Despite the time being readily available wherever you look – on your phone, on your computer, on your wall clock – most of us feel naked and incomplete without a watch on our wrist.

Whether you have one watch that you wear faithfully every day, or have a few timepieces that you change according to your mood and outfit, we find wearing a watch is an essential part of getting dressed in the morning.

We went on the hunt to find the very best fashion watches for women, making sure to keep the prices down – everything on this list is under £300, and many are under £100 – and included watches from well known designers as well as up-and-coming brands.

We wore each item for hours to make sure it was comfortable, and not just attractive, and we made sure to include a variety of styles and materials to suit all budgets and tastes.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Newgate The Corgi Red Silicone Retro Watch: £135, Newgate

For a statement watch that’s simultaneously eye-catching and low maintenance, we love British brand Newgate’s The Corgi silicone retro watch. The vintage-inspired timepiece harks back to a different time with its retro dial, but is brought very much into the 21st century thanks to its super comfortable silicone strap. The watch is water resistant up to 50 metres and is also unisex: our tester noticed her husband eyeing it up on her very first wear.

It’s available in four colours: blue, cream and black, but our favourite was the red for a standout look that’s great whether you’re at the office or on the beach.

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Lilienthal Berlin The L1 ‘All Black’ Mesh Edition: £209, Lilienthal Berlin

Huge watches are all the rage at the moment, and when they look this good, it’s easy to see why. Berlin-based brand Lilienthal Berlin’s L1 “All Black” mesh edition is pleasingly large on the wrist for a real statement look, although there’s a smaller size to choose if you prefer a smaller watch. The achingly hip watch is full of cool features, from the glow in the dark hands and digits to the fact it’s waterproof to 50 metres.

It comes with a thick, flexible steel strap which is interchangeable, so if you feel like switching it up in the future with a leather or fabric one, the option is there. We loved the simple, sleek and oh-so-stylish black version but it’s available in blue and silver too. All the brand’s models are unisex, too, so don’t be surprised if your boyfriend asks to borrow it.

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Rotary Stainless Steel Oxford Diamonds Ladies Watch: £209, Rotary

You may think you need to spend at least four figures to buy a watch with real diamonds, but that’s not the case thanks to Swiss watch brand Rotary. The brand’s beautiful Oxford Diamonds ladies’ watch is an understated piece with a stainless steel bracelet and case, a pink dial and 12 diamonds to mark each hour. The quartz-powered watch comes with official diamond certification, too.

We loved the traditional style of this item, and the fact it’s functional as well as pretty: it’s water resistant to 50 metres and is comfortable and easy to wear.

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Nordgreen Infinity Rose Gold Black Leather 32mm: £138.67, Amazon

Considering the world’s current obsession with everything Scandinavian, it’s no surprise this extends to our wrists, too. New Danish brand Nordgreen exemplifies the minimalist but cool Scandinavian look we’ve all come to love. The Infinity watch in particular caught our eye: available in two sizes, 32mm and 40mm, the design can be adapted to suit your style thanks to the variety of interchangeable straps, whether that’s nylon, mesh or leather, and the choice of either a silver or rose gold coloured case.

We also loved the brand’s Giving Back Programme: after buying it, you can decide between three different charities for the company to make a donation to at no extra cost.

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Estella Bartlett Faux Leather Watch: £39, Estella Bartlett

If you love a leather look but prefer cruelty-free materials, affordable British brand Estella Bartlett has the watch for you. The faux leather watch, a steal at under £40, might be a great bargain but it certainly doesn’t look cheap. The bright coral strap is made from vegan-friendly alternative leather, while the large gold-tone case and white clock face add to the timepiece’s stylish but simple appearance. We found it really comfortable to wear and loved the vibrant tone and ethical nature of the strap.

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Coach Delancey Watch: £195, Hourtime​

American brand Coach can always be trusted to produce luxurious accessories, and the Delancey watch was one of our favourite items to test. Simple yet eye-catching, it features a mesh bracelet, a gold tone case and the Coach logo on the dial. We particularly liked the oversized hour markers, which added a fun, contemporary look, and the tongue buckle closure – unusual for a mesh watch – ensured we didn’t have to do any fiddly work trying to make the strap match our wrist size. It’s our top choice for an affordable, gorgeous designer pick.

