“Sorry My Valentine’s Day Gift Sucked, Here’s A Watch:” Gift Guide

“Sorry My Valentine’s Day Gift Sucked, Here’s A Watch:” Gift Guide

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Valentine's Day can be a brutal shopping experience and sometimes us guys even forget about it until the last minute. If you totally forgot about Valentine's Day or need to repair a botched attempt, we'd like to discuss a few interesting women's watches of various prices that should help clear things up. Be warned however, women know a soulless gift when they see one. You need to be charming as well!

Ariel Adams says:

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Van Cleef & Arpels

There are few watch brands that have the power to absolutely impress her while at the same time dispelling the ramifications of any argument like something from Paris-based Van Cleef & Arpels. Lovely incarnate, the high-end maker of mostly women's watches, jewelry, and expensive versions of young girls' fantasies is the perfect option when wishing to spend a hefty sum of income on a timepiece for your lady. She will absolutely love it given our educated guess. Go with something from the Alhambra collection if it is her first piece from the brand. This is their most iconic design with the clover-style case. You'll be lucky to get out of the store for around $20,000 - $30,000. vancleefarpels.com

 

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Ulysse Nardin

The above picture of the Ulysse Nardin Lady's Diver amused me because it is a professional recreation of a picture I took myself when the collection in these colors was first revealed to me in 2011 (see that article here). I did get a chuckle out of that. While the Lady Diver incorporates a baroque design, it is one that I like and feel that with its colors, diamonds, and mother-of-pearl dial, many ladies will like it as well. The movement is an automatic, and this is a piece you can call a "real watch." There is also an impressive amount of texture decoration and diamonds on the piece for the price. In steel with diamonds, the Ulysse Nardin Lady's Diver is available at under $10,000 (more in 18k rose gold of course). ulysse-nardin.ch

 

 James Lamdin says:

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Tag Heuer

Not every woman desires a dainty wristwatch purely designed for fashionable adornment purposes. If your date leads an active lifestyle but also cleans up well, consider gifting her a luxury branded sports watch. Although there are a number of brands to consider in this category, a perennial favorite is the all-around classy and functional Tag Heuer Aquaracer line.

The Aquaracer offers real usability for active wearers in the form of 300m water resistance, sapphire crystal, luminous hands, unidirectional bezel, and a date window. A high-end quartz movement ensures daily reliability (likely to be more accurate than your own mechanical piece). All of these components shout serious tool watch, while its good looks are derived from a petite steel case and brushed/polished bracelet which dress it up nicely.

With about fifteen pieces to choose from in the current ladies’ collection, my recommendation would be to skip the larger models and diamond dial/bezel variants and stick with the 27mm base version pictured here, available with either a silver or black dial and a great price point. If your lady is more Lara Croft than Paris Hilton, this is the watch for her. Priced from $1,700. tagheuer.com

 

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Jaeger-LeCoultre

If the woman in your life has an appreciation for fine and iconic design and prefers her adornment simple and elegant – consider a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. The ladies Reverso line are sized at 20.5mm x 33mm and are offered in quartz and mechanical (manual winding) variants with any number of case materials, strap options, and dial designs. For the best of all worlds, the one to consider is the Duetto, featuring a steel case with two back-to-back dials both powered by the manual winding Calibre 844 movement.

On one side, a silver satin/guilloche dial with black markers and blue steel hands marks the passage of time in streamlined, simple elegance. A simple flip of the case reveals the other, a Deco style dial with mother of pearl inlay and two diamond bands prepare her for a night of sophisticated luxury. This is an impressive timepiece designed for an impressive lady. She will love it. Make it happen. Priced from $8,900. jaeger-lecoultre.com

 

Paul Hubbard says:

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

 

Chopard

If you've got that IPO in your pocket, I have the perfect gift for you - the Chopard Happy Diamonds. An iconic design from a famed jeweler, the Happy Diamonds introduced the idea of having gold-set diamonds moving freely in between two layers of sapphire crystal. In addition to of course, diamonds in the bezels. 18 carat gold, quartz movement, mother of pearl dial, also available in white gold. The play of light over moving diamonds makes for the ultimate display of luxury goods. Yours for a mere $14,780 or $14,520 at chopard.com here.

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Bianci

For those of us on an average budget, check out Bianci. We've reviewed them before and been impressed with the value. This model, the H262MOP_WHT, is a white ceramic with mother of pearl dial, Swiss ISA quartz movement and sapphire crystal, list price $499 (cheaper in reality). They have a wide variety of styles, including some with cubic zirconia jeweling for a bit of affordable bling that should last quite well.

