Nov 10, 2011

Watch trends: The return of the timepiece in women’s fashion

By: Aya McMillan
Elle Canada
Nov 10, 2011

Watch trends: The return of the timepiece in women’s fashion

By: Aya McMillan
Somewhere between your smartphone, laptop and iPad, wearing a watch became totally and irrevocably unnecessary. Most gadget gurus were writing off the timepiece as an antique, as démodé as a cassette player or Uggs. Time was, it seemed, running out for the wristwatch.

But a girl can’t live on clothes alone and after going watch-free for much of the last decade, many accessories addicts are turning back time and rediscovering the joy of the practical bijoux. And they’re not alone. Sales of Swiss timepieces have reached new peaks in women’s fashion, jumping over 40% in the past year, while luxury brands like Gucci, Dior and Michael Kors are declaring it to be one of their fastest-growing categories.

So, why the sudden uptick? A watch may strike some people as an impractical, frivolous and even costly way to express individual style but that’s just another way of saying that it’s fashion. And with all the delicious new options, it’s one accoutrement no serious style setter should be without. Read on for the latest timepiece tends and styles in women’s fashion.

1. Ornamental styles
Dazzling diamonds, decadent gemstones, and exotic skins– watches have moved way beyond your basic dial. More than ever, haute jewellery houses see their timepieces as essential extensions of their precious baubles. Some of the most mouth-watering in women’s fashion include Harry Winston’s Talk To Me line featuring more than four-carats worth of flawless diamonds, Boucheron’s Ladyhawke Tourbillon is a white gold watch set with 833 multicolored diamonds and rubies, and Bedat & Co. 315 timepiece offers a bezel composed of 390 diamonds fitted with hand-sewn alligator and mink strap.

2. Menswear-inspired
The trend towards menswear-inspired watches in women’s fashion is still going strong thanks to celebrities like Victoria Beckham and the Olsen twins who sport rose gold Rolexes. Michael Kors has a line of oversize chronographs, manufactured by Fossil, that is the current must-have accessory among under-30 fashion-philes. Yellow gold, rose gold and silver tones are the most popular but expect to see more two-tone and deep chocolate shades in the coming seasons.

3. Classic
Whether it’s a rejection of gimmicky gadgetry or a newfound interest in more nuanced subtlety, there is a distinct return to the classic timepiece. Like a mannish chronograph, the traditional gentlemen’s style timepiece is bold and strong, and simultaneously evokes a sense of grandeur and power, but offers a more simplified face dials with vintage inspired numerals and refined leather straps with a 1970s vintage flair.

4. Novelty
Why not add some character to your time telling? A range of watchmakers are offering playful styles in the form of crazy patterns, flashy lights and quirky shapes. This season, Swatch, the world’s largest watch manufacturer, collaborated with L.A.-based designer Jeremy Scott to launch a capsule collection comprising of fluffy white wings, neon bolts, and faux-ornate frames at just $70 bucks a pop.

Check out more timepiece trends on the next page...


5. Multipurpose
Not as blinged out as the ornamental variety, this styles fuses function and fashion into a timepiece that looks and acts like a bracelet – think Hermès’ Médor watch or Bulgari’s Serpentine Tubogas.

6. Technological wonders
For some luxury watchmakers, creating something that accurately tells the time is simply not enough. Innovation comes with cool, jet-set friendly details like instant time zone jumping, lightening fast time recording functions, and, of course, mobile internet access.

7. Colour
Forget all forms of subtlety; these women’s fashion timepieces are looking to be noticed. Nixon, Toywatch and, most recently, homegrown favourite Joe Fresh offer styles designed in a full spectrum of graphic splashes – the latter a mere $24 each. On the luxury end, brands like Van Cleef & Arpels are applying vibrant shades of colour with hand-painted faces.

8. Sporty
Get your head in the game – or at least your wrist. Watch designers are crafting sporty subdials and tricked-out tourbillons ready for surfing, sailing and deep sea diving. Hermès and Chanel offer styles with rubber straps (Chanel’s J12 Marine watch is a cult favourite), while de Grisogono newly launched Instrumento N°Uno comes with green galuchat strap.

9. Eco
Increasingly, watch brands are incorporating a little consciousness into their collections. For a few years now, Citizen has offered a line of watches that run on solar power but one of the newest entries into eco-conscious timepieces is a line called Sprout. Launched earlier this year, the watches are comprised of organic cotton, corn resin, bamboo, mineral crystal, conflict-free diamonds and mother of pearl and this season sees straps constructed out of fish skin as an alternative to leather.

Read more:
Fall fashion trends: 10 ankle boots for fall
Fashion trends: 10 great handbags for fall 2011
Fall colour trends: Rich bordeaux

Share X

Watch trends: The return of the timepiece in women’s fashion