If You're Looking for a New Watch, These Are the Chicest Styles to Ever Consider

Life is full of decisions. Whilst some seem important but aren't, like which pizza topping to pick or what colour your next gel mani should be, others, like which watch to invest in, actually take careful consideration. For most, selecting the correct timepieces is a lengthy process as—let’s be honest—they can come with a hefty price tag and are something you want to wear for decades, perhaps pass down for generations and need to compliment all facets of your personal style. 

When considering the best watches for women, it’s no secret that they're often not thought of as a quote-unquote must-have or trending piece. Shoes and handbags seem to follow a faster-paced trend cycle and create more hype, but watches? Well, timepieces on the other hand are—erm—timeless, which somehow manages to make them almost more difficult to decide on. They’re also an accessory to be worn everyday, so where a shoe you can swap depending on the outfit or weather, a watch can be an investment for all occasions and must be versatile enough to suit its job.

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(Image credit: @paintedbyjools)

But just because they’re classic, it doesn’t mean they can’t be cool. So which key styles do the fashion lot wear? The Instagram It girls, the editors and influencers? I did a deep dive into the internet’s chicest, and compiled a list of the styles they're wearing—be it a leather strap, a chunky model or slim and slender—I’ve found very best watches for women on the market for different budgets. 

THE MIXED METAL WATCH

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(Image credit: @bettinalooney)

Style Notes: Where you'll often hear people telling you to wear either silver or gold jewellery, the mix metal watch is a classic, and a very good idea. Perfect for those that own jewellery in white, rose and yellow tones, big hitters such as Rolex, Tag Heurer, Bvlgari and more have adopted this blend of hues, most commonly with link strap timepieces, but all in their own distinct way. It means your jewellery will never clash—perfect for an investment piece.

THE LEATHER STRAP

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(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

Style Notes: I love a leather-strap timepiece. Simple, classic and so sophisticated, a leather strap watch–be it with a square or round face, silver or gold hardware–is the epitome of elegance to me. Whilst I like to enhance the vintage element by keeping the details simple, if you're wanting a piece with extra personality or sparkle, look for diamonds, coloured or animal skin straps, or even a pearlescent face. 

THE OVERSIZED WATCH

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(Image credit: @annavitiello)

Style Notes: After decades of women's watches traditionally possessing petite faces and slender straps, the XL watch has become increasingly popular since the late nineties/early 2000s. So much so, before this time women were often purchasing men's styles for a more dramatic effect on their wrist. Today, most of the popular watch models will come in 36mm (the standard diameter you should look out for if you're wanting a chunkier style), as well as a smaller option. 

THE MAILLE MILLANAISE STRAP

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(Image credit: @aida.bdji)

Style Notes: The Maille Milanaise strap is the underdog when it comes to chic watches. The mesh metal is a pretty universal style, often offered unisex or appearing in both men's and women's collections, and is fuss-free style that attracts many minimalists out there. Elevated and understated, these pieces always look more expensive than they are, and look equally great in both gold and silver. 

THE SMART WATCH

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(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

Style Notes: See, smart watches can be cool! Proved sublimely by fashion writer Amelia Madden, this tech accessory regularly causes quite a divisive conversation when brought up in fashion offices. Where some editors love them, and others love to hate them, if you're a fan like Amelia, take note and don't try to style it to your outfit, rather find the strap you like and pair it with anything and everything in your wardrobe.

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(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

Style Notes: Whether it's Chanel's iconic leather chain that reminisce of their handbags, or simple gold styles from Coach, the interwoven link bracelet strap is a watch trend that has seen exponential growth in the last two years. We can thank celebrities like Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid for this, as well as Princess Diana back in the day, who are often seen styling a Cartier Panthère and others similar. A timepiece that is also like a bracelet or cuff, and can be worn with the face placed on the inside or outside of the wrist, this is watch wearing at its finest. 

Next Up: The WWW Gift Guide: 58 Chic Buys We'd Love to Open Ourselves

Rebecca Rhys-Evans is the branded content editor at Who What Wear UK, where she leads the editorial side to commercial projects. Previously a freelance writer and content consultant, she has written for a variety of publications and brands such as Polyester, Screenshot, Marie Claire and Culture Trip, reporting on everything from fashion NFTs and internet culture to sustainability and sex work, and held editor positions at Buro, Koibird and Shop Magazine.

Having got her taste for luxury fashion (as a very green graduate) in her first position as content editor at Flannels.com, she was quickly promoted to managing the company's e-commerce and content teams. Since then, Rebecca has moved to East London with her partner and cocker spaniel Joni Mitchell and has also delved into styling, copywriting, art directing and social media consultancy, where she loves helping brands carve out their tone of voice, strategy and aesthetic. Fully immersed in the contemporary fashion landscape—the one with TikTok, Y2K and the Metaverse—she is enthusiastic about personal style, pop culture and digital trends.