It’s that time of year again when every man’s love for his special lady is belittled and questioned by non-stop advertising and his ever nosy peers, and the only path to redemption is to do something (read: “buy stuff”) to prove his devotion to his partner. If this sounds like what happened to you last year, I’m here to remind you that February 14 is only two weeks away. Are you ready?

While my fiancé doesn’t share my same passion for watches, she does wear one every day and feels completely lost without one on her wrist. Watches are my favorite gift to give, but she’s not yet ready for a new watch in her collection and we’re both saving up for an intimate wedding (even small ones in NYC cost enough to handicap anyone’s watch fund), so this coming Valentine’s Day, I won’t be picking out a watch for her as much as I would enjoy it. Instead, I’ll be sharing my top 3 affordable women’s watches that I would consider purchasing.

Let me preface this list. Horology is a male-dominated hobby. This should come as no surprise since marketing dollars and press effort are spent disproportionately on gentleman’s timepieces over women’s. I like to generalize that when it comes to women who wear watches, they come in two flavors. First, and most rare, you have those who appreciates the provenance and craftsmanship involved in watchmaking, some to the extent they can visually identify manufacture movements, and because of this appreciation they tend to wear men’s watches. This isn’t to say there aren’t well-made and interesting women’s pieces; there are. It’s just that there are far more men’s watches that earn their ranks in horological circles and not all of them have a female companion piece. The second type of woman is who this list is for. She wants something feminine, elegant and understated, not something bold with a skeleton dial that speaks to her fascination with tourbillons. The watch needs to work for her, so while she’ll appreciate the beauty of a mechanical watch she’d thank you for a low maintenance quartz option that she can strap on last thing before heading out the door to work. Her watch exhibits legibility to serve its primary purpose and acts as a classy fashion accessory and, perhaps through its brand and/or aesthetic quality, a subtle symbol of status.

Without further adieu, here are 3 accessible recommendations on women’s watches for Valentine’s Day:

Christopher Ward Victoria Deco S30-ROM-SWK – $240

Christopher Ward Victoria Deco

Christopher Ward Victoria Deco

Christopher Ward is a brand that repeatedly delivers on classy and affordable watches. They’re a cult favorite among men, but the Victoria Deco is one of the most stunning ladies watches I’ve seen at its price point. Big Ben inspired the luxurious craquelure pattern in the center of the clean and classic dial, and the electric blue hands promote a beautiful and sophisticated legibility. Roman numerals are always a classy option, and it’s a perfect watch for work or a night out, but the italian leather strap keeps the piece versatile enough to be an everyday watch. The stainless steel case is femininely sized at 22mm, hand-polished, and features an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Inside is a quartz movement by Ronda, one of the finest and most reliable quartz movements out there. If she pays attention to details, she’ll love this one and she (and her friends) will swear you paid more than $240 for it. christopherward-usa.com

Tissot LeLocle Silver T41118334 – $650

Tissot LeLocle

Tissot LeLocle

The men’s LeLocle is heralded as a classic affordable dress watch, and the women’s version is a worthy companion piece. Of the watches that made the list, this is my only mechanical recommendation. If you think she rides the fence between the two types of female watch lovers I mentioned above, or she might like to experience her fist automatic, then this is a perfect option. Inside the 25mm stainless steel case beats an automatic ETA 2671 with a date complication. Arabic numerals make this a practical choice while the guilloche pattern on the dial elevates the otherwise sporty aesthetic above a simple casual watch. A sapphire crystal protects the dial, and the watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet with a butterfly deployment clasp. Unfortunately, this version of the LeLocle doesn’t feature a see-through case back like the men’s version. us.tissotshop.com

Frédérique Constant Art Deco FC-200MPW2V6 – $995

Frédérique Constant Art Deco

Frédérique Constant Art Deco

Frédérique Constant instantly came to mind when I started putting this list together. The brand makes unique but classically styled watches for the accessible luxury segment, and the Art Deco rightfully earned a spot in this list. The name accurately summarizes the piece’s aesthetic. Dramatic Roman numerals are neatly arranged on the mother-of-pearl dial, surrounding a guilloche center and covered by an anti-reflective sapphire lens. The oval stainless steel case is feminine, measuring 25mm x 30mm x 7mm, and the outside of the bezel is textured with a coin-edge pattern that pairs exquisitely with the beautiful onion-shaped crown. Inside the watch is a 7-jewel quartz movement, so this watch is not only an eye-catching choice for dress and special occasions, but also an easy one. One of the characteristics of the watch that pulled me in was the way the strap connected to the case and the fact that the strap was black satin with a leather lining. It doesn’t get much classier than that. The complete package is unquestionably breathtaking and an utter steal at its price point. frederique-constant.com

What’s On Your List?

Planning on surprising your significant other with a watch this Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments what pieces you’re eyeing this year.