Today, many people still fall under the antiquated assumption that diamonds are reserved for women. Interestingly enough, much like WWI helped to transform the wristwatch from a women’s jewelry item into a masculine tool, WWII did something similar for diamond watches in the States. The period following the Second World War brought about rapid development and growth in the U.S. As men returned home, they began to relish in the freedoms they fought so hard to uphold. Soon, there was a surge in the sale of diamond-set watches. These served as a mark of the American man’s achievements in war and business and of a promising and prosperous future for our country. In a way, the diamond watch became a symbol of the American Dream.
So why has this sentiment diminished today? Unsurprisingly, it goes back to the Quartz Crisis. One of the smaller impacts of the quartz craze was on the perception, prevalence, and production of diamond watches. Quartz watches didn’t just present a seemingly superior movement. They introduced significantly less expensive watches. In response, mechanical watchmakers cut down wherever possible to lower costs. Something superfluous and aesthetic-only, like diamonds, was one of the first things to go. When the industry finally rebounded after the Quartz Crisis, diamond watches seemed to have lost their place. They were once again relegated to models that are more feminine.
It goes without saying that this seems like – or in fact is – a step backward. Today, even the designation of men’s and women’s watches is becoming quickly outdated. We prefer to bask in the glory of the good old days when a diamond watch represented the American ideals of hope, freedom, prosperity, and a bright future ahead (pun intended). So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite diamond watches for men and women alike.
No watch is quite as bold and masculine as the Rolex Submariner. For nearly 70 years, this model has practically set the industry standard for dive and tool watches. Yet, its particular presence is never quite matched. There’s truly no other watch like the Submariner. Yes, you may think of this model for its functionality, and you wouldn’t be wrong. It boasts features water resistance, a rotating bezel, a legible dial treated with lume, and a 48-hour power reserve. However, the beauty of a two-tone Submariner with diamond hour markers is that it’s equally stylish.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Moonphase
The Calatrava has been a staple for both men and women looking to add a Patek Philippe to their collection. Early models were simple with minimalist design and time-only functionality. However, over the years, Patek Philippe has elevated the line with a wider array of options. An excellent example is the Calatrava Moonphase. This variation perfectly combines form and function with diamond hour markers and an elegant moonphase complication.
Audemars Piguet Millenary
The Millenary is an incredibly unique family of watches from the Audemars Piguet brand. The original inspiration for the design of the collection came from the Coliseum in Rome. It gives the models their overtly neo-classical aesthetic and distinctive elliptical shape. This creates the illusion of three-dimensional depth like the famous architecture. In this ladies’ example from the collection, the brand incorporates the added bonus of a diamond set bezel. It provides the perfect frame for this model’s unique black “Flinque” patterned dial. In addition is showcases a distinct combination of both Arabic and Roman numeral hour markers.
OMEGA De Ville Tresor
In contrast to OMEGA’s traditional sport and tool watch offerings, the De Ville Tressor is a luxurious dress watch. The Tresor variation of the brand’s De Ville collection offers a more contemporary design with oversized proportions and sleek lines. This particular variation features a mother of pearl dial with simple stick hour markers. A diamond set bezel surrounds the otherwise minimalist dial for just the right touch of flair.
Hublot Big Bang Broderie Black Diamond Limited Edition
Hublot’s Big Bang is arguably one of the most daring watch designs ever created. It’s instantly recognizable for one of a kind rubber strap and its bold size and shape. The Big Bang is both a statement and conversation piece. Over the years, Hublot has continually pushed the boundaries of its design, upping the ante on its wow factor. A perfect example is the Big Bang Broderie Black Diamond Limited Edition. First, the iconic rubber strap gets an upgrade with silk embroidery. However, the case is what really makes this model a showstopper. It’s set with an impressive 198 black diamonds.
Zenith Elite Ultra-Thin Moonphase
In 2016, Zenith built upon their popular ladies’ Elite collection with the addition of a moonphase complication. The brand has carefully selected each and every detail of this watch to create a strikingly feminine aesthetic. The mother of pearl dial, diamond hour markers and bezel, and the moonphase at the six-o’clock position seamlessly work together. The result is just the right balance of classicism and modernity.