For those keeping an eye on women’s watch trends, the buzzword is smaller. In a slow move away from the past decade’s large (and oversized) watches, women’s watches seem to be scaling down in size—a trend that may offer a bit more femininity.
Recently, Baume & Mercier unveiled the smaller-sister version of its highly successful Promesse line. The Petite Promesse— inspired by the individual styles of the 1970’s—is a 22 mm watch (compared to its “bigger” sisters of 34 and 36mm). To put this into perspective, that means the Petite Promesse measures just 0.866 inches in diameter—just over half an inch, as compared to the 1.4-inch diameter of its largest sister. The watches are offered in bright orange, bold blue or stainless steel.
Similarly, luxury brands such as
Longines this year unveils the new La Grande Classique de Longines (first presented in 1992) in a smaller 24mm or 29mm size. The quartz-powered watches are offered in an array of soft-hues such as pale pink, sky blue and white, and feature alluring mother-of-pearl dials with star patterns. Crafted in steel, the watches are accented with Top Wesselton diamonds.
Movado’s new Rondiro watch is a 22mm steel beauty with an alluring bracelet instead of a strap. The bracelet features open-worked semi-circular lugs and the case flaunts diamond-set accents. The idea here is to offer a jewelry-like watch with a bit of elongation thanks to the open-worked lugs. This design also offers comfort on the wrist.
Dior took it down to one of the tiniest offerings with the Dior La Mini De Dior—at a miniscule 19mm. Also powered by a quartz movement, the new watches are meant to bring together the Dior watch and jewelry experience. As such they feature shimmering metallic colored straps such as silver, gold and even rose gold leather straps and matching dials.
Of course, a host of other brands are also unveiling petitely feminine watches, making this the first time in many decades that the trend is toward tiny. The reason for this trend, pundits speculate, has a lot to do with the Chinese market. Typically, wrists are smaller and preferences in Asia tend to be for the smaller watch sizes. Because it takes years (anywhere from 2-7) for a watch brand to make the tools, design a watch and bring it to fruition, some of these brands started their quest for small years ago, when the Chinese market was new and strong. Expecting this to be a big boon to business, many brands down-sized for women, despite the fact that the strong American market may still love a larger size. With the Chinese market weakened, the watches have to go somewhere, so a new trend has begun.
Conversely, some watch insiders tell a different story. They say the time is ripe for a change. As with any fashion trend (and let’s be clear, watches are indeed a fashion statement), there is a return to our roots. The early 1920’s Art Deco style watches were all petite beauties, and so this move may be inspired by the retro trend.
Additionally, today’s young women want diversity, choice, femininity and elegance. To paraphrase Alexandre Peraldi, Creative Design and Product Director of Baume & Mercier: Women want it all. They want black, but they want color. They want big and bold, but they want small and feminine. Indeed, women may be sending these mixed messages out to brands – but it is only the sales that will reflect tastes in the end.