Maximilien says:

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Chanel

Chanel is known for super-sophisticated classy and dressy women's work clothes as well as Haute Couture that you will frequently see on Hollywood starlets parading the red carpet. However, Chanel also has a fantastic timepiece collection that is anchored by the iconic J12 model that looks great on both women and men.

The Chanel J12 is a stylish and serious sport watch with a unique design language that helps it stand out from an otherwise crowded diving watch market segment. First, most of the models use a high-tech ceramic case and links for the bracelet, that is practically scratch-proof. The dial is super-legible with Arabic numbers all around and simple black hands with a strip of Super-Luminova. Completing the dial is an inner black round minutes track with Chanel marked on the inner top. The rotating unidirectional bezel is also ceramic but includes a fluted steel outer edge. The markings on the bezel correspond to what you would normally see on a dive watch. Completing it's sporting character, the J12 is 200m water resistant with a screwed down crown that is protected by the ceramic case. The caseback is steel but the whole thing is very light, making it an easy daily wear.

The Chanel J12 pictured is the classic white ceramic model (ref. H0968) with 33mm diameter case, which includes a quartz movement, and retails for $5,250. Chanel makes a slew of variations of the J12 in black, white, and other colors with mechanical or quartz movements as well as diamond settings for the bezel and some with gold instead of steel. chanel.com

 

Sorry My Valentines Day Gift Sucked, Heres A Watch: Gift Guide   watch buying

Cartier

Cartier is chock-full of gifts that can easily break the bank while guaranteeing joys and smiles and forgiveness. However, one of Cartier's most recent offerings, is somewhat affordable, and can make for a versatile present for any lady: the Ballon Bleu line of timepieces. The modern design of the Ballon Bleu is already iconic and striking. Essentially a round case with a domed sapphire crystal and a solid caseback that is also domed-shaped. The whole thing gives the impression of a perfectly flatten ball, matching the French name. The blue part of the name comes from the protected crown that includes a blue sapphire cabochon.

The crown's location physically cuts out the dial which allows the case to remain almost perfectly round. The dial also includes the classic Cartier roman numeral numbers swiped by blued steel sword-shaped hands. For the ladies, the Ballon Bleu line has a variety of options. Some of the nicest are the mother of pearl dial layout and a variety of possible diamond settings on the bezel. The Ballon Bleu comes in steel, steel with gold inner links, all gold, and some on an alligator strap. The pictured steel and gold with mother of pearl dial (ref. W6920034) measures 28mm, includes a quartz movement, and retails for $7,050. cartier.com

The proceeding brands and pieces are by no means the only good options, these are just a few. It is true that these are higher-end choices, but perhaps they can inspire your purchase direction for a post Valentine's Day gift, or anything else. Happy loving...

11 comments
carolyn h
carolyn h

Hi, I'm sorry I'm late to the party. I would never sniff at 20K worth of diamonds, but a mechanical movement, a functional face and a date are pretty key too.   I have always like the J12s but as those of us who like Chanel know, all their jewelry is actually very high end costume jewelry and (maybe unfair but) that reflects poorly on their watch line. Also, the idea of a Chopard or a Cartier watch appeals tremendously for when my guy wants to trade in his truck on a watch for me, but the watch I'd seriously add to your list are the Omega ladymatics.

Stefane Fermigier
Stefane Fermigier

I'm looking for a lady's chronograph as a present to my wife. Something similar to all the Valjoux 7750 based watches for men, only less bulky.

I've been quite unsuccessful finding something I'd like to buy (and that I can afford, i.e. at the < 1 KEUR price point). The only one I've found is the Temption Cora (http://www.temption-watches.de/e/english.htm -> navigate to "Ladies Watches" using the dreadful Flash interface). I like it quite a bit, but I like to explore other options.

It's based on the ETA 2094 movement, "the smallest automatic chronograph movement in current production", but I couldn't source any other ladies watches based on this movement (Sinn seems to have a men watch based on it, the 6030. It's definitively masculine.).

Any idea why ? Is it because the idea of an automatic chronograph for women just doesn't appeal to the market ?


cmdr_bong
cmdr_bong

The Reverso and the Ballon Bleu are great choices, but I'm afraid that opinion is down to the fact that I, like all writers and readers here, appreciate the mechanical inside of a watch, and the history of a brand, more so than how "pretty" a watch is. Not saying how a watch look is not important to us, but that certainly would be the determining factor for, dare I say, most of our lady-friends. I know mine couldn't give a toss if a watch is by JLC or J-Crew. I think the Bianci certainly has a place on this list. Actually I would imagine it would do quite well given the perfectly acceptable price and the white ceramic finish. 

