With the popularity of large and oversized watches, it is getting more difficult for men to find watches that are the right size for their wrist and proportions. In this article, we’re going to focus on how men with smaller hands and wrists can find the perfect sized watch.
Buying a watch is similar to purchasing any item of clothing; if it doesn’t fit you, it will be out of proportion to the rest of your body. A too-large watch for your size will make you look smaller, or worse, childlike. Too small, and it looks just as unsightly.
Unfortunately, recent trends have caused watchmakers to produce larger and bolder timepieces, which isn’t ideal for smaller men. Nothing looks more awkward and out of place than a slight gentleman wearing an oversized watch. He can be wearing the most elegant and well-fitting bespoke suit, but that watch will end up being the focus of anyone who sees him.
First and foremost, a timepiece is a time-telling device. Second, a fashionable accessory. However, like most accessories, it should remain subtle, elegant and understated. For the same reason the elegant gentleman doesn’t wear large bling and chains, he also refrains from wearing oversized and gaudy watches that flash and shine more than he does. It is used to enhance your appearance, not alter it.
Do I Have a Small Wrist?
What defines a small wrist? That’s probably the better question. The fact is that it often has nothing to do with your overall stature. There are many tall men with small wrists and many short men with large wrists. It really comes down to actual size. A small wrist as being under 6.5 inches or 17 cm in size. If your wrist is larger than that, but you still feel your wrist is small, the same principles outlined in this guide will work for you. If you don’t have a tape measure and want to find out if this article is for you, take a dollar bill and wrap it around your wrist. U.S. paper currency is exactly six inches long, so if it’s touching or just shy of touching end to end, you have a small wrist.
What to Look For When Buying a Watch
The goal of buying a watch for small wrist is to achieve your style goals while looking proportional.
There are a few things you always want to consider when buying a new watch:
- The case diameter is under 40mm.
- The timepiece isn’t too bulky or thick.
- The strap or bracelet pairs well with your wrist size.
- The watch has minimal embellishments, such as large crowns, pushers or other features that make it look bigger.
Most important factor is the size. Ideally, you want a watch with a case size that is under 40mm. The size of the case will be integral in determining how that watch will look on your wrist. If you happen to have larger wrists but smaller hands, a smaller watch of this size will also work as it makes the wrist look smaller and the hand, larger.
The next thing worth looking at is the thickness of the watch. The thinner the timepiece is, the better it will look on a small wrist. This doesn’t mean you have to walk over to the women’s section of the jewellery store. It just means looking for thin watches, which, as it turns out, are more collectible anyhow and will retain their value. The reason for this is that takes for more skill to make a thin watch movement than a thick one.
The third thing you want to look at is the strap or watch band. It is a good idea to know what size you take so you can determine what size band will fit. If you’re buying new, the size of the factory-included strap that comes with the watch can be a fairly good indicator of the size of the wrist the watch is intended to look best on. Certainly, there are exceptions to that rule, and less expensive watches will tend to have standardized straps on them. You may have to purchase an after-market strap, and we highly suggest thin leather straps or understated metal bands. Click here to read our watch strap guide.
The final thing worth considering is the design of the timepiece. Simpler timepieces without embellishment will work the best on a small wrist as it brings less attention to the watch. Black leather strap, metal or white gold case and a simple dial will blend in better than a yellow gold band; a diamond encrusted bezel and a bold complication on the dial. The same goes for the standard parts of a watch such as the lugs, the pusher, the crown, etc. The larger or bolder these parts, the bolder the watch will appear on your wrist.
Where to Buy a Watch
The internet can be great for the average sized man who looks good with any watch, but for men with slight wrists, it can be a money pit where you end up looking like you borrowed your father’s watch. If the seller doesn’t offer unconditional returns, avoid buying online. Instead, focus on looking in the store, where you can try the watch on. Then simply jot down the make and model of the watch you like and look for a more reasonable price online if you’re adept at purchasing timepiece online.
