A beautiful luxury watch is a timeless investment. More than jewellery, more than a functional accessory, it is the ultimate statement piece. That special something extra that adds instant polish to any outfit. Slip on a Cartier or Rolex with a simple sweater and jeans, and it immediately becomes a complete look – the embodiment of elegant and chic styling.
Wristwatches are, in fact, an accessory originally created for women. While pocket watches have been worn for centuries by men, women lacked a unique timepiece that fitted with their fashion sensibilities. Early wristwatches were made out of the finest materials and created exclusively for women of royal or noble standing. By the early twentieth century, wristwatches had become a practical and sought-after accessory for women of all social classes. Today, a luxury watch is high up on many of our wish lists.
The importance of a luxury watch as a reflection of your personal style means that it isn’t a buying decision that should be taken lightly. This is a purchase where doing your homework matters. This means balancing precision engineering with style credentials and shopping around to find a watch that ‘feels’ right. After all – it’s likely to be one of your go-to accessories for quite some time to come.
Looking for some luxury watch inspiration? We have brought together 5 of our favourite models below.
1. Cartier Tank
The Cartier Tank has impeccable style credentials and is now one of the most iconic watches in the world. It’s a watch that has graced the wrists of many famous women, but it started out life as a watch just for men.
It made its debut in 1917 when Cartier reportedly gifted one to General Pershing, commander of US forces in Europe. The design inspiration does indeed have a military background, with its simple lines and clean form inspired by the tanks that first grabbed the world’s attention in World War One. The Cartier Tank was an immediate success, and design variations, including models for women, soon followed. The Cartier Tank came to be defined by three classic models, the Francaise, the Americaine and the Solo.
During its long history, and despite numerous stylistic twists and embellishments, the fundamental design ethos has remained the same. A simple, clean watch that is timelessly stylish. Perhaps, that’s why, as we celebrate the Cartier Tank centenary, we all still love it so. If you’re a fan of simple, understated elegance, then the Tank could be the watch for you.
Famous Cartier Tank wearers are too numerous to mention, but it was a favourite of Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy, while today Elle Macpherson and Michelle Obama are often seen sporting this timeless, luxury watch.
2. Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso has Art Deco sensibilities and an understated glamour that continues to sustain its popularity over 80 years after its initial release. It also has a fabulous origin story.
The tale goes that after a polo match in India, players complained that nearly all their watches had broken during play. A group of players challenged businessman César de Trey to design a watch that was ‘polo proof,’ and so he went off and did just that! The unique pivot function of a Reverso is born from a design idea conceived to allow polo players to protect their watches during play.
Today the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso still feels incredibly wearable, and despite dips in popularity during the 40s and 50s it has undergone several reincarnations and remains one of the most sought-after luxury watches.
This watch is also one of the most mechanically accomplished and complex around. In 1994 Jaeger designed the versatile Duetto, allowing women to switch between beautiful day and night watch faces.
In 2006, the Reverso became one of the first watches to contain three dials driven by a single movement. The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso perfectly balances beauty and technology. This a watch you can trust to perform.
Recently, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso shot even further up our wish list when it celebrated its 85th birthday through a collaboration with designer Christian Louboutin. The iconic brands jointly designed a series of customisable watches with vibrant dials and complementary leather straps. This truly modern way of celebrating classic design makes a perfect watch for the woman who likes to stand out from the crowd.
3. Omega Constellation
As one of the oldest and most prestigious watch brands, Omega had to make our list. The Constellation has remained immensely popular since its release in 1952 and remains one of our favourite women’s watches.
The Omega Constellation was born from an attempt to capitalise on the success of an earlier watch – the Century. The Century was released a decade before the Constellation, to mark Omega’s 100 years in the watch business. The Constellation had to be clean, adaptable and beautiful – it certainly delivered (and continues to) on all these fronts.
Like many watches on our list, the Omega Constellation started out as a man’s wristwatch that was adapted for the female market. The Constellation has embraced new designs and ideas over the years, and this approach has kept the model fresh and exciting. It has never been afraid to evolve, and this makes it an interesting watch to invest in. The Constellation series has always paid attention to detail. Lavish dials, alongside beautifully crafted lugs and hands, have become hallmarks of this design.
Modern Omega Constellation lovers include Anna Kendrick and Nicole Kidman. If you love understated elegance, the Omega Constellation could be the perfect timepiece for you.
4. Rolex Lady-Datejust
Rolex is perhaps the best-known luxury watch brand in the world and this makes their watches incredibly desirable for both men and women. The Datejust is, quite simply, a beautiful and classic watch that will never go out of fashion. At its release in 1945, the Datejust was the first watch with an automatic date function and in the 1950s Rolex created a smaller, more refined model, marketed specifically for women. The Lady-Datejust was born.
The Lady-Datejust has been through many incarnations and models although the classic profile remains immediately recognisable. The wonderful versatility of the Lady-Datejust design means you can choose a model that perfectly reflects your sense of style. From rose gold cases to a diamond encrusted face, you can wear a watch that truly defines who you are. The Lady-Datejust has also evolved to reflect current trends with a new, larger 36mm case recognising the demand for oversized ladies watches.
Eva Longoria and Rihanna are both fans of the classic Lady-Datejust and this watch remains a firm favourite with the fashion set. If you are looking for a modern take on a style classic, then explore the many incarnations of the Lady-Datejust.
5. Bulgari Serpenti
The Bulgari Serpenti is a decadent watch that feels like the perfect fit for your evening wardrobe. A sensuous snaking design and (often) bling-heavy embellishment means this is not a watch for the faint of heart. It’s a watch to be noticed in.
Bulgari began to explore their snake obsession in the 1940s when they started to produce all manner of winding serpent jewellery – including watches. This idea was an immediate hit and quickly became an iconic part of the brand. Bulgari reinvented designs throughout the following decades to develop a number of iconic Serpenti watches. Designs have ranged from simple steel tubular styles that wrap multiple times around the wrist to incredibly fine jewellery watches with intricate detailing and a distinctive use of gemstones.
A lifelong Bulgari fan, Elizabeth Taylor visited the famous Via Condotti boutique many times in 1962 while filming Cleopatra in Rome. With a love affair with Richard Burton blossoming on set, they would head to the store to escape the paparazzi - and try on the jewels. “Undeniably one of the biggest advantages to filming Cleopatra in Rome was Bulgari’s shop. I used to visit Gianni Bulgari in the afternoon and we’d sit and swap stories,” she recalled. Taylor had a large collection of Bulgari jewellery, including a Serpenti watch.
The engineering of Bulgari watches is considered with every bit as much care as the design, encompassing exquisite Swiss made movements. This approach ensures that quality and beauty fuse together in every Serpenti watch. Try a Serpenti if you’re looking for something a little different from your luxury watch.
Buying a Luxury Women’s Watch
If you’re searching for your perfect watch or you want to surprise a loved one with a special gift, then it’s important to take a little time to think about what you want from your luxury watch purchase. Is it practicality, wearability or perhaps even design detail? Understanding what you want from your timepiece is the first step to making the right buying decision. Budget is also a key consideration, and if you want to make your purse stretch a little further, then it can make sense to look at the pre-loved market – although it’s always sensible to carry out a little seller research before making any pre-loved purchase.
The most important thing when purchasing a luxury watch, though, is to buy from an expert, reputable seller. That’s where Burrells come in. As watch obsessives, our friendly team are on hand to not only help you pick out your perfect match but also to answer all of your watch buying questions. Visit Burrells online or in-store today and discover our range of exquisite luxury watches.
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