By Nirja Dutt

The tale is as old as time, ‘bigger is better’ they told us. We believed them, and subconsciously chose everything that tended to it. Houses, cars, the works, and somehow it always fit the phrase—space is luxury. However when applied to watches, it doesn’t quite add up. The entire industry has literally spent centuries on trying to fit the most complex calibers in the littlest spaces. To the limit, skeletal creations are lusted after just to gaze within the small disc sandwich that can tell you everything from the time in your city, your lover’s city, the current moon phase, the date and more!

Also let’s not forget, a dial size is first and foremost defined by anatomy. The average male wrist medians at 7.25inches which means 50% of the male population is above it and 50% is below it. And when it comes to watchmaking it’s made in cities that belong to the former, leaving the other 50% feeling like they seriously lack girth.

So for those who belong to the later, here’s a quick list of watches that hit that sweet spot—40mm or less, it’s big enough to be grand, but not large enough to eclipse your wrist. And honestly, does matter size anyway? Well that’s a ‘longer’ conversation we can have another time. 

 

Audemars Piguet
[RE]master01

The power of colour plays an imperative role in the magnanimity of this 40mm chronograph. With a pink gold bezel, pale champagne dial, blue seconds hand and white gold lugs the Audemars Piguet [RE]master01 takes after its 1940 predecessor. The vintage logo “Audemars, Piguet & Co / Genève” sits atop the vertically brushed dial and within it lies the latest 4409, an in-house, automatic chronograph movement. It promises precision in all its modern glory with a hint of yesteryear glamour, enough to flatter your wrist just right.

Lange & Söhne
1815 THIN HONEYGOLD 

Simplicity trumps all, here we have one of the oldest maisons in horology commemorating a 175 year old legacy with a two hand timepiece. Now that’s an attitude. The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 THIN HONEYGOLD celebrates the founder’s birth year in the name and iconic pocket watches in style. At 38mm, the watch houses a 72 hour power reserve, a lever escapement and is crafted in ‘honey gold’ an alloy developed exclusively for the house that makes the gold stronger and practically scratch resistant.

Blancpain
Villeret Quantième Complet

Named after the house’s founding village, the Villeret series by Blancpain always optimises visibility to the T. The Quantième Complet features a sunray finished dial, Roman numerals, sage leaf hands and signature bearing date hand all work harmoniously without the crowding each other. This 40mm edition is in the heavenly combination of rose gold and blue. The moon-phase comes to life at 6 o’clock and offsets the day and month perfectly at 12 o’clock. Unlike other calendar watches, the timepiece is equipped with patented under-lug correctors, enabling all the information to be adjusted at the press of a finger, eliminating the need for a pusher tool. 

 

Carl F. Bucherer
Manero Perpetual

One of the most challenging movements for most watchmakers, the promise of a hassle-free perpetual calendar is something only a few houses can provide. Carl F Bucherer’s version comes to life via the Manero Perpetual in only 40mm with a  perpetual calendar, featuring a correction-free indication of date, day, month and moon phase. 

Chopard
Alpine Eagle Small 

This was Chopard’s gateway to the youth, taking after their legendary St Moritz from the 80s, the Alpine Eagle immediately clinged on to the steel bracelet watch market that seems to be ever expanding. What set this one apart? The Lucent Steel body which is brushed with such propensity that makes it shines like a polished diamond. Available in a variety of sizes, the 36mm sits on the wrist perfectly allowing the wearer to admire the dial and the bracelet at once. 

 

 

F.P Journe
Classique Chronomètre

Creativity meets precision in F.P Journe’s  Classique Chronomètre, made with Tantalum, a rare dark grey metal with blue overtones that is extremely difficult to sculpt given its high density and fusion temperature. But its high resistance to corrosion and wear and tear lends perfectly as a base metal. The 39mm dial is hued in blue chrome which compliments the metal Tantalum perfectly, with a manual wound mechanical movement. The arabic numerals come to life on the edges as they are encircled by concentric circles and seconds dial between 7 and 8 o’clock. 

H. Moser & Cie.
Venturer

For the lover of all things black, the dial of the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer is so unique it’s made out of material only NASA can explain, or invent. The 39mm dial is made from Vantablack®, the blackest material known to man, paired with blackened hour and minute hands that are surprisingly legible against the absolute blackness of the dial. With a hand wound movement, the timepiece celebrates minimalism by keeping the power reserve indicator on the movement side, keeping the watch’s dial uncluttered.

In the end, big or small, the world of horology has come too far to be restricted by just size, each mm is there for a reason, and sometimes the most interesting require the lowest amount! So pick a watch that compliments your wrist, and don’t belittle your anatomy.

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