WOMEN CAN WEAR STUFF THAT LOOKS CHEESY ON A DUDE. BETTY'S NEW RULES OF WATCHES FOR WOMEN.
by KRISTIN MAYER·
Watches are fashion. Fashion tells the world about you, your style, your status, about who you are, and you don't need to say a word.
For about 20 years, I proudly wore my plastic sports watch. It was a badge of honor given that I was a full triathlon geek. Being a tri-geek was my identity. Wearing a sports watch told the world who and what I was about.
Over the last few years, however, the plastic fantastic just wasn’t doing it for me. That wasn’t the message I wanted to send when I wasn’t training or racing. I guess I am all grown up now.
When I went to replace my Wahoo when dressing up for a wedding or dinner out, I found that the watch industry was targeting me with tiny, little, dainty, annoying, “women's” watches. I was used to wearing a 46mm sports watch. A 31mm watch wasn’t going to cut it.
I work at home. I am athletic. I like a big, chunky watch with a fat bracelet. I quickly learned to ignore the watches marketed to women. I wear watches almost exclusively marketed to men. I encourage you to ignore what the watch industry is telling you to buy. Big watches are badass.
In also learned that women can wear bigger and blingier watches than men can. When men try to wear some of the watches I love, they can sometimes look like cheeseballs who are trying too hard. We can wear stuff that looks awkward on dudes. Because they don’t want them prices can be relatively low.
For example, I love my Breitling Navitimer. At 46mm it is no small watch. The industry tells you that this is too big for a woman but I disagree and so does every person who stops me on the street to ask about my watch. The watch wears like a cuff around my wrist and it is awesome. Lots of dudes can’t pull off a full size Breitling Navitimer. In this image I am also wearing my BDlab Quilted Bomber.
As another example, my IWC pilots chronograph is 43mm with a 21mm bracelet and it is a perfect size for my 5.5 inch wrist. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t be afraid to wear a big and bold watch. You can pull it off. I promise. These are the new rules of watches for women.
Insider advice from The Watch Nerd: Kristin mentioned a bunch of numbers in this article. These numbers refer to the diameter of the watch face. As you get more experience with watches you will learn what works for you. As a very general guideline < 32-36 mm watches are considered small and/or women’s watches, 37-40 mm are medium size, 41-43 mm are large, and 43+ are extra large.
Until now, women were pretty much instructed that they should wear small watches. Kristin (obviously) thinks this is dumb and dated. I have to agree. She can wear watches that are much bigger than I can pull off. I feel cheesy in some of the watches she wears because they are too big and blingy for my taste.
The size of the bracelet will also determine how big a watch looks and feels. 18 mm is small, 20 mm is average, and 22 mm or larger will feel large. Kristin loves a wide bracelet. Kristin styles her watch almost wears like a cuff around her wrist. This is a great look for women that many men can't pull off without looking like Johnny Depp on the set of 21 Jump Street in 1987.
The current trend in the watch world (for men anyway) is toward smaller watches. Companies are now making watches in the 38-39 mm range for men and more and more men feel stupid wearing larger watches that were considered normal size just a few years ago. Kristin will tell you that they should get over it and “if they are going to wear a watch, they should wear a watch.” I was recently harassed by Kristin and a female salesperson when I was looking at a 39 mm Tudor Pelagos. The salesperson asked me why all of the guys coming in wanted a small watch? She didn’t approve. It is possible that what guys want and what excites women are two different things. Whatever is going on with dudes and small watches in 2023 is a benefit to the women. Bargains abound on the pre-owned market because many men are passing on medium size and larger watches.
My watch nerd recommendation is to try on some watches at a jewelry store. They will surely look at you sideways when you tell them you want to try a 40 or 42 or 44 mm watch but hold your ground. You might not want to jump right in and follow Kristin with a 46 mm Breitling Navitimer but you should at least give a larger watch a try. If you are not used to wearing a big and blingy watch you might have to build up to it.
You can find a link to many of the watches mentioned in this series at my personal link. If you want, you can use the code KRISTINMAYER to receive a sizable discount. Full disclosure, I will also get a small credit to my account. We reached out to Bezel because we used their service before this series and will continue to use them in the future. We asked them to collaborate and help make this happen for you guys. This is not a paid partnership.