When it comes to watches, how big is big?

One of the most often asked question is “how big is big” when it comes to watch size and how it should be worn. Without question, watches have grown in size over the years to improve readability and utility, but also because of influences from the fashion and Hollywood industries. A 40mm Rolex was considered large when it was introduced in the 1950’s as most watches of the era were 36mm or smaller In the old days, a watch was smaller than 36mm and there was no consideration to the size of the person and the functionality of the timepiece. Nevertheless, watch technology, functionality, and tastes have evolved over the last 60 years which makes selecting a watch a little more difficult than in the past.

Big Watch on a Small Wrist?

Tara Reid
Tara Reid with her upside down Daytona

The first consideration is the size/diameter of one’s wrist and the proportion of the watch size to the wrist. Typically, for men, the larger the wrist, the larger the watch. Large wrists require a large watch such that the watch looks proportional to the person wearing it. From a pure functional standpoint, people do not need a stop watch strapped to their wrist. For ones who do, it is for reasons other than functionality. All bets are off for women. Women can get away with whatever watch they want to wear. A loosely worn Daytona is commonly seen on models, sometimes worn upside down.

Even if the wearer does not have large wrists, a large diameter watch can work as long as the size of the watch does not exceed the width of the wearer’s wrist. A watch that hangs over the edge of the wrist is just too big and will catch on clothing, doors, and anything else that comes its way.

A Large Skinny Watch?

Another consideration that is often left out of the equation is the watch’s height and weight. A watch that is tall, such as the Rolex DeepSea SeaDweller, will wear differently than a new Rolex Explorer II. Both watches are of similar size (44mm vs 42mm), but the Explorer II is lighter, only 12mm tall and thus will be much less top heavy than the larger, heavier, DeepSea SeaDweller. A lighter watch can be worn looser without having a bowling ball dangling for the wearers wrist. The notion of having a wristwatch is to be able to tell time easily without having to search your watch. Heavier watches require a tighter bracelet, which for large wrists is not a problem, but will certainly be more uncomfortable for smaller wristed wearers.

So to sum up, select a watch that is not so large that is hangs over the edge of the wearer’s wrist, and a watch that is not too top heavy such that it does not have to be worn tightly. With these two considerations in mind, selecting the correct size watch that will be comfortable will be much easier.