Classic watches for women that will be loved for a lifetime

Our top five classic ladies' watches will weather the test of time in great style.

Chanel Boy.Friend watch on Angelina Jolie

Imagine being able to enjoy a present every hour, minute and second of the day for years to come. This is why only the very best classic watches make such great gifts. With Christmas literally around the corner, and with so much choice from the many attractive candidates, we’ve lined up five watches for women that are destined to weather the test of time. All five models are equipped with mechanical movements and don’t do anything fancy except tell the time in a reliable, accurate and impeccably stylish manner.

1. Jaeger-LeCoultre
Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin watch

£5,800

It is hard to imagine a line-up of the best classic watches without the world’s best-loved Reverso model. Going strong since it was first deployed in 1931 to British polo players in India with its unique reversible case, the Reverso has been re-edited in countless ways over the last 85 years, including this Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin model. Sleek, slender and stylish, the curved stainless steel case on these Jaeger LeCoultre watches are a mere 7.2mm thick and feature a creamy guilloché and sunray-brushed dial with rose gold numbers. The classic gadroons at either end of the case - also highlighted in rose gold - reaffirm the tenets of Art Deco styling, while the swivelling case opens up an empty canvas that can be engraved for the occasion.

See more Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso watches

2. Cartier
Clé de Cartier white gold watch
£23,400

Just about anything that emanates from Cartier is destined to become a classic and although the Clé collection was only introduced at the beginning of 2015, it has timeless written all over it. With proportioned soft curves and a rounded profile, this harmonious collection of Cartier watches derives its name from the elongated sapphire cabochon crown, harking back to the days when pocket watches and clocks were wound with a key. This 35mm white gold model with brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel features a guilloché decoration on the dial offset with classic Roman numerals, and comes on a bright fuchsia alligator strap. Equipped with the new automatic movement developed by Cartier’s manufactory in Switzerland, when it comes to diamond watches, this model will surely become another key player in Cartier’s illustrious history.

Read more about Clé de Cartier watches

3. Chanel
Boy.Friend XL beige gold watch

£9,400

In keeping with the audacious spirit of Coco Chanel who liked to borrow clothes from men’s wardrobes and imbue them with feminine touches, the Boy.Friend watch is designed to look like a man’s but to be appropriated by women. The sumptuous warm beige gold used for the case is an exclusive alloy, and is taken from Chanel’s Première watch collection - the brand’s first wristwatch for women released in 1987. Just like the stopper on the groundbreaking Nº5 bottle of perfume presented in 1921, the clean-cut geometry of these Chanel watches was inspired by the octagonal perimeter of Coco’s beloved Place Vendôme. This XL model - measuring 26.70 x 34.60mm - with its minimalist opaline guilloché dial, features a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock and is equipped with a manual-winding Swiss movement.

Read more about the Chanel Boy.Friend watch

4. IWC
Portofino Automatic 37 stainless steel watch
£7,850

The elegant and eminently classic Portofino range of IWC watches was declined in smaller 37mm cases in 2014 - a size designed to appeal to both sexes. The three-hand model - hours, minutes and seconds - is hallmark Portofino, and this dazzling blue model with a sunray pattern finish on the dial captures the changing colours of the Ligurian sea, which bathes the harbour of Portofino. The bezel of the stainless steel case is set with 66 diamonds, and a further 12 are used to highlight the hours. Keeping the time and date functions in perfect sync is an IWC mechanical automatic calibre, while the blue alligator strap has been made exclusively by the luxury Italian shoemaker Santoni.

Read more about IWC watches

5. Rolex
Oyster Perpetual watch in stainless steel: 26, 31 and 34mm
£3,250, £3,300 and £3,350 respectively

Founder Hans Wilsdorf had a knack for coming up with good names for his Rolex watches, and the Oyster Perpetual is most fitting for a timepiece that can trace its ancestry back to 1926 when the world’s first waterproof watch was submerged, and the Rolex empire was forged. For 2015, Rolex has opened up an attractive colour palette to enhance this iconic collection. Rugged and elegant, the Oyster Perpetual is waterproof to a depth of 100 metres, and the sapphire crystal protecting the sunray finish dial in olive green, red grape and champagne is virtually scratchproof, ensuring years of wear with no tear. All three models come on the famous Oyster three-piece solid link bracelet in steel, and the Manufacture Rolex movement is officially certified as a Swiss Chronometer (COSC). 

Read more about the history of Rolex watches

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