The colour of Barbie and My Little Pony is back, but this time it’s been given a more grown-up spin

Laura McCreddie-Doak
Follow Laura
"Millenial pink" is making its mark on women's watches (Source: The visible spectrum)

Tumblr pink, Scandi pink or millennial pink – call it what you will but that particular shade, somewhere in between grapefruit, salmon and apricot, has been ubiquitous this past couple of years.

Film fans will know it as the top-tier hue of Wes Anderson’s gloriously kitsch Grand Budapest Hotel, while those frequenters of London’s restaurant scene will have seen it in all its fleshy glory in the David Shrigley-designed Gallery at sketch on Conduit Street. And now, it has finally splashed itself all over the watch world.

There was a time when all women’s watches were “shrink and pinks” (designs that were basically men’s watches made smaller and rendered in shades that wouldn’t look out of place in Malibu Barbie’s mansion). Then the boyfriend trend came along and any woman worth her Stan Smiths wanted a chunky bezel and strap in shades of grey, black and chocolate.

At that strange intersection between boyfriend and Barbie is Bell & Ross’s BRS Novarosa. Bell & Ross’s origins couldn’t be more masculine – set up by a team of designers of aerospace instruments, it made tools for (mostly) men who flew planes, went into space and dropped the occasional bomb. It was not a world of rose petals and glitter. Or it wasn’t until this year when it unveiled the Novarosa.

It looks like a classic BR S, with its bevelled-edge square case and circular dial, but rather than the usual jet black, this version was pink and, in two cases, studded with diamonds. On paper it sounds like the worst example of corporate brainstorming, but in the metal all the contradictions come together to create a watch that’s bold but not brash, feminine without being girly.

Another brand dabbling in the confluence of male and female design codes is Louis Vuitton, with its new smart watch. With the exception of Apple, the more technological side of the horological spectrum has been aimed at men.

In a refreshing change of tack, Vuitton’s new Tambour Horizon has ditched the whiff of testosterone bestowed by all those fitness-improving functions and focused most of its app power on travel, while the brand’s fashion credentials are underlined with the inclusion of a monogrammed strap in a shade that sits somewhere between a Strawberry Shortcake doll and a Parma Violet.

Less bold but no less desirable is Bulova’s latest women’s watch collection. Based on a 1917 design that fused modernism and Art Deco influences, the Rubiyat features a “double-circle” case construction and squared-off lugs, with crown at 12 o’clock.

There are more sedate versions but the absolute standout is the one with the fancy-pink sapphire double bezel and pastel strap because it manages to reinvent colours more commonly associated with Blackpool hen parties as something sophisticated.

It’s taken a while but it seems like, this year, pink has finally grown up. Which just begs the question, are you woman enough to wear it?

Related articles