Posted on: February 3, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

There was a time, no so long ago, that watches were a rare sight in the fashion world and, you could argue, on women at all. In fact, you might assume that a wristwatch is, traditionally, a men’s accessory. This, however, isn’t the case. While pocket watches were a popular item for a man to carry, it wasn’t until 1810 when the first-ever wristwatch was created for the Queen of Naples that the watch as we’ve come to know it today was born. Fast forward to the invention of the mobile phone and you could say that watches became, well, not entirely obsolete, but hardly essential either. I must confess, I haven’t worn a watch since the day I unwrapped my Nokia 3210 in 2000

With a surge in technology came the smart watch—wristwear you could sync to your even smarter phone which, in one way or another, put watches back on the map for many of us. Of course, people still bought watches but their focus, unless housing microchips, swiftly switched from function to form. Those who wore un-smart watches did so for aesthetics and, along with that, the market for appeasing styles grew.

Catalogued alongside Tiffany diamonds, Louis Vuitton bags and other peak-luxury items, many watches have become status symbols in their own right. Rolex, Cartier, IWD, Omega—owners of such timepieces belong to a very exclusive club, which makes them all the more desirable. I remember reading an article about how the purchase of fine jewellery soared during and immediately after the pandemic, as those with budget to play with found themselves looking to make key investments rather frivolous designer purchases. This has made the luxury watch market—and subsequent resale market—all the more buoyant. 

The wider effect of this? Watches are very much back in fashion and, for the first time in my life, I would really like to own one myself. This sentiment is one shared by others within the fashion industry, too. A couple of years ago, I would have been hard pressed to find anyone of stylish note wearing a watch in plain sight (at least not without their Instagram caption being finished with #ad). Now, my feed is full of editors and influencers who have made the watch an integral part of their style signature. The quiet luxury, old money, Birkin mom aesthetics all speak to the desire not just to be wealthy but to look wealthy. And a watch? It has a big part to play here. A watch, you see, can be a whisper of wealth or, in some instances, a mirage of wealth.

You see, choosing an expensive-looking watch doesn’t immediately equate to spending a fortune. Of course, if you have the means to invest in one of the aforementioned watch brands then, if I were in your shoes, I likely would, too. However, I do believe that there are four 2024 watch trends for women that look high luxury, even if you’re working to a tighter budget. Scroll on to see the watch trends that fashion people are currently wearing to make themselves look more polished, then browse the chicest watches per category at every price point. 

Style Notes: At one point in my life, I would have considered a gold watch to look gawdy. And trust me, they can. But with an otherwise pared-back outfit and, a neutral manicure and some general style flair, they can look incredibly luxe. 

Style Notes: Cartier’s iconic Panthère De Cartier watch comes in silver tones, mixed metals and yellow gold, the latter of which you can see here. Pairing it with soft fabrications such as satin and silk will give a gold watch more gravitas. Look for bracelet straps for an especially elegant option. 

Style Notes: When you picture a watch in your mind, you’ll likely conjure a style with a round face. That’s no surprise—they are the most common type. However, over the years, square watches have gained more of a following through both heritage brands who have become known for the silhouette, as well as new brands looking to make their mark.

Style Notes: Arguably more recognisable because of their less-than-common dial, I the square faces I’m seeing most usually come with a polished leather strap. There are, however, metal options, too. Why not tick off two 2024 watch trends in one swoop with a gold style. 

Style Notes: Gone are the days when dainty watches were a woman’s only option. Now, I’d argue one of the coolest watch styles out there is those with cumbersome straps and big, round dials—the sort your dad might own. Silver is the colour to consider here—watches of this size in gold would run the risk of looking ostentatious, which is the last thing you want to achieve. 

Style Notes: One of Who What Wear’s US editors, Eliza Huber, regularly wears a watch of suck ilk and recommends “One trick to styling a men’s[-style] watch is to stick with cases that are 40 millimetres or below. Anything larger than that tends to be overly showy, a trait that’s best avoided, especially for an everyday watch.” Agreed. 

Style Notes: I’ve already pinpointed the fact that leather-strap watches are a recurring theme this season, but they aren’t mutually exclusive to square dials. Perhaps for “wearable” than a full metal style, leather straps are generally more subtle in nature and won’t pull focus from the rest of your look. 

Style Notes: Whether you opt for opt for a mock croc, glossy or aged leather finish, look for watches with minimal detailing on the dial for further push their elegant narrative. 

Next Up: The Only Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Trends I’m Bothered About

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