Guys love their rough-and-tumble tool watches and patina, but also their fancy, shiny timepieces. Masculine bling in the form of polished steel or gold is perfectly normal, it seems, so why are stones like diamonds overwhelmingly restricted to women's watches? Can a mineral be inherently feminine? We're simply talking about a type of rock, and this is the 2020s — gender norms beg to be questioned and transcended.
So, you've got to ask yourself: how do you feel about diamond watches for men?
The very idea of a distinction between men's and women's watches is more and more outmoded. Usually defined by size, brands are increasingly selling watches labeled "unisex" (not that it's particularly helpful), but segmenting collections by gender is still typical. Many female horology fans wear watches designed for men and feel frustrated that so many products presumably made for them feature stereotypical motifs like flowers, butterflies, pink, purple and, yes, diamonds. Diamond watches for men, however, remain rare, so why shouldn't the norm-busting go in the other direction as well?
It turns out that these attitudes are more relevant in certain countries than in others, and that diamond watches for men are relatively popular in significant parts of the world (though there are also plenty sold in places like the United States, as well). We see celebrities wearing crazy "iced-out" full-pavé watches and the like, but for more regular folks there's no reason that an interesting material should be off the table as an option as long as it's tastefully integrated.
Why might you want diamonds on your watch? Diamonds do a couple things: they sparkle like crazy and they communicate value (you knew that). But they can also add interest to a watch in a few ways. First of all, they're just objectively cool objects to look at up close and represent natural phenomena that any science buff should appreciate — being the hardest natural material known, formed under crazy conditions over millions of years, miles within the earth. The rarity and remarkable level of purity of gem-quality diamonds also makes them fascinating as well as gives them inherent value.
In addition to these physical properties, diamond selection, cutting and setting represent exactly the kind of skill and craftsmanship that watch enthusiasts tend to appreciate in other forms. This means that there's more value and cost associated with a diamond watch than just that of the diamonds themselves, but also be aware that precious materials in general serve as an excuse for brands to mark up prices even further. If you're interested in a watch with diamonds, here are a few things to consider, and a few options:
Carats: In diamonds, carats (also karats and abbreviated c, k, ct or kt) refers to the mineral's weight, one carat being equal to 0.2 grams. Note that this is different than in precious metals like gold where the term denotes purity.
Natural vs. synthetic: Man-made diamonds are physically and chemically equivalent to natural ones, but they're grown in a lab and are more common and affordable. Avoid any uncertainty regarding diamonds' authenticity or origin by buying directly from brands or authorized dealers.
Ethical sourcing: There are national and international processes for addressing environmental and ethical sourcing of diamonds. Brands and authorized dealers should include language in their materials related to sourcing and be able to provide it on request.
You probably didn't expect to see something like this here. Within Casio's Vintage collection of classic digital watches are a few special editions that are made in Japan and feature two small, natural diamonds as accents above and below the screen. Casio also distinguishes these models with a crystal that's different from the typical flat type and features facets as if to echo those of the diamonds.
With Citizen's light-powered Eco-Drive line you can get a solid and practical watch featuring eight diamonds on its dial — and without the luxury prices associated with automatic movements that otherwise make watches like this expensive. Diamonds add a hint of pizazz to this handsome, everyday watch make it feel a little more special.
Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive quartz
The tasteful diamond hour markers on this subtle Rado watch don't feel at all overly fussy or fancy — though they add about $500 to the price of a similar model without diamonds. The watch is further interesting as it offers a case and bracelet combining elements of ceramic and the brand's own Ceramos material in a rose gold color. There are other versions available as well, including one in 35mm.
Movement: ETA C07.111 automatic
This is probably more like what you expected to see here. Rolex has an in-house gemology department and like everything else the brand does, its gem selection and setting is some of the best in all of watches. Any Rolex watch is a kind of a flex anyway, but something like this Datejust in steel and white gold with nicely sized diamonds on the dial is another level. (The same configuration is available in 36mm.)
Movement: Rolex 3235 automatic
Omega's DeVille Tresor collection houses some of the most elegant dress watches available. Rather than on the dial (as in the above examples), Omega places diamonds all around the bezel — many bunches of them. Though housed in a stainless steel case, this is an exceedingly handsome example of a traditional mens watch style accented with diamonds in a natural-feeling way.
Movement: Omega 8910 manual
Just about every iteration of Zenith's Chronomaster series of reissue watches has been a winner, but how about with a little extra sparkle? This version is nearly identical to the existing Chronomaster Original models, but adds diamonds for the hour markers and covering the tops of the lugs. They certainly don't detract from everything that makes this watch iconic, from its overlapping subdials to its famous 5Hz movement.
Movement: Zenith El Primero automatic