Watch fairs are all too often geared towards men with presentations of mainly bulky, technical and complicated models specifically intended for them. For a pleasant change, the spotlight at the 25th edition of the SIHH was firmly on women, who are showing far greater interest in watchmaking than previously. They now buy and wear timepieces that are not merely supposedly feminine interpretations of initially masculine models with just a few tweaks to the dial, bezel or bracelet. While not neglecting quintessentially feminine designs that in some instances are decked out in diamonds, ladies’ watchmaking is now asserting itself and enjoying correspondingly heightened exposure.

To celebrate its 260th anniversary in due style, Vacheron Constantin modernised the cushion shape used on some of its watches for more than a century and named the collection Harmony. The dual time small model is equipped with self-winding Calibre 2460 DT and features a mechanism that is a first for the brand. The notched crown facilitates adjustment in either direction without damaging its mechanism. The Harmony dual time comes in a white gold ladies’ version featuring a bezel set with 88 diamonds (1.2 carats) and displaying the hours, minutes, seconds, as well as a day/night indication and the dual time function after which it is named. The latter complication is a must for women who are perpetually on the move these days.

 

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Harmony Dual-Time, small model. © Vacheron Constantin

Adulated by celebrities and worn by the legendary Jacky O, the equally iconic Traditional Oval watch was reinterpreted by Piaget for the 25th edition of the SIHH. Equipped with a Piaget 56P quartz movement, both versions feature the same silver-toned dial, as well as a bezel set with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds, while on one version the bezel and bracelet come in a choice of white or pink gold.  Inspired by haute couture techniques, the distinctive characteristic of this model is its bracelet composed of 300 hand-assembled links that make it look like a gold ribbon embracing the wrist. It will need to be individually adjusted to suit the lady who wishes to adopt it.

 

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Traditional Oval watches, in white and pink gold. © Piaget

Well known for presenting countless models at a time, Cartier drew all eyes this year to the distinctive and highly original taut curves of its new Clé model, which is extremely pleasant to wear thanks to the softly rounded angles of its case and makes a perfect fit on the wrist. The reinvented crown is shaped like a key (hence its name) and introduces a new winding technique that feels similar to winding a clock. The sapphire cabochon has been replaced by an ergonomic crown featuring a system that is smoothly integrated into the case. Accentuated by a smooth paving of diamonds set directly on the metal, the feminine versions are a distinctive token of elegance.

 

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Three versions of the Clé watch for women. © Cartier

And just for fun, Ralph Lauren has succeeded in offering a feminine take on its iconic equestrian dandy style in the form of a small-sized Stirrup watch with snow-set bezel, as well as a mini version designed for particularly dainty wrists.

 

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Small-sized Stirrup watch with snow-set bezel. © WorldTempus / Eléonor Picciotto