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Which women’s dress watch is best?

If you love getting dressed up, then you know that style is everything, especially at formal events. Women’s dress watches are the perfect finishing touch to a gown or dress suit.

Their embellished bands and statement-making faces can function as your sole accessory or complement other jewelry you’re wearing. From crystals to diamonds to rose-gold finishes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to women’s dress watches.

To learn more, keep reading our definitive buying guide. Our favorite watch is the Michael Kors Women’s Portia Watch, which boasts a stunning rose-gold finish that’s sure to turn heads at your next event.

Considerations when choosing women’s dress watches


There’s nothing ordinary about a dress watch, so it’s no surprise that it’s usually embellished to some degree. Simple embellishments could be diamond or rhinestone accents. Bold embellishments come in the form of pavé or diamond-encrusted bands and faces. Embellishments also include other gemstones like sapphires, rubies or emeralds, however, these come with hefty price tags.

Ornate bands

Dress watches tend to feature ornate bands that make them stand out from regular everyday watches. They often have shiny or embellished finishes or sometimes resemble bracelets more than watch bands. Some bands are thin to let the watch face be the star of the show, whereas others are larger and aim to steal the spotlight. 

Unique faces

The face sets the tone of the watch, and it leads the look. Faces can feature a minimalist refreshed look to direct attention on the watchband or become the crown jewel with an embellished face. Other unique watch faces have multiple dials, prints, or even floating rhinestones.


Nothing is classier than understated elegance. If you’re not into bold and brash styles, you’ll appreciate watches with singular stylish elements, such as gemstone halo or a watch band with unique links. Balance is the key here because the classic dress watch lets your gown and other accessories be the stars of the show.


Not sure which material is best for a women’s dress watch? As much as it depends on your outfit and how formal the occasion is, your personal style also plays a role in it. It’s important to consider how you intend to coordinate the dress watch with your overall look.


Stainless steel is classic material with stand-alone pizzazz. It’s a staple material of many dress watches and can be finished with silver, gold, or other colors. Base metal is an inexpensive alternative and can support the same finishes as well. As far as choosing metal for a dress watch, you’ll be embracing a classy polished look that is on par with dress jewelry.


Nothing beats a real gold watch, but it hits your wallet — hard — to the tune of thousands of dollars. A wallet-friendly option is to embrace gold finishes on other metals. It’s still a classy dressed-up watch but for a fraction of the price.


Leather presents a bold unconventional look when paired with an embellished watch face. Dyed leather bands are especially popular because they provide a modern edge to an old faithful style.

Rubber and silicone

These modern edgy newcomers are being embraced as of late. While they could come across as cheap, when properly incorporated into a fashion-forward watch with embellishments, they’re just as elegant as any other material.

Women’s dress watch price

Inexpensive dress watches cost less than $50 but be prepared for modest quality and curb appeal at best. Mid-range dress watches cost as much as $300. In this price range, you’ll get high quality and unique embellishments from name brands. Big-ticket dress watches could run into the thousands because they’re made with real gemstones and diamonds.

Women’s dress watch FAQ

Q. I love a watch, but it’s too big for my wrist. What do I do?

A. First, check whether your watch can be adjusted by removing links. If so, take it to a reputable jeweler for an adjustment. If the band doesn’t have links, you may need to replace it altogether for a new one, but you could lose the watch’s staple look.

Q. I definitely want a dress watch, but I’m not feeling the bling from rhinestones or diamonds. What are my options?

A. You could opt for a shiny finish or ornate bracelet-style band instead. These styles offer understated elegance while still being classy enough to be a dress watch.

Women’s dress watches we recommend

Best of the best

Michael Kors Women's Portia Three-Hand Stainless Steel Watch

Michael Kors Women’s Portia Watch

Our take: Ornate rose gold watch with a statement-making face. Comfortable mesh band.

What we like: Available in 8 colors and metal combos. The thin profile makes it elegant and dainty.

What we dislike: Can handle brief immersion in water, but isn’t water-resistant beyond 50 meters.

Where to buy: Sold  by Amazon

Best overall

Michael Kors Women's Quartz Watch

Michael Kors Women’s Quartz Watch

Our take: Crystal-glass band sets it apart from traditional dress watches in a fashion-forward way, especially in rose gold.

What we like: Easy-to-read face. The clasp is easy to open and close. Excellent warranty for parts and quality issues.

What we dislike: It may not last as long as other dress watches given the quality.

Where to buy: Sold  by Amazon

Worth checking out

Michael Kors’ Camile Crystal Pavé Dial Encrusted Ladies Watch

Michael Kors’ Camile Crystal Pavé Dial Encrusted Ladies Watch

Our take: Totally glamorous with enough bling from the pavé to be the focal point of accessories in an outfit.

What we like: Stainless steel band. High-quality scratch-resistant face.

What we dislike: With pavé design, watch face can be challenging to read.

Where to buy: Sold  by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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