Much has been said lately about how the watch industry does not offer enough variety for their female customers. A cursory glance at the current collections of some of the best watch brands in the business quickly reveals that they often rely on precious metals, diamonds, and quartz movements when designing their ladies’ watches. This probably explains why many women choose to wear so-called “men’s watches”—there’s a lot more to choose from!
While we may not agree with the separation of men’s watches and women’s watches, almost all watch brands still organize their collections that way. So we dug around the “ladies’ watch” section and came up with some treasures. Here are some fantastic sporty mechanical watches for women to check out.
Rolex Yacht-Master 37
Rolex has always made the nautical-inspired Yacht-Master watch in various size options. Today’s version of the midsize Yacht-Master comes with a 37mm case, which is topped, as always, with a bidirectional rotating 60-minute timing bezel.
Like most other sizes, the sporty 37mm Yacht-Master is available in a wide assortment of materials. A particularly popular variation is the steel Yacht-Master 37 with a sandblasted platinum bezel that glistens in the sun. For fans of two-tone colorways, the Yacht-Master 37 is also available in a striking combination of cool steel and warm Everose gold—Rolex’s proprietary rose gold alloy. Finally, the most luxurious option is the Everose gold Yacht-Master 37, fitted with a sleek matte black ceramic bezel and robust black rubber Oysterflex bracelet. This solid gold version also comes with the choice of a matching black dial or a diamond-paved one.
Powering the time and date functionality of the Yacht-Master 37 is an in-house made automatic Rolex movement, with about 55 hours of power reserve.
Omega Speedmaster 38
The Omega Speedmaster is one of the world’s most famous chronographs thanks in part to its link to space exploration. However, the Speedmaster collection offers plenty of alternatives that sit alongside the famed Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch—including a stunning collection of Speedmaster watches with 38mm cases.
While the Speedmaster 38 watches look similar to their larger counterparts, there are a few design variations to note. The most notable of them is that almost all Speedmaster 38 watches have oval-shaped subdials rather than the more traditional round ones. Moreover, the tachymeter bezels are slightly thinner—and some are accompanied by diamonds, and some aren’t.
In true Omega fashion, there are plenty of Speedmaster 38 options to choose from, whether in steel, Sedna gold (Omega’s proprietary red gold alloy), or yellow gold. Plus, there are also dial colors and bracelet or strap types to consider. Inside the Speedmaster 38 is a chronometer-certified Co-Axial automatic movement.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Is there an ultra-luxe sports watch as famous as the Patek Philippe Nautilus right now? Probably not, especially since the brand recently announced it was discontinuing the immensely popular (and essentially-impossible-to-get) steel Nautilus 5711. While some battle to get their hands on the 40mm Nautilus watches, there’s a whole other section of the collection branded the “Nautilus Ladies Automatic” the rest of us can enjoy.
The Patek Nautilus ref. 7118 models sport 35.8mm cases, designed in the same porthole-inspired style of the larger versions, complete with the rounded octagonal bezel. Bezels come either plain or set with 56 diamonds. The dials feature a wavy horizontal pattern, punctuated by a date window at 6 o’clock and an Arabic numeral at 12 o’clock. There are steel and rose gold versions of the ref. 7118, all fitted with the customary Nautilus integrated bracelet.
The back of the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 7118 watches are furnished with sapphire crystal casebacks for a view of the beautifully decorated automatic movement (up to 45-hour power reserve) inside the case.
Panerai Luminor Due 38
If there’s one brand that has cornered the oversized watch market, it’s Panerai with case sizes typically ranging from 44mm to 47mm. So it came as a surprise to many when Panerai announced the Luminor Due in 2016, with some models equipped with restrained 38mm cases that are only 11.2mm thick.
The Luminor Due 38 may have a smaller-than-expected diameter for Panerai watches, yet it offers plenty of wrist presence thanks to the unmistakable Luminor silhouette. Similar to all Luminor watches, the 38mm variations feature the signature oversized crown-protecting bridge on the right side of the case. Furthermore, the dials are all fashioned in typical Panerai style with oversized hands and hour markers, in addition to a date window at 3 o’clock and a running seconds at 9 o’clock. Panerai Luminor Due 38 watches, which are all automatic, are offered in steel or rose gold and come with a varied assortment of leather straps.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 is all about clean lines and legibility. And the best part of it is the wearable 36mm case—a return to the original size of the 1948 Mark 11 watches destined for WWII pilots.
Whether paired with a matching steel bracelet or a colored leather strap, the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 is effortlessly cool and casual. The dial design is customary aviation style, complete with the triangle plus two dots at 12 o’clock accompanied by prominent Arabic numerals. There’s also a discreet date window at 3 o’clock. The watch also benefits from a soft-iron inner case for additional resistance against magnetic fields while the sapphire crystal protecting the dial is resilient to scratching.
IWC makes the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 in stainless steel and offers the choice of a black, gray, or blue dial. As its name implies, it runs on an automatic movement, which supplies the watch with 42 hours of power reserve.
From seafaring watches to pilot watches to chronographs, it’s refreshing to see a diverse range of sporty automatic watches for women. Whether in gold or steel, with or without diamonds, these are all fantastic options that blend iconic watch designs with mechanical movements.
What do you think of our selection? Are there any other watches you would recommend to add to this list? We’d love to hear your feedback so leave us a comment below.