Just like the “boyfriend shirt” and “boyfriend jeans”, men’s watches are another staple of the male wardrobe that women have made their own.
With a larger diameter, a more sporty and less glitzy aesthetic, men’s watches provide the perfect contrast to a feminine look and have been in vogue for several years. In fact, this trend is just as present in the world of men’s watches, where the size of cases has been expanding exponentially over the last 20 years.
Now, the trend has inevitably caught on with women, too. The second reason for this phenomenon is more historical. Watch models designed from a purely horological and mechanical perspective were generally targeted at a male clientèle, who supposedly had more of a passion for mechanics and what’s “under the hood”.
Big mistake. There has always been a certain number of women who appreciate the horology aesthetic and are just as enthusiastic about sophisticated mechanical watch movements.
More often than not, men’s watches are more interesting from a technical point of view than ladies’ watches. It’s more difficult to find complications and other finishing touches on watches that are designed to fit women.
Unable to find watches of this type designed for their own wrists, women began to wear some of the (often iconic) models from Omega, Longines, Tissot and Breguet, which had each left their mark on history.
Little by little, watch companies began to adapt and offer more feminine technical timepieces. But the fashion had been established and wasn’t about to disappear. Larger faces, complex designs, and diving or aviation watch aesthetics can establish a good balance when teamed with more feminine accessories and jewellery.
They can even serve as a bracelet when worn with a sweater or tweed jacket. It’s all a question of style. Wearing a man's watch indicates a penchant for design, as well as a certain knowledge of horology, with all its classicism and technicality. Men's watches are less conspicuous than women's and rarely feature stones or gems and it’s this apparent simplicity of design that attracts women to the men’s shelf at the watchmaker's.
For everyday wear, a robust design can also be highly desirable, with many women seeking a watch that can withstand the constraints of everyday life. This trend really began to spread thanks to a handful of highly publicised images of female American celebrities wearing men's watches, sometimes for sentimental reasons. One would be pictured wearing her husband’s watch, another her father’s... these ladies always found a good reason to indulge their passion for men’s watches.
And that’s not to mention the history and tales some of these watches carry with them, whether they have an interesting past or association with people who have worn them (particularly celebrities!).
So what is it that women like most about men’s watches? They aren’t looking for subtlety, that much is clear. It’s all about the volume, wearing the watch slightly loose to add a more masculine touch, steel straps, imposing faces and large hands. It’s about finding something that can make them look elegant and sporty at the same time.
The larger faces on men's watches can sometimes delicately emphasise the lines of a woman’s wrist. Being able to remove the watch easily when worn slightly loose can also have a fun effect, as long as the watch is not disproportionately large.
Generally speaking, it’s important to choose a watch that fits the size of your wrist.