thin is on par with its higher-end competitors in the “holy trinity” cateogory.

The watch retails at US$14,800 (approximately S$19,985), and we believe that it is very well-priced for a timepiece of such calibre. It is a very discreet timepiece; those who know, will know.

Concluding Thoughts

The inspiration behind the timepiece was based on a simple request, but it was not an easy decision to come up with these six selections.

What drove us to seek out men’s watches, instead of selecting traditional ladies’ watches, is due to the fact that more and more ladies are wearing men’s watches these days, based on daily (but unverified) observations. This was uncommon in the past, but in today’s age ladies have seemed to embrace wearing larger watches. Perhaps its style, but it might also point to the fact that ladies are more confident and bold in their selection as well. We aren’t complaining; some of them actually pulls off men’s watches much better than some of the males.

Of course, these watches will also look cool with a feminine touch as well. A striking red strap, for instance, will elevate the looks of some of these watches as well. We do think that the likes of Panerai Luminor, Cartier Santos, and A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin might look rather pretty with that sort of strap combination on a lady’s wrist.

What are your thoughts on our selection? Have we missed out any other compelling alternatives as well? Let us know in the comments section below.

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