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Cath Kidston Ladies Paintbox Flowers Watch: £57.85, Watches 2U

We’ve long been fans of Cath Kidston’s fun, nostalgic aesthetic, and the British brand’s vintage-inspired, colourful and affordable watches are no exception. The Paintbox Flowers ladies’ watch manages to be simultaneously standout and simple, with the smart navy leather strap and gold tone case the perfect backdrop for the dial’s vibrant floral print. We also liked the 36mm size, ideal for those who want something feminine and fun without swamping their wrist.

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The Camden Watch Company No.253 Memento Mori Black Strap: £175, The Camden Watch Company

London-based brand The Camden Watch Company creates designs inspired by the city, and the No 253 Memento Mori Black Strap is ideal for those who are fascinated by the ghoulish. Designed as a tribute to Victorian advancements in engineering, the watch’s name translates to “remember you must die”. It certainly sounds spooky, but the brand clarifies that it’s not all doom and gloom, but is meant to inspire, as “to remember you must die is to remember you must live”.

The all-black product is seriously stylish: the 41mm case size looks fashionably large on any wrist, the leather strap is timeless and there’s an intricate skull design on the dial in keeping with the theme. It’s also water resistant to 50 metres.

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Jigsaw Myddleton 35mm Leather Watch: £90, Jigsaw

Fashion brand Jigsaw has just launched its first watch collection with two different designs to pick from. Our top choice was the Myddleton 35mm leather watch, which, with its pared-back design and comfortable fit, ticked plenty of important timepiece boxes. It’s available in four colours – black, taupe, khaki and pink – with a variety of case and dial tones. We particularly liked the low-key khaki for a versatile, everyday watch that slotted easily into our wardrobe and was a piece of cake to match with any outfit and jewellery.

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Accurist Signature Women’s Classic Watch: £89.99, Accurist​

British watch brand Accurist is known for producing great quality, affordable watches, and this Signature women’s classic watch is a perfect example. The easy-to-wear watch is 29.8mm, ideal for those who prefer a smaller style, and features a stainless steel strap and a dark blue, intricately patterned dial with a date display. We were particularly impressed by its value for money considering its features: for example, it’s water resistant up to 100 metres and comes with a two-year guarantee. It also comes in a lovely presentation box, which is perfect for gifting.

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Versus Versace Victoria Harbour Gold: £230, Harvey Nichols

If you’re partial to a bit of bling, you’ll love Versus Versace’s Victoria Harbour watch. Attractive both as a watch and as a bracelet, it is full of dazzling details, from the 3D lion heads dotted around the bracelet to the Swarovski crystals around the face. Made of gold-coloured stainless steel with an intricate white dial and crystal hour markers, this is the watch to pick if you want to make a bold, unashamedly glamorous statement.

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Olivia Burton Lace Detail Silver Mesh Ladies Watch: £95, Beaverbrooks​

Beloved of Instagrammers everywhere, London-based brand Olivia Burton is well known for its fun, vintage-inspired, contemporary designs at seriously affordable prices. We loved the understated look of the lace detail silver mesh watch, which makes a pretty yet discreet everyday timepiece. The silver-plated mesh bracelet strap is simple and elegant, while the raised lace design and silver hour markers on the 30mm white dial brings the perfect amount of detail to the otherwise subtle look.

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Verdict: Women’s fashion watches

For something fun, aesthetically pleasing, affordable and low maintenance, we loved Newgate’s The Corgi red silicone retro watch. If you have a bigger budget and are looking for something beautiful and traditional, Rotary’s stainless steel Oxford Diamonds ladies’ watch, complete with real diamonds, is a timeless piece.

And for something super-cool and contemporary, we loved the size and sleekness of Lilienthal Berlin’s The L1 ‘All Black’ mesh edition.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.