Did you glance at the top right of your lap top screen, the corner of your smart phone, or did you elegantly swish your wrist towards you at that question?
Full marks to the wrist-swishers, because wearing a watch is one of the sure signs that you are a gentlewoman; a woman of substance who cares about her relationships with others and is kind to herself.
But how, and why, can we read so much into the character of the horologically-inclined? Well, I would argue that it proves you care about being on time (unless you are one of these people who collect watches for investment and rarely give them an outing).
Punctuality isn’t exactly sexy, but it matters and is something that sets a gentlewoman apart from the flaky masses. It’s one thing when you’re 15 and your best friend is two hours tardy for your shopping date, quite another when you’re 35 and your bff leaves you waiting at a no-reservations restaurant where you’ve been diligently queuing for an hour to nab a spot, only to miss out when it’s eventually your turn because you can’t be seated until all diners are present. And she’s “just finishing something off at work – sorry!!!”
In fact, I’d go so far as to say being late is a sign of selfishness. If you cared, really cared, you would have allowed more time. Controversial? Maybe. There are occasions of course when lateness is out of your control and impossible to avoid, but wearing a watch is a commitment to at least trying your very best to be in the allotted place at the agreed time.
Being a watch-wearer also marks you out as a woman in control of her own life. The very act of strapping on a stylish timepiece after getting dressed each morning, is like that final spritz of fragrance; it says, “I like myself enough to go to this extra effort.” It’s a ritual, part of putting yourself together and authentically owning the self you present to the world.
And if you really want to wear your heart beneath your sleeve, then you’ll choose a good old-fashioned analogue watch with ticking hands not twitching digits. Because a ‘smart watch’ that tracks your calories and sleeping hours is extra in all the wrong ways. Having to quantify your every move makes life more stressful than it needs to be, and really what do all these numbers you’ve achieved mean? I would say they mean you’re concentrating more on trying to beat a PB than just be. And that’s not always healthy.
So now is the time to invest in a watch you can’t wait to wear. Doing so is a sign you are ready to be taken seriously as a gentlewoman – a reliable person engaged in the people and experiences that comprise your world. If in doubt channel Ja Rule and Ashanti: “I’m not always there when you call, but I’m always on time.”
Natalie Hartley, fashion director
Going vintage for watches can be daunting but, if you trust your outlet, such as Xupes, a pre-owned and vintage luxury retailer of watches, jewellery, handbags and art, then it can deliver gems such as this Omega. While the Constellation collection today is more refined, this has a real retro swagger.
Phoebe McDowell, Beauty Editor
Patek Philippe usually leans towards the more traditional designs, which is why this Ellipse is so unique. The unusual case shape is either based on the Golden Ratio, a divine proportion that equates to 1/1.6181 and seen in everything from maths to nature, or on the shape of a US highway junction seen from a plane. Either way, it’s like nothing else.
Sujin MacKeller, global brand director
The Boy.Friend is so quintessentially Chanel. All the Maison’s codes are there. The tension between masculine and feminine; the Place-Vendome inspired case shape; the high-low mix of proprietary beige gold with “everyday wearer” insouciance. It is almost as if Mlle herself created it.
Sophie BERESINER, BEAUTY DIRECTOR
If you’re buying into the legend that is Cartier, it has to be a Tank. It may have slightly dubious origins – its case shape is based on a WWI war machine – but this version worn by Louis Cartier himself and with a seductively slinky rose-gold bracelet is pure sophistication.
Naomi Barling, Fashion editor
Just because you’re buying a forever watch, doesn’t mean it should suit your personality. Green is starting to edge out blue as the watch dial colour of choice and when combined with Rolex’s gorgeously luminous yellow gold, it makes for a very nonconformist take on an archetypal design.
Laura McCreddie-Doak, watch editor-at-large
Investment doesn’t always mean opting for the obvious. There are newer brands, such as Richard Mille, who are coming up in the ranks as savvy buys. This RM Marshmallow might not be to everyone’s taste but if you think of it as the horological equivalent of Kathrine Baumann’s Campbell Soup or Coca Cola bottle crystal handbags that now fetch fortunes at Christie’s, it doesn’t seem like such a frivolous purchase.
Heather Gwyther, acting social media manager
Dior has been shaking up the watch world with its couture-inspired creations since the first Grand Bal collection in 2011. Every timepiece features a dial-side rotor designed to mimic the swish of Christian Dior’s famed ball gowns and is adorned with everything from shimmering net to peacock feathers. It proves mechanics don’t always have to be masculine.
Lotte Jeffs is the author of How To Be A Gentlewoman