I thought a few of you might appreciate my experiences trying to find a new watch for my girlfriend to surprise her for her birthday. Being a WIS we are often given the task (or volunteer!) to find watches suitable for other people.
This all started when my girlfriend decided she wanted another watch to go along with her Fossil. She liked the look of my Seiko SNK809, and occasionally borrows it. After showing her pictures of the variety of Seiko 5s available, she decided she liked the look of the SNK807 (blue face) and the reasonable price of $50. The WIS in me was delighted that I could interest her with the mechanical watch that was my entry into this addiction (and the fact that fellow addicts are more understanding of excessive watch purchases ). However, when I mentioned that the watch was mechanical, meaning she would have to reset it if she didn't wear it every other day, she balked. She is beautiful and incredibly intelligent, but she barely knows how to set the time on her Fossil and has zero interest in any of the complexity or mechanics of a watch besides how it looks. With that said I began the quest to find her a watch (her birthday was coming up).
The next watch I showed her was the Timex Weekender, which typically goes for around $35. She really liked the look of it and loved the idea of being able mix and match various NATO straps. Unfortunately, being convinced that silver looks bad on her, she generally only wears gold toned jewelry. So I set out looking for a gold toned Timex Weekender styled watch. After much searching, I found a model called the Timex Classic Round that checked all the boxes: white face, clean and legible dial, and gold tone. It seemed perfect.
Seemed perfect, except that it was 44mm! It would look ridiculous on my girlfriend's tiny sub 6 inch wrist. The search continues..
Eventually I stumbled across a fashion brand I had never heard of, Daniel Wellington: Citizen quartz movement, elegant design. A watch I could tell that she would love immediately, classy yet understated, versatile, and gold. At $175+, not much of a bargain, especially compared to Fossil's other offerings. Definitely was pushing the high end of my budget, not including the birthday brunch I had promised her . Luckily, I was able to find a seller on eBay selling a LNIB DW watch for a buy-it-now price of $130. Not too bad, now we are in line with the majority of Fossil offerings. I was able to talk the seller down a little bit, and pull the trigger on a watch I know my girlfriend will love for a price I was willing to pay for a fashion watch . I ended up with what was called the Daniel Wellington Classic Southampton Lady.
From what I found online, Daniel Wellington makes Men's and Women's quartz fashion watches, currently in three styles and three sizes. There is a plain faced indices style in 40mm and 36mm, a roman numeral design in 36mm, and a crystal indices style in 26mm. The various names of the models really only correspond to the watch band the watch comes with, all are essentially variations on the same three themes. It's almost like they think people who buy fashion watches don't know you can change a watch band . Some of the newer models are offered in silver, though the majority were in an attractive rose gold, precisely what I was looking for. I found the crystal indices and roman numeral styles to be tacky/not to taste, so I decided on the plain indices style. Now the only decision to go with was the size. Larger watches are in style for women at the moment, but I worried that the 40mm would end up looking clownish on my girlfriend's tiny wrists. I settled on the 36mm and I'm glad I did as it wears larger than it's size would otherwise indicate.
Since I wasn't able to find much information about this watch, or many pictures of it, I figured I'd share a little mini-review/impressions of the watch here in hopes that it might be of use to somebody thinking about these watches. I know how much time I spend scrolling through as many pictures and reviews as I can find of a watch before I purchase it, and I feel indebted to those who make that possible.
The Daniel Wellington "Southampton Lady" is the most attractive of the three dial styles offered by DW in my eyes, as well as the most versatile. It can easily be dressed up with a sober leather band, or dressed down with a brightly colored NATO strap. Below the watch is pictured with the navy, white and pink strap it came on.
As you can see the watch is quite thin at 6mm.
The caseback has screws holding it down, rather than screwing in itself, which probably contributes to its poor water resistance (3atm). The caseback is also a silver chrome color rather than the rose gold plating of the rest of the watch, but altogether I find it remains attractive.
Here is the 36mm DW in comparison with the 37mm SNK809. To my eyes the DW appears larger as a result of the tiny bezel and all dial design. Those concerned that the 36mm will be too small should think of this watch as wearing much more like a 38mm watch. Below are a few wrist shots on my 6.5-7 inch wrists. Ignoring the girly strap, I could almost imagine wearing this as a dress watch on a black leather band.
The strap that came with the watch was nice enough, but I knew my girlfriend would want to switch around the straps for variety. I ordered two 18mm NATO straps from Sofie at cheapestnatostraps . com: navy/green and navy/white, both with rose gold hardware. Straps were about $16 for the pair including free shipping with a coupon code. The straps I ordered from cheapestnatostraps are of identical quality to the one that came with the watch, if not slightly better. The rose gold plating is identical in color, the strap holes are laser cut. Nylon is good; it is not quite the thick heavy duty nylon with hand stitching as you would find on a premium NATO, but for $8 a piece they can't be beat, and surprisingly, I know my girlfriend doesn't care if her watch straps can withstand Navy seal combat abuse. The only difference between the NATOs is the one that came with the watch has a light DW laser engraving on the metal hardware, which might be noticeable in the second picture of the straps. If you want to change straps to achieve a different look, or the specific strap you want is unavailable, an identical strap in different colors or patterns can be cheaply had.
Overall, I am impressed with the quality and looks of the Daniel Wellington watch I bought, and I know my girlfriend will love it when I give it to her next week. Like any fashion watch, buy it because you like its looks (and hopefully not at MSRP if you can avoid it) and don't worry about the snobby comments of all us fellow WIS's who will try to steer you away. If it brings you enjoyment, enjoy it .