When it comes to accessorizing, I am no stranger to jewelry. After working in the industry throughout my career, first on the brand side and then as an editor, I’ve learned to appreciate a nice bauble or two. But now that I’ve entered my thirties and have started to understand what I *actually* like wearing, I’ve streamlined my collection quite a bit over the last two years. Some are investment pieces and others are just lucky shopping finds that bring me joy whenever I look in the mirror and see them on my neck or ears. This season, however, I was inspired to buy myself a watch, which is arguably fall’s hottest must-have item.
Whether you want to splurge or stick with a more affordable option, watches have an undeniable allure, even if you’ve never considered yourself a “watch person” before. The marriage of functionality (as in you can actually tell time without pulling out your phone to check) and design makes the purchase feel that much more practical, and therefore worthwhile.
Personally, I’ve worn watches on and off for years. In high school, it was a digital Casio in lime green (to match my see-through phone at home, duh), and in college, I graduated to a very cool brown leather wrap style that was half watch and half charm bracelet. I eventually retired it altogether once I started bartending most nights, as soft leather and warm beer aren’t exactly friends. But now that I’m a capable, semi-functioning adult, it seemed like the right moment to upgrade my timepiece to something a little more substantial.
I’ve had the good fortune in my career to visit places like Sotheby’s and Christie’s during their jewelry presentations (which are open to the public, fun fact) ahead of big auctions, and I’ve tried on my fair share of fancy watches, like Cartier and Audemars Piguet. I’ve even waltzed into the Rolex store on Madison Avenue and convinced them to let me try on a style or two. Ultimately, after months and months of research (and a few years of saving), this was the brand I decided to purchase just a few days before my 32nd birthday — a vintage 1979 yellow gold, itty bitty 26mm Datejust President.
Now, do you need to drop serious coin on a luxury watch to take part in the trend? Absolutely not. But there’s no denying that for a female-presenting person, there is a power that comes with wearing a timepiece on your wrist. It’s a no-nonsense, I-have-places-to-go-and-people-to-see sort of vibe. It’s a let-me-subtly-look-down-at-the-time-because-you’re-boring-me kind of authority. And lord knows women deserve more of that in our lives. Plus, the whole badass nature of buying yourself jewelry, fine or otherwise, is all the more amplified with a watch, which has traditionally been seen as such a masculine accessory (although ladies were actually the first to wear wristwatches — men stuck to pocket watches until the early 1900s).
The beauty of a watch is that, above all, it’s an accessory based on both utility and style. As long as its functionality is useful to you on a day-to-day basis — similar to how a pair of shoes should ultimately be comfortable if you’re going to wear them all the time — its resplendent design is simply an added bonus. One that you very much deserve, by the way. And I just love to spot women wearing a watch in their everyday lives — it’s an unexpected accessory that radiates confidence.
So whether that’s a minimalist Cartier tank, a color-block Shinola, or a stainless steel Nixon, as long as you love it, you can wear it with pretty much anything. It’s truly the ultimate accessory, especially as we head into fall and, you know, you have to be at work and appointments and such on time.
If you’re curious to join the watch girl club, there’s no shortage of options to try. Whether you treat yourself or drop not-so-subtle hints to your loved ones, these are 16 styles that work for any aesthetic and budget.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Under $150 Watches
If you’re new to the watch game, there are a ton of styles that will in no way break the bank. I’m partial to gold and steel (they’ll truly work with any outfit) but leather options can also add a colorful pop to your fall wardrobe. Bonus — if you’ve always wanted a calculator on your wrist, you can make that happen with a few of these watches.
Under $1000 Watches
Looking to flex a little bit but not quite ready to commit to a pricier watch? Mid-range styles are plentiful if you’re looking at pre-owned and vintage watches. I personally love the character of a fashion item that’s been worn and loved before, so definitely check out some of your favorite resale sites for good deals.
I consider this the sweet spot for a first-time investment watch. It takes some planning and saving, but is oh-so-satisfying when you can finally purchase that style you’ve had your eye on for months (or years). The options are even broader in this price range, so take your time and really dive into your watch research.
The Sky’s The Limit
Sometimes it’s nice to fantasize about a watch that would make even Drake swoon. If you can afford one of these bad boys, more power to you. If not, it never hurts to scroll through during your downtime. A girl can dream, can’t she?