Here is the deal: you found a watch that you really like. It looks good, it is manly, and you’re about to pull the trigger. But then it hits you: the marketing material (or worse, the name of the watch) says it’s a women’s watch! So what do you do? Can men wear women’s watch? And if so, why and how?
Yes, men can wear women watches. This is because many watches are marketed as unisex or women’s watches. Yet, they still look very masculine and manly, and you cannot tell the difference with a regular men’s watch. You obviously don’t want to wear women’s watches that don’t look masculine, though.
So stay away from anything that is too small (even if you have small wrists), too feminine or girly, or overly blingy (with diamonds for example).
How to tell if a watch is for a man or a woman?
This is a tricky question.
A big, bold, sports watch with a masculine look is definitely a men’s watch (even if some women wear them as well). Conversely, watches that have a lot of diamonds, delicate designs, a lot of polished surfaces or downright look feminine are women’s watches.
But how can you actually tell if a watch is for a man or woman if there’s nothing special about the design that can help you answer the question?
Short answer: you can’t. And this is why the design in itself is more important than the advertising or marketing material you see at watch dealers.
What are unisex watches?
Many watch designs are unisex.
Unisex watches suit both men and women without any distinction. Nobody would ever notice that you – as a man – have a unisex watch strapped on your wrist. Because they are designed to look good on both males and females. They look masculine on guys and they look feminine on girls. That’s the beauty of their designs.
Here a few unisex watches that would look good on men and women:
This unpretentious Seiko SNKL45 is smaller, at 37 mm. But it suits men with smaller wrists just fine.
You have that very classic elegance of a simple dress watch that has all the cues it is supposed to have:
- an uncluttered black dial
- three simple hands
- a discreet day and date window at 3 o’clock
- straight hour indices
- a rose gold case
- and a brown leather strap to finish the look
It doesn’t get any more classic, classy and manly than this.
I would wear this women’s watch every single day of the week no problem.
I mean, what detail here is hinting that this piece is made for women alone? None!
That black alligator strap (with black stitches, classy, please) perfectly contrasts with the sobre, monochrome yet vivid silver dial. The overall uncluttered look of this watch is exactly why it is so noticeable when seen from afar.
All of this available from Frederique Constant, which – if you don’t already know the brand – has been making a name for itself for the past few years and is rising in popularity and value. Get one before they become out of reach!
Does this Rolex need any introduction?
Sure, it’s not the Submariner, but it’s as famous. The Datejust has been pretty much the go-to watch for anybody looking for a luxury yet simple timepiece with a classic look that can pair with every single outfit you can possibly throw at.
It really doesn’t get any better than this, as the Rolex Datejust could (should?) very well be your one and only watch.
I’ve seen this watch in pretty much every variation available on Earth equally on the wrists of women and men. It’s that versatile.
As you can see, unisex watches tend to have:
- a smaller case size
- understated case designs
- simple and elegant lugs
- plain dials, with only one color
- 3 hands at maximum, maybe with a date
- leather bands or metal bracelets that look great on both men’s and women’s wrist and can accommodate masculine or feminine jewelry
- overall, simpler and timeless designs
As such, they are the perfect everyday watches and make for great gifts too. You just can’t go wrong with a watch that is timeless, that you can wear for any occasion.
Why do some women’s watches look like men’s watches?
Because they are, plain and simple!
Now, here is the reason. Over the last few years, the big watch trend has been growing. Men and women wear bigger watches than in previous generations.
Now, should you wear a watch that is big, just because you’re a man? Of course not! You should wear a watch that has a size that is proportionate to your wrists. (Check my watch size guide to know what watch size you need.)
But because of that trend, the way watch brands communicate has changed. Any watch that is smaller in size (anything 38mm and below), can be advertised as a women’s watch, even if it has a masculine design. If they don’t, these brands run the risk to have those watches not appeal to men (because of their size) and women (because they have a masculine look).
The thing is: many women are used to wearing men’s watches. Check the “boyfriend watch” trend and you will see for yourself. Men on the other hand? Not so much.
But you shouldn’t be scared. Just because a brand advertises a particular model as a women’s watch doesn’t mean that it is for women only or that is has a feminine design. Many women’s watches draw their design inspiring from men’s watches. And even more often than that, some women’s watches are just men’s watches in a smaller case size and that’s it.
Let me prove you that with 2 stunning pieces that are – according to the brand – women’s watches. Yet to my eyes, they look absolutely spot on for a man (and they are gorgeous too). Ready?
These are advertised as women’s watches.
What do you think? Do these look like feminine watches to you? I certainly don’t!
Should you be worried about a watch being a women’s watch? Not really.
Use common sense here. If a watch is clearly a women’s watch – because of the design or the shiny details – stay away from it. It just won’t look manly, no matter what.
But if you really can’t tell if a watch is women’s or a men’s watch, that’s because there is no difference. So rest assured that you can get that piece and wear it without anybody ever noticing.
Advertising and names are marketing material. But a manly design will always be just that: a manly design that is great for men. And women, of course!
Need a men’s watch and have smaller wrists? Check some great Men’s Watches for Small Wrists here!