In recent years, there appears to be a reversal in the trend for watch collectors – instead of larger watches, it seems that more collectors have a preference for timepieces with a smaller case dimension.
This change in preference has seen smaller watches coming back into fashion and production once again. For starters, we define smaller watches as those that have a case dimension of between 35mm to 38mm, which is relatively unheard of a few years ago when it comes to novelties.
Over the last couple of years, we have definitely seen more manufacturers introducing new watches with these relatively smaller case dimensions. This is also partially attributed to advocates who pushed these ideals, such as Mark Cho. We definitely view this as a positive step, considering that most of our wrists are small in the first place (the wrist circumference of the author is around 6.5 inches).
Hence, in this week’s article, we are looking at certain great watches that are cased between 35mm to 38mm in diameter. Besides the case dimension, as usual, value proposition and quality will be the other key factors that we are looking out for. Without any further ado, here are the watches that have made it on our list.
Baltic might have been just a micro-brand with a relatively short history, but it has been making strong waves in the horological scene since its inception in 2017.
The MR01 (image above courtesy of Baltic Watches) is a culmination of the great work that the French-based micro-brand had achieved over the last five years. Here is a timepiece that features the wish-list of many collectors – a well-sized 36mm timepiece, with a stunning textured dial, Breguet-styled numerals, a micro-rotor, and a highly attractive price point. What else can you ask for?
Priced at €545 (approximately S$810), the discreet and sophisticated dress watch ticks all the right boxes. Granted, some snobs might balk at the use of a Chinese movement, but frankly, as long as it does its job properly, one should be able to easily overlook this inconsequential factor.
anOrdain Model 2 mkII
Next, we have an interesting timepiece in the form of the 36mm anOrdain Model 2 mkII.
anOrdain is a relatively newcomer to the scene, but it has already made a strong impact in the horological scene. The Scottish watch manufacturer is known for producing brilliant time-only timepieces, mostly fitted with a vitreous enamel dial (or grand feu, as it is more commonly known) that comes in numerous exciting colour options.
The watch is powered by the manual-winding Sellita SW-210-1, which adds to the old-school charm of this timepiece. We really enjoy the different interesting elements of the watch, right down to its unique pair of syringe hands. The attention to detail is pretty amazing, and for £1,850 (approximately S$3,100), we believe many will be hard pressed to find a timepiece that is as impressive and offers as much value as the anOrdain. The only downside? There is currently a waitlist, and we last heard that it is around two years long.
Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole
Rado has been producing some brilliant timepieces lately, and they are not stopping with the wonderful Captain Cook Over-Pole.
The 37mm timepiece was inspired by the original version that was introduced in 1962. What we particularly like is that Rado had kept the modern interpretation as faithful as possible to its original iteration, right down to the case dimension and aesthetics. We also love how Rado had used a manual-winding movement for this watch, in the form of the Calibre R862.
The Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole is limited to a production run of 1,962 pieces, and it is priced at S$3,600. There is something really romantic and poetic about this watch – an ode to enthusiasts. Given its classic looks, 37mm case size, and a manual-winding movement, what is there not to like about the Captain Cook Over-Pole?
Tudor Black Bay 54
The Tudor Black Bay is an incredible timepiece, for both its value proposition and quality. But how can Tudor make this watch better? The new Tudor Black Bay 54 (image above courtesy of Tudor) perhaps has the answer to that.
While the Black Bay has been a mainstay in the Tudor repertoire for the last decade, we are glad to see the brand introducing a 37mm version to the collection. This definitely works out well for collectors with a smaller wrist. We would also like to add that despite the watch having a smaller dimension, it does not appear to be a lesser watch as compared to its larger brethren.
The new Black Bay 54 retains all the usual Tudor goodies – such as the COSC-certified movement, robust construction, and its unmistakable good looks. Finally, the watch is priced at S$5,320 (with steel bracelet), which makes it one of the watches with the best value proposition in the market today.
Grand Seiko SBGW
The SBGW series by Grand Seiko is a classic case of the term “less is more”, and collectors certainly have lots of good words to say about this particular collection.
Featuring a 37.3mm case, the Grand Seiko SBGW is a three-hand manual-winding watch that probably is as simple as it gets. However, do not let that fool you, as its simplicity means that the watch has got nowhere to hide in terms of its design and execution. The SBGW definitely passed the test with flying colours, with the signature Zaratsu polish and an exquisite ice-blue textured dial for this particular reference. The movement is finished fairly well for its price point too.
Priced at US$4,800 (approximately S$6,365), the Grand Seiko SBGW283 (the reference with this dial execution) is a solid dress watch that exudes a certain charm and sophistication. This is a great watch, and certainly one that showcases the prowess of the Japanese watch manufacturer.
A. Lange and Söhne Saxonia Thin
When it comes to timepieces with a smaller case dimension, dress watches certainly make the strongest case in point. The Saxonia Thin, from A. Lange and Söhne, is an excellent example of that.
Launched in mid-2016, the time-only Saxonia Thin also encapsulates what a dress watch should be. The 37mm watch is simple and discreet, but it certainly exudes class and quality. The highlight for the piece perhaps lies in its finishing. A. Lange & Söhne is known for its impeccable attention to detail, and collectors will be pleased to know that the finishing of the Saxonia Thin is on par with its higher-end brethren.
The watch retails at S$34,000. It is undoubtedly a princely sum for most commoners like us, but the finishing and quality of the Saxonia certainly shows why this watch is worth its price tag. It is a special watch indeed.
With smaller watches being in vogue today, we do highly recommend collectors to at least take a look at such timepieces – and see if it works for you. Personally, when the author started collecting watches more than a decade ago, smaller watches were shunned, and therefore the author never felt comfortable (figuratively) wearing a smaller watch. It was only after several years that the author took the leap of faith and wore smaller watches more often, and in turn, recognised that smaller watches are more comfortable (literally) and suited better for his wrist.
So, what are your takes on smaller watches, as well as our selection today? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.