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The Top Five Women’s Watches Of 2019

The Top Five Women's Watches Of 2019 ABTW Editors' Lists

You would never know it by today’s bro-centric collectors’ culture, but the wristwatch was originally invented for women, and it was worn almost exclusively by women for its first 100 years of existence — with the notable exception of Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wore his trusty Cartier while flying his plane. After a century of being overtaken and overshadowed by an outstanding array of men’s watches, women’s time has come again. Women’s watches now come with purpose-built movements, intelligent design, and high end finish, making them every bit as collectible as men’s. Though we’re already in January now, I want to think back on the women’s watches we saw released last year, in 2019. Here are my top five:

The Top Five Women's Watches Of 2019 ABTW Editors' Lists

MB&F Legacy Machine Flying Tourbillon

This watch is a work of horological performance art, conceived by Max Busser, the most creative designer in watches this century. The design is both ultra-contemporary and high-tech, with its front-and-center flying tourbillon escapement perched on top of the dial next to a time dial tilted at 50º under a domed sapphire, and, at the same time, stands as a tribute to traditional watchmaking. The baguette diamond setting is executed in spectacular 3D style, hugging the curved dial plate and flange-like water tumbling over Niagara Falls. The baguette diamond version (priced at $315,000) is set with 294 diamonds, including 134 on the dial, 124 on the case, 12 on the buckle, 26 on the two crowns and one on top of the tourbillon cage, totaling 8.2 carats. The gold rotor is engraved as a sun motif — a life-giving force symbolic of women. At 20mm-thick, however, it is not for every woman.

The Top Five Women's Watches Of 2019 ABTW Editors' Lists

Patek Philippe Ref. 5067A-012 Aquanaut Luce

This piece, packed with uncharacteristically effervescent personality for a Patek watch, was introduced exclusively to the Singapore market last October. All 300 pieces are, no doubt, spoken for, but the raspberry Red Luce is worth keeping an eye out for on the secondary market. This is the first raspberry red version of the model’s signature pattern-embossed dial, and the color gives it a more sporty, modern vibe than the usual Aquanaut — and, indeed, the usual Patek reference. If you’re looking for a more traditional wear (or a surer investment), the women’s chronograph is probably your best bet, but this piece could be a future auction-house dark horse, even with its quartz movement — in fact, the quartz movement makes it a bit of an anomaly. It is, after all, a steel sports watch by the world’s best maker. Think of it as a 5711 for women. With 46 diamonds on the bezel, it is priced in Swiss francs, at CHF 22,000, which is about the equivalent in U.S. dollars.

The Top Five Women's Watches Of 2019 ABTW Editors' Lists

Montblanc Bohème Manufacture Perpetual Calendar

One for the girls; one for the boys. Montblanc introduced a new perpetual calendar movement, the MB 29.22, simultaneously in both men’s and women’s watches last year. For men, it debuted in the Heritage Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition 100, and for women, in the Bohème collection. It displays hours, minutes, day, date, month, moon phase, and leap year, as well as an additional dual-time function and 24-hour indicator. And what more could you possibly want? The perpetual calendar is the most practical of all complications, and it’s hard to believe there aren’t more of them for women, especially with all the ultra-thin calibers coming out now. This movement, the MB 29.22, is made only of wheeled gears, instead of levers, a construction that means you can adjust the watch via the crown in both directions, making it far simpler to set. The 18k rose gold case is set with 58 diamonds and is priced at $36,400.

The Top Five Women's Watches Of 2019 ABTW Editors' Lists

Van Cleef & Arpels Pont des Amoureux

There is nothing else like the Pont des Amoureux (“lover’s bridge” in French), and that, of course, is the pont, er, point. At midnight and noon, the tiny gold man and woman figures on the dial come together for a kiss in the moonlight on a bridge in Paris. It lasts three minutes — pretty long for a kiss, but alors, it is the French way, explains one Van Cleef staffer. After the kiss, the couple separates. The woman returns to the beginning of a jumping retrograde hour scale on one side of the dial and the man to his retrograde minutes on the other. Twelve hours later, they meet again in the middle. They will also kiss on demand at the push of a button. The automatic movement was developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels by Jean-Marc Weiderrecht of the Swiss boutique movement firm Agenhor. The automatic movement has a Valfleurier Q020 base rather than the manual-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre base of the original, which was introduced in an earlier version of this model in 2010. Prices begin at $123,000 for the winter version of the Pont des Amoureux. There are three others, decorated according to the seasons, at price on demand.


