There has been a lot of crap discussion about the size of mens watches. It never seems to stop and one quote is even more silly than the other.

When we flash back to the nineteen twenties/thirties, all watches were small, men’s watches as well as ladies watches. But there still was a significant difference between them. The differences however were not the dimensions of the time piece, but the DNA of the watch, the lines and the details. But before I ramble on, don’t get me wrong; ladies of course get away with any watch they like!PashaIt was around 1997 when I saw for the first time, very well dressed Italian ladies in Milano wearing Rolex Submariners, it was a bit the talk of the town. Fashion magazines as Vogue and Marie Claire even mentioned the trend. It was also around this time that Panerai was acquired by Richemont and presented their first 44mm Luminor models. Really huge for that period since Cartier presented their first ‘large’ 38mm watch only in 1985, the Pasha!  Other brands started to launch larger models and it did not take long before I was wearing a large Santos 100 myself,  a love affair that lasted just two years.DayDateOne of the most famous watches, created for men is without any doubts the Rolex Day Date, worn for decades by famous men around the globe. This watch, and also the more affordable and very popular Oyster Date and Explorer, were created in smaller cases and until a few years ago, only available in 36mm  that size. But the fact that Rolex tried a larger version in 41mm, doesn’t mean that the 36mm automatically becomes a ladies model. The watch does not have any feminine details, it is still a mens watch. In the meantime Rolex stopped the production of the 41mm Day Date and went back to 40mm. That one millimeter made quite a difference, since the new Day Date has much better proportions than the 41mm.

Cartier’s Santos Dumont mens model is another example. Released in a 24x34mm and 36×27 case, this is a very small and elegant men’s watch. On a ladies wrist it does look fine, but it still has that unmistakable masculine DNA, while the Panthere, created as a Uni Sex timepiece in 1983, has much more a feminine approach, with it’s softer round lines.SantosDumontIt also works the other way, but when will we spot the really large ladies watches created by Graff, on a mens wrist. Probably never, since even from a distance these timepieces, despite their size, breath elegance, sex and femininity.

You may call me Caitlyn, because of my my ongoing promotion for smaller mens’s watches, but mark my words;  sooner or later, you will be back to decent sized watches, since after all, the larger watch didn’t made you more a man, nor did it give you a better style.

While I don’t see that the Watch Industry will go back to the dimensions of the past, I am pretty sure that, with the exception of Panerai and the really complicated watches, where the caliber demands a larger case,  we will see many more wearable models in 38 or 39mm and that the really large fashionable cases with small calibers,  are on their return.BallonBleuPiagetAnd in fact that trend has started already very quietly. Rolex launched more colourful mens models in 36mm and 39mm, Cartier released some of their tourbillon models in 39mm Ballon bleu cases and Piaget launched that amazing looking automatic Aliplano (pictured above) with gold bracelet in 38mm, to name just a few and this is probably just the beginning.


When Do We Finally Understand That Size Doesn’t Matter? — 4 Comments

  1. Bravo George! Very well said. I am with you on this. It is quite annoying to hear constant comments and endless debates relating to size-does-matter topic.

    Media dictates that larger watches is the current trend, so anything less than what ‘the current trend’ is simply uncool or ‘feminine’. I wear beautiful vintage timepieces that are 36mm or below. It doesn’t make me less of a man. In fact, by wearing smaller or ‘traditional gent’s sized watches’, it says that I am comfortable with myself.

    Pls don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with larger sized watches. I too have a Santos 100 (and others) which I casually wear. But with my smaller wrists, I find that ‘traditional’ men’s sized watches in my opinion looks much better and more suitable than wearing a larger sized watch. I wear a suit to work every day. A traditional gent’s sized vintage watch (range between 32-36mm) is more elegant than wearing any 40mm and up model. Not only is it easier to wear (it fits under the cuff and not cumbersome), it also looks more dignified and sophisticated.

    The watches I wear are all men’s size watches by the way, just not of this era. So I say to hell with it. Time will tell and as you said above, I too believe that there will be a resurgence of more wearable sizes in the future

    The revolution continues

  2. A 38mm Apple Watch is on my wrist as I write this, having just cycled off an lengthy evaluation of the 42mm version. One of my first thoughts was that the smaller version felt more classic, more timeless. And, of course, on-par with the Rolex Date specified by author Jeffery Deaver for his James Bond in 2011, and the Explorer chosen by Ian Fleming in 1962.

    It seems that history has been forgotten in some vocal quarters. The challenge has always been to deliver uncompromising performance in the smallest practical case-size.

    • I have not seen the Apple watch unfortunately, but I am with you, for me the 38mm would definitely be the one to go for too.

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