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 6 minutes

Extravagant Women’s Watches

By Barbara Korp
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There are many watch brands out there that dream of revolutionizing the industry. Anyone who’s been moving in luxury watch circles for any amount of time will know that there are always new releases that push the envelope in terms of watchmaking. And while it might seem like all these unconventional creations are geared toward men, there have already been a handful of interesting releases for women this year. I’m not just talking about watches that you don’t often see out and about, I’m talking about those that go to the extreme of what watches are capable of. Let’s get right into it and explore some of the best high-end women’s watches out there.

Richard Mille RM 07-04

When it comes to exclusive watches for the world of sport, there’s no one who does it better than Richard Mille. And don’t just take my word for it: Plenty of top athletes have come to depend on their robust, lightweight, and extravagant creations. But although the brand has had female athletes as brand ambassadors for quite a while, we were left waiting for a women’s sports watch until the beginning of this year. And thus, after three years in development, in collaboration with six world-class sportswomen, the RM 07-04 is finally here! Similar to the men’s version, this watch is extremely tough and only weighs 36 grams (strap included), but is significantly smaller, to suit slimmer wrists.

You’ll instantly recognize the signature Richard Mille tonneau case. All RM 07-04 models feature elaborate skeletonization that allows the wearer to appreciate the inner workings through the sapphire crystal on both sides. The color pallet is bold and vibrant, and each of the six models looks like it’s bursting with energy. As for the material, the designers at Richard Mille opted for multicolored quartz TPT and black carbon TPT, with titanium screws; in other words, high-performance material. The matte black coating on the dial provides a welcome contrast to the luminous hands and indices. The latter, by the way, are made of white gold, showing how feminine details can be skillfully and tastefully used.

The RM 07-04 is more than just another luxury watch; it was specially developed for women with extreme lifestyles. Each piece is handcrafted with meticulous precision, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Richard Mille. The in-house caliber can be adjusted to the wearer’s activity level via a push-piece thanks to a variable inertia adjustment system, and of course the watch is also water-resistant to 50 meters (164 ft.). In all, this women’s sports watch combines ergonomics and architectural aesthetics with the highest degree of robust watchmaking artistry. Richard Mille tried their hand at creating an exclusive, high-tech watch for extraordinary women and not only pulled it off, but set a standard in the market segment that will hopefully have a lasting effect.

Richard Mille – RM 07-04
Richard Mille RM 07-04

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Piaget Swinging Sautoir

To address the elephant in the room: no, this “watch” isn’t restricted to the wrist. The pocket watch was once the norm, and even today, there are still men who will reach for them on special occasions. After all, wearing a wristwatch with a tuxedo is a major faux pas. Now, a pocket watch is more or less reserved for tux-wearing men, but that doesn’t mean the ladies are left high and dry. Early on in the trade, watch manufacturers had the urge to offer timepieces for women in various forms, like as a brooch or concealed in a bangle. A popular style to this day – and ideal for making a grand entrance – is the sautoir. That is to say, a long necklace with a timepiece as a pendant.

This mesmerizing fusion of aesthetics and functionality came to fruition during the vibrant era of the 1960s. Sautoirs not only allowed the wearer to discreetly read the time, but they were also easy to wear. Of course, they are especially alluring when artfully designed by the high jewelers at Piaget. Inspired by pieces from the late 60s, Piaget brought the sautoir back into their collection and thus to women’s necklines. The twisted gold chains used for the Swinging Sautoir were made using traditional techniques. Each chain is unique, produced by one of the few remaining masters of this discipline.

Another nice detail of this unconventional women’s watch is that only the wearer can read the time – it’s upside down for everyone else. So, although this sautoir is a pleasure to behold from any angle, the wearer still keeps their cards close to their chest. The only downside is that the sautoir is not exactly an everyday accessory, but, as with much other jewelry, clothing, or special accessories: some pieces should be reserved for special events. And in the meantime, there’s nothing stopping you from sneaking a peak at it in your jewelry box!

Piaget – Swinging Sautoir
Piaget Swinging Sautoir (image: Piaget)

Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Féerie

If you’re in need of some more magic in your life, and a high dose of glitz and glamour, the Lady Féerie from Van Cleef & Arpels has got you covered. This timepiece hosts a rose gold fairy perched on mother-of-pearl clouds waving a magic wand. The guilloché dial is reminiscent of sunrise, while the diamond-set bezel and the diamond details on the dial twinkle whimsically. Exactly how I’d imagine an early morning in a fairy tale kingdom!

Yes, this masterpiece is so imaginative that at first glance you almost miss the obvious: the retrograde display for the minutes. The novelty about a retrograde display is that the usual circular movement of the hands is disrupted; the hand jumps back to the starting position after completing its arc. This fascinating spectacle is winning in popularity, but incorporated rather rarely, since it requires high expertise in the art of watchmaking. You’ll mostly see it used for the date display, but then you have to wait a whole month to see the impressive gymnastics, which is quite disappointing. With this unusual women’s watch, you have the pleasure of seeing the minute hand spring back every hour!

The hours are also displayed extravagantly, namely as jumping hours. This technological feat is brought to life by an automatic movement specially developed for Van Cleef & Arpels that fits perfectly into the 33-mm case. This is where the fairy and her magic wand come into play again. Many women have been yearning for a masterfully-crafted high jewelry watch, and the Lady Féerie is effectively a luxury watch disguised as a piece of jewelry. It combines haute horlogerie with haute joaillerie. Charming at first glance, gorgeous at second, and stunning at third. Whether you’re more into the retrograde display or the diamonds, the Lady Féerie is sure to enchant you.

Van Cleef & Arpels – Lady Féerie
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Féerie (image: Van Cleef & Arpels)


More and more women are stepping into the world of luxury watches and, slowly but surely, the market is responding. As these three exceptional women’s watches show, we’re seeing a growing number of choices to suit all tastes. This particular trio has recognized what women really want: functionality and high craftsmanship paired with a beautiful design. We no longer want to compromise and are no longer satisfied with ornately decorated, diamond-studded watches with mother-of-pearl dials. A watch must be able to hold its own and keep up with our lives, both in terms of its exterior and its interior.

At the same time, we want diversity. Some of us see diamonds as a fixed component of a luxury watch, while others a tourbillon. Then there are those who need a design that can take on an extreme sport. “Luxury” can be defined in a many ways, and all points of view and lived experiences must be accounted for and accommodated. To guarantee this broad spectrum of luxury watches, we need women to be involved in their development. Because in the end, we only want one thing: a watch that suits our lifestyle and is as individual as we are.

About the Author

Barbara Korp

The moment I learned that watches were a lot more than just simple jewelry, I was hooked; I become enamored with the elegance of timekeeping. But there was one small hitch: most models were just too big for me to wear! That didn't discourage me, however. In fact, I developed quite a niche interest.

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