For men with limited watch knowledge or those seeking a luxury timepiece, we don’t often suggest buying online as the risk often outweighs the reward. Instead, focus on authorized retailers, brand-owned boutique stores and other reputable brick and mortar retailers where you can ensure the watch you’re getting is authentic and covered by warranty.
Recommended Watches For Small Wrists
|Watch||Brand||Price||Size - Diameter excluding crown|
|Weekender Central Park||Timex||$||37 mm / 1.46"|
|Classic Sheffield Watch||Daniel Wellington||$||40 mm / 1.57"|
|96B104 Stainless Steel Dress Watch||Bulova||$||37 mm / 1.46"|
|SKX013K2 Black Dial Automatic Divers Watch||Seiko||$||38 mm / 1.50"|
|FC306S4S6 Slim Line Men's Silver Dial Automatic Watch||Frederique Constant||$$||40 mm / 1.57"|
|Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso||JLC||$$$||41.6 mm x 29.9 mm / 1.64" x 1.18"|
|W1529756 Tank Louis 18kt Yellow Gold Watch||Cartier||$$$||33.5mm x 25.5mm / 1.32" x 1"|
|Patek Philippe Calatrava||Patek Philippe||$$$||36 mm / 1.42"|
Timex Weekender Central Park
When it comes to a good low budget “throwaway” watch, the Weekender is a favorite. They do last a good while, but they’re so inexpensive that you can buy a few for the summer and interchange them based on your mood or the outfit you’re wearing. They also make a great gift for birthdays or “just because”. Of all the entry level watches on the market today, this is one of the most popular ones you’ll see come summer.
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield Watch
At just 40mm, this classically-inspired dress watch is a quartz watch, but it’s very inexpensive and popular amongst young professionals. The nice thing about DW watches is that you can easily change the strap from the classic black leather to one of their preppy repp-stripe fabric straps in the summer. This is a perfect watch for the price conscious consumer who wants an everyday watch that can work as well in the boardroom as it does on the beach.
Bulova Men’s Watch
The Bulova Men’s watch is simple and understated with a metal dial and thin black leather strap. A quintessential dress watch, it is a quartz watch which isn’t exactly collectible, but will do the job of telling time accurately. What’s most important is the case is just 37mm and 5.9mm thick which makes it perfect for men with slight wrists and small hands. It is perfect for men who work in an office environment and regularly wear business attire.
Seiko SKX013K2 Automatic Divers Watch
For the man seeking a sportier timepiece with water resistant capability, we suggest this watch from Seiko. A well-regarded brand, even amongst the most discerning collectors, this 21-jewel automatic watch uses the 7S26 calibre with a 43-hour power reserve. It is ISO certified and intended to take a beating. At 38mm, it is a great, inexpensive dive watch for gentlemen with small wrists.
Frederique Constant Automatic Dress Watch
A classic and well-regarded dress watch, it features a Swiss automatic movement and a case that’s a perfect 40mm in diameter. It is elegant enough for the office and is a great introduction to luxury watches at a reasonable price.
Rectangular and square watches work very well for men with smaller wrists, and the benefit of the JLC Reverso is that it is two watches in one. With one display perfect for daily wear to the office, it slides and flips to reveal a dark dial that works elegantly for an evening in black tie at the opera. Learn more about the Reverso in our guide.
Another excellent choice for men with small wrists, the square and rectangular cases on the Tank make it one of the world’s most identifiable timepieces that has graced the wrists of some of the planet’s most important leaders.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119G
Conceivably the most celebrated dress watch ever made, the Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119G is understated and elegant with a small 36mm case. This, paired with its subtlety make it the ideal dress watch for the gentleman with an unlimited budget who wants an heirloom piece that will last generations to come.
Hopefully, regardless of your budget, this guide has helped you find the perfect watch for a smaller wrist. We’d love to hear what watches you wear and recommend for men with small wrists and hands.