Why men are now wearing women’s watches

To announce the new coloured dials of Gucci’s 25H, the brand snapped a picture of Idris Elba in a Pepto-Bismol pink suit complete with complementary corsage, sporting a 25H with a similarly hued dial. It’s a watch he would later be papped wearing, suggesting this was a man very comfortable with his dial shade choices.

Then, Ryan Gosling takes to the Barbie pink carpet matching his baby blue suit with a TAG Heuer Carrera in a very hot fuschia. Omega also brought out its Aqua Terra Shades in cases sized 38mm or 34mm with an ad campaign that featured Eddie Redmayne and Zoe Kravitz with no marked delineation as to who was wearing what colour. Add to that the trend for gender-fluid collections and case sizes that tend towards the sub-40mm and you find yourself asking the question – is it time for women to start sharing their watch collections with men?

A decade ago, this is not a question I thought I’d be asking. Women borrowed men’s watches, wore them dangling from dainty wrists; their oversizedness leant an insouciance to an outfit, like wearing your other half’s shirt. It was also born out of necessity. Switzerland hadn’t yet learnt to respect the female dollar, choosing instead to put their R&D budget into men’s watches, thinking that they could accommodate women simply by shrinking the case size and prettifying the dial colour.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when things started to change. The taste for retro reissues was a factor in reducing case sizes. Dials in colours other than black, white, or blue may have contributed, with the likes of Nomos using its Club Campus and Tetra collections to expand watch lovers’ palettes.

But probably the most seismic shift was Oris’s Diver 65 Cotton Candy collection. Launched in 2021, these were 38mm bronze-cased diving watches with dials in a trio of tasty pastels, including an eye-catching Lipstick pink. Suddenly you had serious watch blogs debating whether men could wear a pink watch, with most answering, “yes”. 

This shift opens up some interesting possibilities. Shared watch wardrobes, pooled resources for new purchases. But are women going to be happy sharing that space with men?

I have two watches my husband regularly borrows – my Bremont Solo and my S.U.F Helsinki 180C with a fire-engine red dial – but I’m not sure how I’d feel if he took my Oris Cotton Candy off me. Maybe it’s a case of pooling some of our collection but keeping others to ourselves. Try as I might, I can’t wear his Tissot Heritage 1973 chronograph as it is just too big and there’s no way he’s going to wear my Zenith with diamonds around the dial. At least I don’t think he will. Given the new watch-world order, there’s no guarantee.