Regarding the Chanel J12, and how Maximilien described it as "a serious sport watch" and that it "stands out in a crowded diving watch market segment", I can't help but suppress a chuckle (I'm reading this at the office). On a recent diving trip I noticed a follow enthusiast sporting the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean with his wetsuit. I was obviously impressed as I strike up a conversation with him, commending him on his great choice of dive watch. I wonder how I'll feel if I see another diver on the trip rocking a Chanel J12 or Louis Vuitton Tambour Diving watch, or something along that line of luxury "dive" watch?

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Thank goodness: I whiffed on my Valentines gift this year, and was looking for a way to throw $10k+ at it to make it go away. Thanks, aBtW, you've saved me!

I'm glad SnowKrash chimed in here: I would personally think that the happy diamond watch to be the favoured one by the ladies, even though Chopard is never going to be a name that a watch aficinado thinks of. Women generally couldn't care less about that, watch nerds like me a such a rare and dismissable breed. I'd want the Jaeger to be the one, and as I gave it, eyes wide with expectation, I'd be sure to get a response along the lines of 'oh! A Jagger Le Coleter! And it has a flippy around thingy! Thanks!'

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

The VC&F and UN pieces are just awful, searing my eyes like a well done steak.  The Tag is just a shrunken man's watch... no creativity there, and the design seems a little dated.  JLC is nice but the strap is a little vivid.  The Chopard is probably the most pleasing of the lot - feminine but not hideous or boring.  Bianci shouldn't even be here.  You are probably not going to get a durable ceramic watch at that price; just as with ceramic knives you get what you pay for - all formulations are not equal.  The Chanel would be a better choice if you absolutely had to have a watch in this material.  The Cartier is lovely but i'd prefer it in all silver, as the use of gold here looks a bit unsubtle - just slapping blocks of the stuff here and there doesn't look very sleek.

SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH moderator

My favorite is the Happy Diamonds.  A knockoff of this was given to me as a gift years ago, and while I was struck by the clear debacle of shame that was the quality of the knockoff, I was hooked by the design. It makes me happy just looking at it and seeing the semi-free-range diamonds, smiling in the transparent coop they share. So, yes, I'll take the real one, please :-)   

Maximilien
Maximilien

@cmdr_bong OK, I would not put it on the top 5 of my list of divers, however, some models of the J12 are indeed serious divers with mechanical movements and all the necessary trimmings for a diver watch comparable to any model. Also, lots have negative opinions about ceramic when it's easily one of the best material out there for sporting activities and durability. Ceramic will also not react with salt, sweat, etc and remain as new for a really long time---well into after we pass. So would I give up my Sub or Seamaster or U1 for a J12, no way... However, would I gift this to a girlfriend who is into sports (diving or otherwise) and wants a stylish watch she can wear at the club. Absolutely. Just wish I could ask for it back now that relationship is over... Just kidding, I'd never ask for it back. A gift is a gift. Cheers.

SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH moderator

@Ulysses31 Wow, I completely agree with you (that doesn't always happen), apart from the fact that I do like the VC&A but not enough to purchase if I had the $, as I would get a Bovet instead & I'm not a fan of the design of the Cartier at all to wear myself. And I don't understand why nice watch guys who want to get their ladies watches really seem to gravitate toward the white ceramics as a go-to.  I have one and appreciate the spirit in which it was given, and it looks nice and I wear it, it's just not the style of gift at the top of my list, to be honest. And, wow, yeah the Tag Heuer looks like a man's watch.  Again, just not at the top of my list for excited gift-receiving material especially for V-Day.  Like the Happy Diamonds.  Not because they are diamonds, but because they are happy.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

That should be "VC&A".  That's what I get for name-dropping...

cmdr_bong
cmdr_bong

Oh I didn't mean it to sound like I was sniggering at your choice there mate. Not at all. I respect the fact that these luxury dive-watches are more than capable of surviving these activities. It's nice to know that if I were to part with the amount of money they ask for for one of those timepieces, I will be able to participate in those activities that they are associated with, knowing full well that they will survive unscathed (for the most part). My mirth was more to do with the vision in my mind of a serious diver choosing a to go down in a shiny ceramic Chanel watch. It was just an amusing thought is all. I am in total agreement with you in terms of the quality of these luxury dive watches, and their ability to accomplish what it is advertised to be able to do. I apologize if I came across as mocking you in any way mate.  

Maximilien
Maximilien

@cmdr_bong no harm done. Was mainly responding about the point of ceramic which can be a great choice of material. Though i can also see that others have a different preference. in person the J12 looks even better thsn pictured. Thanks for reading and for conversation. Cheers.

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