In Rihanna's chart-topping video Take a Bow , the stunning Barbadian, wearing minimal makeup and a simple black tank, is merely part of the backdrop.
The real star - wrapped around the singer's caramel wrist - commands attention from the first frame. An 18K-gold Piaget Polo watch with a 38-mm case, it's nearly double the size of most traditional women's watches.
It's fitting that Rihanna sports this aggressively masculine timepiece while she sings from the perspective of a spurned lover ready to move on. The men's luxury watch has become the definitive accessory for asserting wealth and independence. Piaget now classifies its timepieces by size rather than gender to reflect how blurred the line between men's and women's styles has become. The Rolex Daytona has been spotted weighing down Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's tiny wrists, Sienna Miller has opted for the gold Rolex Oyster Day Date model and Fergie has been seen wearing Cartier's chunky 42-mm Ballon Bleu.
"A lot of women are doing it because men's watches have traditionally represented taste, class and luxury," says stylist Kelly Millar of KM Image Consulting.
Catherine Town, director of Toronto's Cartier boutique, has noticed the trend. When women shop for themselves, she says, they often bypass the slender, traditionally feminine styles for the more hulking timepieces.
"They'll put on the small one and say, 'Oh no, that's too small.' It's basically like, 'Get it off!'" Town says with a laugh. "They're looking for a statement."
With a starting price of $5,000, those Cartier dreams may not be attainable for all, but that doesn't mean the less affluent must forgo the trend. Millar points to the pieces in ToyWatch's popular line, which offer the large, masculine features as the luxury brands but start at about $200 (thanks to their plastic cases with faux-metal finishes).
Whether you go haute or pick a cheaper style, dress with your new bling in mind. Pairing a hefty hunk of wrist metal with other men's-wear-inspired looks could look costumey, says stylist Angie Miller, director of The Little Black Dress image consultants. She suggests combining it with feminine pieces to balance the watch's hard edge.