Watch Swap

The trend for stealing men’s watches shows no signs of abating. However, if you are going to pilfer from your other half, you do need to follow some rules, as Laura McCreddie, Editor of Eve’s Watch, explains to The Watch Gallery.

Blame Jemima Khan. Well, actually blame Hugh Grant. Not for being so smugly posh it makes you want to throw Big Macs at them, but for the fact that a man’s watch collection is no longer safe from his other half.

Back in 2008 Grant gifted his then girlfriend with a Panerai, a watch more readily associated with Sylvester Stallone than Sloane Rangers.

It wasn’t just Khan though, other twig-like of arm celebrities such as Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham were spotted out and about sporting timepieces with case diameters pushing the 40mm barrier.

Despite the generally cyclical nature of trends, this was one that refused to budge, a situation not helped by the fact that the Swiss watch industry was still persisting with the fallacy that all women wanted from a watch was something small, pink and covered in diamonds.

The world of men’s watches on the other hand offered choice. From ultra thin to oversized, day to evening, steel or precious metal, bracelet or leather strap – it was all available to dangle daintily from your delicate wrist.

Despite massive inroads being made into Swiss women’s watch design, the boyfriend trend shows no signs of dissipating.

As with every trend, however, there are rules when it comes to plundering your other half’s watch collection and there are certain pieces that suit a woman more than others.

A classic to steal is the Rolex Submariner. Dubbed by Rolex as the only diving watch that can also be worn with a suit, it was launched in 1953 and has become a design icon. With its 40mm case, it is a great “boyfriend starter” watch – perfect if you want to get into larger dials but not ready to strap on a Zenith Montre d’Aeronerf Type 20 (with a 57.5mm case you will never be ready to put this on).

The only word of caution here – do not wear it if the bracelet is too big. Nothing looks more gauche than a bracelet watch that’s half way down your hand. And that goes for either gender.

If you’re already comfortable with a larger watch, then take a leaf out of Ms Khan’s book and try a Panerai. While the Luminor, with its protected crown, might be a little too chunky for some – remember the rule of thumb: if the lugs overhang your wrist bones it’s too big for you – the Radiomir is only 42mm and can look rather sportily elegant on a delicate female wrist. The rose gold option also softens the looks of the watch and complements your skin tone.

You definitely can’t go wrong with watches that hark back to eras when every man seemed to look like George Clooney. IWC’s Portuguese collection was inspired by the classic men’s day watches of the 1930s and is an exercise in timeless elegance. The blue of the alligator strap picks up the blued numerals and hands beautifully – wear with a crisp, white shirt (preferably also borrowed from his wardrobe), jeans and a knowing smile.

Every man should, ideally have a pilot watch in his collection and this Bremont Solo is a great example of why these watches aren’t men only. It is quite substantial – clocking in at 43mm ­– but its design is so pared back you don’t really notice. Obviously we’re not suggesting you go the whole hog and wear with a flying suit, but this season’s military inspired styles would be a clever style choice.

There has, until recently, been a dearth of women’s watches offering serious complications. However, if your other half has this Longines Conquest Classic Moonphase in his wardrobe, you don’t need to worry. It has a 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 24-hour indicator and the sub-dial for second at nine o’clock. There is also the 30-minute counter and day/month display and, to top it all off, a moonphase.

Having pushers does make the case look a little wider on the wrist but team it with a chunky knit and you’ve got the ideal play of proportions.

Although there are more desirable women’s watches available, the fact that, on average, men have been buying watches for longer and will have amassed a larger collection, means that the male timepiece wardrobe is still not safe from smaller, more manicured hands.

And why should it be? The added bulk makes your wrists look smaller and it’s a great style statement. A final note of caution though – never wear a man’s watch if you’re in evening wear; it doesn’t look charmingly rebellious, it just looks silly. You have been warned.