The top brands of women's watches range from low-end department store models that mimic the styles of luxury ladies' timepieces to the ultra-luxury models featuring diamonds and mother-of-pearl accents. Women's watches had received short shrift as a fashion accessory compared to men's watches due to the small size and modest design detail. However, the size of dials in recent years has mushroomed to rival men's timepieces, in some cases creating a more masculine look for women.
The Swiss-based Chopard has long been identified principally as a maker of women's watches, producing mostly classic-style dress timepieces. It has recently branched out to produce more masculine-looking chronographs that appear to be smaller versions of men's watches. The Happy Sport line features both sports-style outdoor watches, such as the quartz chronograph, and the dressier 18k rose gold models with moving diamonds on the dial.
Citizen remains a top brand for two reasons: its moderate price and its environmentally friendly operation. Prices start at less than $100 and rise to as much as $1,000, depending on the model. The ladies' Palidoro Eco-Drive watch, with its 21-mm case, needs no battery because it's powered by direct sunlight; tiny solar panels embedded under the dial convert light into energy.
Guess has emerged as a top brand in recent years, thanks largely to its high-end Guess Collection line. Ladies' Guess Collection watches are generally manufactured with stainless steel and use white mother-of-pearl and diamond chips to accent the dial. The watches are usually quartz-powered. Case diameters have grown somewhat compared to previous generations of Guess women's watches, with timepieces now measuring 30 mm to 33 mm.
Tissot has stepped up marketing of its women's line of watches with race driver Danica Patrick, the watchmaker's spokeswoman. Along with Patrick's racing image, Tissot has produced the large—at least for the female wrist—PRC100 quartz watch with a 34.8 mm dial. The watch features a glass sapphire crystal, red dial and leather bracelet. Somewhat less eye-catching on a woman's wrist is the trendy 28-mm stainless steel T-Moments model.
The ultra-luxury Rolex has been at the top of the list of watch brand names for more than 80 years, and shows no signs of waning. Rolex has eschewed recent trends of producing larger dials on women's watches and instead focuses on workmanship and maintaining conservative styling. The ladies' Rolex Yachtmaster features a modest 29 mm dial, rotating platinum bezel, gray dial and automatic movement. The venerable Datejust ladies' watch features an even smaller white dial, at only 26 mm.