04/12/2023
 6 minutes

Why I Wear Men’s Watches as a Woman

By Barbara Korp
Rolex-Datejust-2-1

It’s a phenomenon that hasn’t gone unnoticed: More and more women are wearing men’s watches, and people are wondering why. Is the “boyfriend” style that’s so popular in the fashion world taking root in the watch community? Or have we women simply gotten into the habit of slipping on our partner’s watches, like we would one of their sweaters? I can’t speak for everyone, but my passion for watches began with men’s models, and I own very few women’s watches (in the traditional sense) to this day. Today, I’m revealing why this is and why I don’t plan on changing things anytime soon.

But first and foremost, I want to give my definition of “women’s watch” and “men’s watch.” In general, I believe that any watch on a woman’s wrist is a women’s watch, and any watch on a man’s wrist is a men’s watch. For the sake of this article, when I say “women’s watch,” I mean timepieces with small diameters and marked decorative elements. A “men’s watch,” on the other hand, is a timepiece measuring at least 36 mm across, and which, because of its size and lack of conspicuous embellishing, is traditionally categorized as “unisex” or for men.

A Man Gave Me the Watch Bug

My passion for watches began the moment I realized that men’s watches look pretty good on me. Until that watershed moment, I’d worn mostly quartz models that were definitely more jewelry than watch, and I’d have been better off just wearing a bracelet instead. Of course, I wouldn’t have had the convenience of the time dangling from my wrist, but I usually just pull my phone out of my purse, anyway. However, it was immediately clear to me that classic men’s watches were something else altogether: There was a real movement ticking away under the dial, and they were the epitome of luxury and craftsmanship. Still, it didn’t occur to me that I could simply slide one onto my wrist and enjoy the magic for myself.

I then had the opportunity to try one on. First, I marveled at the sight, and not much later, I was asking if I could keep it on for the rest of the day. And that’s how I became acquainted with a (borrowed) Longines Master Collection with a day and date display. I wore it all the time; it was comfortable, easy to style, and didn’t draw too much attention. I was also amazed by the inner workings, frequently checking its accuracy and letting the sweeping seconds hand send me into a quasi-hypnotic state. The textured dial and blue hands were a feast for sore eyes. All in all, it was the first watch to truly captivate me.

Longines Master Collection
Longines Master Collection

I Love Chronographs

Sooner or later, the inevitable happened: I was on the hunt for a watch to call my own. More specifically, I wanted a chronograph in my size. But reducing a chronograph movement to smaller dimensions is no easy task. In fact, it’s almost impossible, especially since I wasn’t planning on breaking the bank. My search culminated in Omega’s unisex collection with a 38-mm Omega Speedmaster – perfect specs for women and men who prefer smaller watches. I’m still fond of chronographs to this day; I just love how they look. I still reach for men’s models, but that comes with the territory.

Omega Speedmaster Chronograph 38mm
Omega Speedmaster Chronograph 38 mm

Women Can Pull Off Masculine Designs

Initially, I was hesitant, and concerned that a men’s watch would look too masculine and out of place on me. But the fact that watches don’t have a gender soon sunk in. Plus, many men’s models are designed in such a way that they can be dressed up or down. Even if you’re wearing a traditionally feminine outfit, a men’s watch still works. In fact, it provides an intriguing contrast and looks great stacked with bracelets, bangles, and the likes. While a watch decorated with diamonds is always an elegant statement, a more understated one can be combined with other pieces to suit the situation, making it much more versatile.

Cartier Santos De Cartier – passt immer und zu allem
The Cartier Santos De Cartier always looks good.

I Find the History Fascinating

When I was looking for my first watch, one thing became immediately clear: Every watch comes with a story. Obviously, that’s exactly what brand marketing wants you to believe, but the claims often ring true. For example, the Rolex Explorer is based on the first watch to reach the summit of Mount Everest and an Omega Speedmaster even made it to the Moon. I find it fascinating that I can wear these pieces going about my everyday life. Just thinking about the technology that made these missions possible in such extreme conditions, and all the commotion and emotions – it’s truly inspiring. In my view, if I own the watch, I also own a small part of the history. And yes, a women’s watch with a diamond-set bezel brings a bit of glam to the office, but a men’s watch like the Rolex Explorer transports me deep into nature and to the top of mountain peaks – and that’s the kind of escapism I love.

Rolex Explorer – Tagträume inklusive
Rolex Explorer: Warning! May cause excessive daydreaming.

I Love Complications

The more I learned about watches, the deeper my passion for complications grew. And low and behold, I wanted a complicated timepiece. While there are exceptions, like the Blancpain Air Command flyback chronograph, most watches with complications beyond day/date displays are usually produced in unisex and men’s sizes. It all comes down to needing enough real estate to house the complex movement. And if I’m being honest, I don’t want to see decorative detailing on the majority of complicated timepieces. I do find a diamond-set bezel beautiful on a watch with a moon phase, because it reinforces the impression of a starry sky, but on all other watches, fancy trimmings detract from the main focus: the complication. And so, my love of complications brought me back to an old haunt: the men’s watch category.

Patek Philippe Worldtime: A complication that’s more beautiful than diamonds.

Do I want to make a statement?

I’ve often heard the misconception that women wear men’s watches as a way of showing that they’re interested in watches. In other words, that we want to make a statement by wearing them. I disagree. Obviously, I wear watches because I’m interested in them, and yes, unfortunately, men’s watches tend to be more exciting than women’s watches. However, this is not a statement directed at anyone or anything in particular, but simply my personal preference. That being said, there are many positives, like being approached by other watch enthusiasts. The fact that these watches draw people who share my passion is a nice side effect. I love discussing watches with people, especially those who understand the thrill of the hobby. It’s true, you can make friends through watches!

IWC Pilot’s Watch – ein Statement zur Liebe zu Uhren
IWC Pilot’s Watch: A celebration of my love for watches.

I Can Share Watches With My Partner

As they say, sharing is caring! And that definitely goes for the price tag, too. Not only that, but I never get any puzzled looks from my partner as he wonders why I would spend so much on a watch (again). Instead, we marvel at new arrivals together, perhaps having even bought them and celebrated the purchase together. The risk of buyer’s remorse is also minimized – often the watch that has been neglected by one, will be adopted by the other. You also get the chance to try out watches that you might never have bought for yourself or even considered in the first place, and see how they grow on you. But above all else, there’s just something magical about sharing a hobby, talking at length about this watch and that complication, and perhaps even attending events and visiting museums together. This deep connection is only possible because we both wear unisex and smaller men’s watches.

Rolex Datejust 36mm – es gibt für mich keine bessere Uhr zum Teilen!
The Rolex Datejust 36 mm: In my opinion, the best watch to share.
Rolex Datejust 36
126200 ()
Case material
Steel
Dial
Blue







Log in to view this watch's performance and estimated market value!

Summary

When I’m asked why I wear men’s watches, I respond with, “Because I like to.” But really, the answer is much more than that: I like the feel of them on my wrist, and I love how they look with different outfits and fit different occasions. I’m fascinated by the intricacies inside and out, and the stories behind them – maybe even the story of how I found them. And most importantly, the story of how they became watches I share with my better half. I wear men’s watches because they suit me and make me happy. So in short, I wear men’s watches because of all the factors that normally play a role in choosing a timepiece.


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.

Read more

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