1. What one watch should every woman own?
I get asked that a lot and, at the risk of sounding like I’m sitting on the fence, there really isn’t one watch for every woman. Yes, there are brands out there like Patek Philippe, Cartier or Rolex that everyone knows and so thinks they ‘should’ own, but that doesn’t mean these are the only brands worth buying. And, if you shop around and look for less well known brands you’ll get more horological clout for your money. As women we also need to get away from the idea that we should buy one watch and that’s it for the rest of our lives. We need to start thinking about them like we do a well-made handbag or pair of shoes – something beautiful that is also an accessory that we need (or want) more than one of… A watch says as much about your personality as the way you dress or your hair cut and it's time women started putting the same amount of thought into what they put on their wrists.
2. So if there isn’t one watch for every woman, how do you go about choosing a watch to buy?
Always, always buy with your heart. Obviously have a budget in mind but buy something that suits your personal style and makes you happy. Decide where you want your budget to go – do you want diamonds and don’t care about what powers it or are you keen to buy mechanical? I bought my Panerai because I really like the chunkiness of it and the innate sexiness of a man’s watch on a delicate female wrist. I’d been coveting my husband’s for a while too! However, if you’re after something that combines cool Berliner style with serious watchmaking then Nomos is worth a look. Or if you’re into more classic designs then Longines or Frederique Constant are affordable and stylish. On the fashion side, Orla Kiely’s first collection is a slice of 1960s colour-pop fun, while Swarovski proves you can have some sparkle without paying the price for diamonds.
3. What do you think about smartwatches?
Until the Apple Watch no one in the watch world was really talking about smartwatches but that’s definitely changed. Brands such as TAG Heuer and Gucci have announced plans to launch one, while Mondaine and Frederique Constant have made the first horological smartwatch – it looks like a classic watch but with added technology. It will be interesting to see what the launches are next year, but I think we’ll see more brands going the Mondaine/Frederique Constant route and combining horology with technology because it looks good as well as being smart.
4. Which brands do you think are ones to watch this year?
In terms of women’s watches, things are really starting to get interesting. Vacheron Constantin has been putting its women’s watches centre stage for the past few years and this year it launched its first-ever women’s chronograph, which is just stunning. Chopard is continuing to make beautiful yet fun pieces. I love the Happy Sport, which, this year, is available on a leather strap for a reasonably affordable £8,650. People tend to think of Audemars Piguet as a very masculine brand, but it is trying to change that. I’ve been told that they are developing an entirely new collection just for women that will be out in a couple of years, but for now the Millenary and the gorgeous ad campaign that accompanies it shows how it is trying to entice more women to buy its watches.
5. Which watch are you coveting at the moment?
I’m sorry I can’t pick just one so here’s five. Swatch’s Sistem51 is an automatic watch for just over £100 thanks to being assembled by robots, while, at the other end of the scale, the Fendi with its attachable fur Glamy (I know…) is the perfect example of a fashion house having fun with watch design. And speaking of fabulous straps, the Roger Dubuis Velvet on mink is just too decadent for words. I love it. If, like me, you like to switch things up a bit, then the Baume & Mercier Linea – with its interchangeable straps in some amazing colours – is a wardrobe must. And the Piaget Altiplano 900P, with its gear train exposed on the dial, is just that ideal mix of brains and beauty.