Women appreciate the originality, quality and sartorial style provided by a fine piece of clothing. Why should we settle for anything less when adorning our wrists with a timepiece?
The development of the quartz movement in the 1970s nearly killed off the Swiss watch industry.
In the 1980s, however, fine mechanical timepieces rose like a phoenix from the ashes. The brands blossomed with creativity, presenting the world with gorgeous mechanical marvels, kinetic sculpture that told time. Except they were primarily made for men.
Certainly, women were offered some pretty pieces, but these watches still contained quartz movements. No doubt the timepieces were beautiful, especially all dolled up with jewels, but we value more than just a pretty face. The prevailing wisdom was that we couldn't handle a chronograph, perpetual calendar and certainly a tourbillon might make us faint. Also, we were too flighty to remember to wind a watch so a battery-powered movement would do. The wonderful thing is that a good majority of mechanical watches are automatic, meaning you don't have to wind them if you wear them because the motion of your arm swings a little rotor that goes around and tightens the spring, which provides the energy.
We're brainier than men think, aren't we, ladies? If someone explains a mechanical watch, it's easy to understand. The more complications on a watch, the more expensive it is. All complication means is that there's an added function to the watch beyond the time, thus making it more complicated. Not so hard, right? For example, a chronograph is a way to measure intervals of time. You just push two buttons and voila, you understand what to do. A perpetual calendar never has to be reset because it keeps track of the exact amount of days in a month and also the leap years -- of course, if you keep it wound up. And, a tourbillon twirls around the escapement in a cage, negating the effects of gravity, which is supposed to make the watch more precise. Okay, the last one is a bit tougher, but will only take a few minutes to explain. Just ask me. But see, you already know a bunch about mechanical watches.
Much of the value and beauty of luxury timepieces comes from the complexity and decoration of the mechanical movement. Dare I say, that the brands love to sell quartz watches because the profit margin is much bigger than on a mechanical piece. Try reselling a quartz watch you paid a bundle for and see what happens. If you take a look at the quartz movement you'll see why -- oh, that's right, quartz movements are hidden behind a solid back, while mechanical watches show off the movement through a clear, sapphire crystal.
Since women are getting savvier, the brands are starting to produce mechanical timepieces just for us. Finally! You don't have to sacrifice your bling either. Here are some watches to consider, though there are many more.
This year Patek Philippe released a women's split second chronograph (two chrono hands to measure an increment within an interval), the smallest of its kind. It's very feminine with diamonds surrounding the bezel. If you wear this one, you'll be wearing a world record movement from the epitome of watch brands. Though, for this high complication and marques name you're going to pay a bundle.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, famous for their Reverso, just introduced a new ladies watch called the Rendez-Vous Ladies. Gorgeous Diane Kruger was so enchanted with the design she lent her name to the project. The watch has an Art Deco feel with the 1930s style Arabic hour markers. A day/night indication adds some nice character to the dial along with the guilloché texture.
First conceived and released in 1955, the updated and re-released Ladymatic, contains the in-house co-axial movement, the first one OMEGA put in a ladies watch. The mechanics are solid but OMEGA hasn't forgotten the looks either. The dial, with 18K Superluminova hands so you can see in low light conditions, is either mother-of-pearl or lacquered, matching well with the ceramic ring of the case. A handy date window sits at three o'clock. This package comes on a lovely bracelet in yellow gold, red gold or stainless steel. Bezel on the gold models is encrusted with diamonds.
Lange & Sohne, the only haute horlogerie German brand, offers a take of the classic Saxonia in a 37mm case that's perfect for us girls. It's big enough to be elegant but not so huge it steals the show from you. This time-only watch has a gorgeous solid silver dial overlaid with mother-of-pearl, while diamonds sparkle on the bezel. And you're getting one of the most beautiful movements in the business. Flip it over and get transfixed by the German Silver providing a beautiful landscape for the blued screws and gold chatons.
With the svelte and sexy Cat's Eye among their collection, Girard-Perregaux also caters to the sophisticated woman with an appreciation for mechanics. The case is in the shape of, what else, a cat's eye. It comes with many complications, including a unique annual and zodiac calendars. I like this model because it's so different from anything else and you'll always know which sign and date it is during the year. Of course, you get your gems too. Diamonds wink at you not only on the bezel but also on the lugs. A perfect package.
There are so many more to discuss and I'm excited to share the dynamic offerings with you -- along with my opinions about value and style. Whether classic and serious or avant-garde and playful, a range of options and styles await you. You just need to determine which one suits your particular occasion and lifestyle. And that is the hardest part -- choosing just one.