As worn by Bad Bunny, the Weeknd and Timothée Chalamet, watches designed for women are a new fad in menswear.
On the Cannes red carpet, the Weeknd showcased a timepiece that transcended mere flashy watches – woman's watches! Adorned with 626 diamonds, 156 yellow sapphires, and 18-karat white gold, this Piaget watch resembles craftsmanship and opulence. Furthermore, according to Piaget's classification, this exquisite timepiece is categorized as a women's watch. Interestingly, within the realm of horology, the emergence of male celebrities proudly donning these elegant "ladies" watches has been steadily increasing as a notable trend.
In the month of January, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny made an appearance at a Los Angeles Lakers game, seated courtside. During the event, he caught the attention of many when a small, shimmering timepiece from the 1990s, adorned with gems, was clearly visible on his wrist.
Watch enthusiasts debate whether the trend of extravagant watches extends beyond red carpet events. Vintage watch dealer Mike Nouveau believes only about 1% of collectors actively participate. He suggests most men prefer a conventional approach, acquiring a moderate-sized Rolex Datejust to complete their timepiece journey. But, as he sees it, there are two varieties of watch-curious male collectors open to women’s watches: younger buyers, less concrete in their thinking about gender.
Nouveau's latest acquisition, a vintage gold "Reflet" watch from Boucheron, stands out. On his tattooed wrist, the tidy gold watch resembles a bracelet, unlike his conventional stainless-steel Rolex.
An increasing number of men search for accessory watches with gem sets, diamonds and rubies. For many men, it's their creative expression, especially if they don't wear other jewelry. – Eugene Tutunikov, CEO of SwissWatchExpo, one of the largest U.S. retailers of preowned watches.
Even if the mass market is not leaping for emeralds and sapphires, dealers report that broadly, men are drifting toward watches of a smaller, traditionally female scale. It’s almost like a backlash against the giant Panerais and 51mm Rolex dive watches.
Men may find economic incentives in women's watches as women typically take better care of their timepieces. This results in a greater supply of well-conditioned women's watches, which can be more affordable compared to men's watches. They’re actually way cheaper. On the vintage market, a smaller-faced Rolex can run thousands less than a similar 'men’s-size' watch.
There is one idea for watch brands to increase market share. While women are fine with wearing an oversize men's Rolex, men feel less inclined to buy women's watches. If relabeling them as 'unisex' it would increase sales of women's' watches to men.