03/13/2024
 5 minutes

The Luxury Watches of Today’s Fashion Icons

By Chrono24
ONP-878-Todays-Fashion-Icons-and-their-watches

Fashion Icons and Their Watches

By Scarlett Baker

Recently, I decided, without cause or need, to visit one of London’s hallmark department stores for some much-needed stimulus amid the mid-February bleakness. I typically divide my eye time between the mannequins decorated with the robes of the new season, to the aptly-titled “Wonder Room.” Here I encountered a world of glass cabinets housing an abundance of watches and jewelry. However, it was on my journey out of this treasure trove that I came across a hefty book yearning to be taken home: A Man & His Watch.

Rather than deface the cover by adding “woman” and “her” (yes, the thought crossed my mind for a second), it got me thinking about the book’s counterpart. Not a sequel, but a companion publication containing iconic watches and the women who wore them. From Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier Tank and Marilyn Monroe’s dainty Blancpain to Aretha Franklin’s Chanel J12 and Lady Di’s Patek Philippe Calatrava, these forebears – foremothers, if you will – walked so that the females watch lovers of today could run to their nearest boutique of choice.

So, in homage to International Women’s Day, the annual global nod to girl power (we women in the watch industry promote this for the remaining 364 days of the year too), discover some of the leading female voices of today who are bold enough to create their own Wonder Room, decorating their wrists in defiance.

Applause for Rihanna

If the watch industry ever had a poster girl, it would definitely be Rihanna, the ultimate demonstration that watches are far more than just commodity, but a mirror of society as well. Rihanna’s own hall of horological fame is a growing gallery. Fans will recall her humble beginnings when “Rude Boy” sounded out to the masses in 2009, with “RiRi” rocking five G-Shocks on her wrist in the video, making today’s double-wristing trend seem tame in comparison.

Casio G-Shock GMA-S2100BS-3AJF
Casio G-Shock GMA-S2100BS-3AJF

Naturally, when success puts a few extra dollars in your pocket, a Patek Philippe Nautilus and Rolex Datejust seem the obvious way to memorialize upward mobility. Such were Rihanna’s initial moves, but as she’s cultivated a broader repertoire of music and her tastes have matured, she’s also understood what it means to totally capture the attention of social media.

You won’t see Rihanna wearing any old watch on the red carpet for some brand kudos; she invests to make a wider social commentary. Case in point, the Barbadian star broke the internet (and every watch journalist’s mind) in 2022, announcing the news of her pregnancy with A$AP Rocky. With the rest of the world fawning over her baby bump, the watch community revered the customized Rolex King Midas on her wrist, a watch that pre-Rihanna pregnancy was known only in horological circles. These days in 2024, everyone wants one.

Rolex Datejust 31 Ref. 68273
Rolex Datejust 31 ref. 68273

Rihanna then doubled down by sporting a custom, time-only Jacob & Co. Brilliant Skeleton Northern Lights watch at her Super Bowl LVII performance. Its 251 diamonds prompted us to alter “shine bright like a diamond” to “shine bright like a bezel.” And just when we thought we’d seen it all from RiRi, she tactfully confirmed that watches don’t just belong on the wrist, wearing a Jacob & Co. Brilliant Flying Tourbillon in white gold around her neck to Pharrell’s debut Louis Vuitton show, and a 17-mm diamond Jacob & Co. wristwatch as an anklet to the Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Much like her critically acclaimed music, Rihanna’s approach to watch wearing is unapologetic and groundbreaking. You might say it’s a kind of Rih-naissance.

Zendaya Zeitgeist

Another iconic watch wearer is Zendaya, whose fashion always errs on the side of the unexpected. Sure, she’s a brand ambassador for the likes of Valentino and Bulgari, but just as much as which brand she wears matters, how she wears these brands and transcends the obvious also play a major role.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 7118/1R-001
Patek Philippe Nautilus 7118/1R-001

There’s something inherently transgressive about the mononymous star’s approach to fashion (props to her stylist Law Roach, by the way), especially given that she often co-opts more historically masculine fashion with everything from her tuxedos to her watch collection. Take her 35-mm rose-gold Patek Philippe Nautilus, for example; a watch she shares with her friendly-neighborhood boyfriend, Tom Holland. Or her 41-mm Bulgari Octo Roma that is generally otherwise only seen on the wrists of men, given its larger size.

There’s fluidity in Zendaya’s approach that’s in line with “the proliferation of fashion [which has] entailed a diversification of meaning,” according to fashion theorist Dr. Renate Stauss, who goes on to explain how “Fashion, nowadays, not only refers to the principle of change, mostly of changing styles, but also to an industry, to a system and to objects, ideas and images.”

Cartier Panthère WSPN0006
Cartier Panthère WSPN0006

Zendaya typifies this change, sporting daintier pieces from the 22-mm Cartier Panthère – an androgynous watch embraced by Hollywood’s elite – to charismatic timepieces such as the Bulgari Serpenti. She appears to be experimenting with the idea that a watch shouldn’t be an afterthought, but an elucidating jewelry companion that neatly concludes an outfit, regardless of whether you’re going to tell the time with it or not.

Top It off With Hailey Bieber

Although you might find Mrs. Bieber’s mention here somewhat controversial, the American model and socialite has harnessed her media presence in a way that sometimes utterly dictates what women want – and she delivers the goods. For the uninitiated among you, Hailey Bieber has monopolized the girlies of late with the launch of her Rhode beauty line. She then topped that with the glazed donut nails trend (they’re a lot hotter than they sound), and now has fans in a chokehold with her iPhone case that you can slip your lip gloss tube into.

So what’s that got to do with watches? Well, the media princess has a tendency to set trends about what comes next, and there’s a corner of TikTok going crazy for her tiny Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Lady ref. 6007BA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Lady ref. 6007BA

Hailey is yet another celebrity wearing one of the most sought-after timepieces on planet Earth, you might add. Very true, to be sure, but where she really earns her recognition is with her penchant for sizing, reclaiming the narrative that women wear small watches not because history says they should, but because they want to. If that means we’ll be seeing more women turn up with a great-looking watch on their wrist, then who cares whether it’s 28 or 82 mm?

Of course, the watch industry is historically one in which every millimeter matters, but when did that come to mean drawing a line between the boys and the girls? One thing all of the women in this article make clear is that it’s long overdue to put the old rules aside. International Women’s Day is right around the corner, and the ladies are here to show you their way of doing things.


About the Author

Chrono24

The team behind the Chrono24 Magazine consists of Chrono24 employees, freelance authors, and guest authors. They're all united by a passion for anything and everything…

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