Vintage Watches: Does size matter?


One way I have noticed many people judge whether a watch is right for them is by 3 things: Depth, width and weight.

Firstly it's clear any sports watch will by nature be larger as readability, the requirement for various bezels, easily accessible crowns and many with automatic movements mean these are larger, thicker and heavier watches.

Dress watch sizes now easily exceed the 40mm diameter, which is certainly larger than those in the 50's that mostly never exceeded 30mm. Even some 90's Tag Heuer 2000 series sports watches only reached 36mm!

Today many major brands are releasing time only dress watches as big as 42mm and much heavier than their timekeeping ancestors, meaning this generation have become accustomed to such features.

Therefore after wearing a large watch for many years, when you decide to add a vintage piece to your collection, it's natural that the first reaction is that its very small.

Before putting it back down however there are some important considerations that must be made.

Firstly, the watches purpose.

If a watch is being worn for events, weekends or any occasion where timing is not essential then it's likely a watch does not need to be large, have sub dials or a rotating bezel. Even some of the most expensive watches today from companies like Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin make a lot of models that do not go over 38mm.

Secondly in that period of time, watches served as a tool, more so than a fashion accessory. It was more important that a watch was a good timekeeper, anti magnetic, shock absorbent and water resistant, than visually impressive and eye catching. (though there were many beautiful designs through each decade). There was little requirement for a vintage dress watch to be large, in fact ideally if a dress watch is slimmer it will side under a shirt cuff and be generally less obtrusive on the wrist.

If however you would like a vintage dress watch with a more modern size, there were many military watches which were bold and practical but more dressy that a divers watch. Also some pilot orientated brands produced larger dress watches too.

To conclude this post you should not dismiss a quality watch, in good condition, that fits your budget because it's a little smaller than your used to.


Recent Posts
Archive