It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by her hands, but you can tell even more about her by her watch. Ask any successful woman and she'll say that in our fast world, time has become the ultimate luxury. We'd like to argue, though, that the timepiece takes that title. In an age in which clocks are everywhere—on our phones, our tablets—the wristwatch feels like an even more serious indulgence, a trend-transcending symbol of status and style that says as much about us as an engagement diamond.
One watch that has us lining up to commit is the classic stainless steel timepiece—it's the rare catch that's rich yet still grounded. Not to mention that it's a master of versatility: Styles like TAG Heuer's Carrera can skew both casual (with a T-shirt and jeans) or boss-of-the-boardroom (with a tailored Victoria Beckham dress). Amber Heard (near right) has pledged allegiance to a large version of the coveted Cartier Ballon Bleu, while the Duchess of Cambridge's (far right) is smaller and more conservative.
Meanwhile, if you want to project retro glamour and grace, there's no easier way than with a gold bracelet watch like Bulgari's serpentine Catene orChanel's rectangular-faced Première. Verdura's Curb-Link rendition, based on a bracelet designed in the 1930s for Greta Garbo, has attracted a pan-professional following of boldfaced names—from designer Carolina Herrera (far left) to artist Cindy Sherman (near left). It can be tastefully beautiful with a white blouse or an evening gown, or exquisitely on trend with a blazer and wide-legged pants.
On the more casual end of the spectrum, fashion's love affair with leather wrap-band watches is no secret: Gwyneth Paltrow and Princess Beatrice both wear Hermès's popular Cape Cod style. It's one for when you want to feel relaxed and cool, perhaps channeling your inner Inès de la Fressange, the quintessentially French model and designer who wrote the book on Parisian chic (literally: She wrote one called Parisian Chic: A Style Guide). De la Fressange (near right) is a fan of a neutral-leather Cape Cod. While fishnet-and-grill-enthusiast Madonna (far right) is by no means the poster girl for subtlety, she has also been seen sporting the style, albeit with her less conspicuous, all-black-everything airport outfits.
Then there's the oversize borrowed-from-your-boyfriend chronograph, which is probably the sultriest of its species—both because of and despite the fact that it's technically a man's watch. A large Rolex Daytona or an Audemars Piguet Royal Oakon a woman's wrist is the accessory equivalent of the men's button-down worn after an impromptu sleepover—it exudes both power and dangerously attractive nonchalance. The Daytona is the preferred style of fashion über women like Victoria Beckham (far left) and Sofia Vergara (near left). (We like to think that VB swiped hers off footballer husband David's bedside table.) If you want to push the look to its limit, try wearing it with one of this season's structured menswear-inspired shirts—and leave a few buttons strategically undone. So what does your watch say about you? It could read "approachable" or "not to be messed with," casual or high society. In the end, though, the message is a lot like that of the we're-not-so-different-after-all '80s movie The Breakfast Club: There's a little of each persona in all of us. And that's a good thing. With a watch for every whim, why not wear your heart on your wrist?