Like most other laudable watches introduced last year, the J12 is a remake, but unlike the rest, it is not a tribute to a vintage classic, but to a modern one, since the original was launched only 20 years ago. In that short time, the J12 it has become an icon, on par with the Cartier Panthère and the Rolex Datejust. The redesign retains the basic codes — ceramic case and bracelet, notched bezel, large case, and Chanel logo. But now it has a larger dial opening and what Chanel describes as a “more refined” bezel, with 40 notches instead of 30. It also has a new font, and the width of the crown was reduced by a third. As someone who wears a J12, I can attest to the absolute necessity of the latter; that enormous crown needed adjusting. It also has a new movement, the COSC-rated caliber 12.1 automatic, with a 70-hour power reserve, developed by the new Rolex/Tudor-owned manufacturer Kenissi, in which Chanel has a 20% stake. (Previously the J12 automatic had an ETA 2892). It has a stop-seconds feature during time-setting, a date function, and rapid date-correction. Two great final touches: diamond indicators are an option, and a touch of Super-LumiNova makes the hands glow in the dark. $5,700.



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  • Love the Chanel J12 and I will get it at some point. Wish it had a lume pip though.

  • Independent_George

    These are all very lovely watches, but I like the Van Cleef & Arpels best.

    The other four seem like feminized versions of men’s watches. I would have liked to have seen another women’s watch with no masculine antecedent.

    • SuperStrapper

      The FlyingT is a dedicated ladies watch not based on any previous release. The first in a series actually.

    • egznyc

      For the first time in my life I’m asking myself what kind of watches would I be interested in if I were a woman. I don’t think I’m able to answer. (What the heck is wrong with me?)

  • SuperStrapper

    The j12 is 20 years old? Wow…

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This is a kick in the teeth for all the millennial feminist.

  • SMB

    I also like the Van Cleef & Arpels best.

    I thought the new Grand Seiko women’s line might get a mention. For me, a new line from a major brand is more significant than updates to existing models. However, I don’t really like the watches in this line.

    My favourite women’s watch of 2019 was the Maurice Lacroix 35 mm Aikon. It is affordable, looks well made and is sporty, but feminine. Though it doesn’t fit Mr George’s suggestion.

  • Marius

    All fantastic watches.

  • Carmen Brisante

    All beautifully finished, but none of them grab me. Can’t ABTW feature more women’s watches that are everyday or sporty? Most of the women’s watches you feature are of the dripping with diamonds, megabucks variety.

    • Agreed, there are so many interesting options from seiko, oris, hamilton, tissot, orient, breitling, omega…and the list goes on.

  • Piero

    Comments of my wife (that is not a watch nerd):
    MB&F is a man engineer’s watch with diamonds.
    Patek is a man’s watch with diamonds.
    Montblanc is a man’s watch with diamonds.
    Van Cleef is wonderful, pure art.
    Chanel looks plastic.

    • Owlface

      Yep! Spot on.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Well, they’re a bit pink and sparkly and petite and girly.

    • Paul Harrison

      None of the watches are pink (the closest being rose gold), one is 20mm thick so hardly petite and they are feminine watches because they are for women. Pretty sure if a lady was looking for something less ‘girly’ she wouldn’t struggle to find a watch amongst the immense list of dive watches available. Who precisely feels the need to read an article on ladies watches and rant about ‘millennial feminists’? How empty does ones life need be for that to be the most compelling thought they have on ladies watches?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Goodness me Paul that was a bit strong. Raspberry Red Luce is pink by any other name. I would hardly call a 10 word comment a rant and if and when i do feel like ranting i will do without any fear of backlash. The work in these watches is astonishing. When i said petite I meant in diameter not height. I love watches, including these ones. What i really meant by my comment was mans perception of what woman in this day and age would want from a watch. Please try to refrain replying to any further comments from me.

        Good day

  • SMB

    Out of curiosity I had a look at the articles listed under the ladies’ watches sorting for 2018 and 2019. There were 36 articles in total, 15 of them mentioned watches under $5k. However, in some of the articles mentioning watches under $5k they also covered multiple watches that were over $5k.

    I like seeing articles on haute horology occasionally, but prefer hands on and review articles to focus on watches I might be able to afford (under $10k).

    • SuperStrapper

      I don’t disagree, but I find it far easier to locate hands-on comments about more affordable watches, seeing personal reflections and live photography of a rare/exotic watch is just far less common. Forums and groups are great places to see a lot of real world activity on the economical segment.
      I’d still like to see them here, I would just always want the main focus here to remain in the upper echelons.

  • egznyc

    I hope you have your home paid off in full ;-).

  • Richard Baptist

    I’d wear the MB&F – without all those diamonds of course!

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