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Long Time Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I bought it new circa 1968 my Rolex GMT Master with a 39mm case was considered a large wrist watch. Now it is at the smaller end of men's watch sizes it seems like. I have a Diesel multi movement watch with a 57mm case diameter and have seen TV advertisements for some Invicta single movement watches with cases in the claimed 54mm range, My latest Men's Bulova Precisionist has a 43mm case and I have both a Casio Edifce chronograph and Casio plastic cased watch with cases in the 48mm to 50mm range, not including the stem protrusion. Larger Bulova Preisionists, including the chronographs, are in the 46mm case size range and I have a orange faced Android automatic mechanical watch with a 50mm case diameter. All listed sizes exclude crown and crown guard protrusions.

What is the practical maximum diameter for a Men's wrist watch? To me anything over about 45mm to 48mm is definitely over sized and my Diesel is ridiculous as far as size goes. The same for the three time zone Nemesis watches I wrote up recently which are, to me, at the absolute limit of practical wrist watch size at 52mm bezel diameter. Other much more common watches such as the mentioned Casios are approaching this diameter in mass production watches.

The same size increase seems to have happened in Women's wrist watches. I remember when a dress women's wrist watch was typically very small but that style of mechanical watch, with no room for an automatic wind mechanism, seems to have disappeared. Even the battery operated lady's quartz watches are typically relatively large now compared to older lady's dress watches.
 

Super Moderator
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This really is such a phenomenal topic, or question Astronut ! 馃榾

Mainly because there are so many right answers thanks to everyone out
there having such different preferences. ..Not to mention different sized
wrists. And even then there are no rules no matter what wrist size someone
has. 馃槈You could have someone with small, or moderate wrist think 38mm -
44mm might be a good range. However, people with those same sized
wrists might like much smaller, or even much larger watches. It's actually
fascinating ! And those with larger wrists can feel the same way right?!
They might like 45mm-55mm or larger, or they may not like large watches,
and might enjoy smaller watches. (y)

The practical maximum diameter is different for everyone. ..I mean I
would maybe say my maximum is 44-46mm. However, if the watch
were to grab me then everything would go out the window. 馃槃

Honestly nowadays I'm all over the place, and since I've been into vintage
watches in recent years. I'm going in the other direction size wise. ..It's all
too much fun Astro. Thank you so so much for coming up with the topic !!!
 

Long Time Member
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know it varies a lot. Years ago my uncle, a fairly small man, talked my mother, his sister, out of the Tudor Ladies Sport automatic watch she wore at the time that she had bought in Hong Kong in the 1950s. He liked the size and with his slight build and small wrists it did not look inappropriate. She was annoyed when next in Hong Kong to find the Tudor was no longer available so she had to spend the extra money to upgrade to the Rolex equivalent.
 

Super Moderator
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18,322 Posts
It's so true Astro, and as with your uncle, along with mom, people's
preference in watch size. Or what they like can vary as much as the
weather. 馃檪 Plus there is nothing to say that those very same ideas,
or preferences might not change again, and again as time goes by.
Some of us might change our minds dozens of times on what might
be that practical maximum diameter for a Men's watch. And some of
us might always have the same idea for our whole lives. It's pretty
fantastic, along with fascinating. (y)(y)
 

Watch Freek
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I saw a video that was quite interesting on large watches in the US. It started when Sylvester Stallone went to Italy for a movie shoot and came across the Panerai with a very large diameter, which was not popular or even seen in the US at the time. So he purchased the same watch for his film crew and brought some home to the States where he gave one to his friend Arnold Swartzneger. Arnold made this watch famous when he wore it on I think it was the Terminator and hence started the love affair with the big watch. As far as big watches for myself I like watches between 36mm to 41mm, I may wear a 42 or larger depending on the watch and the comfort but usually, 37 to 40 is what I prefer. I have a JLC watch it is at 40mm I think it would have been a nicer watch at 39mm but it is still my favorite watch in my collection. Now I can care less about fads it is about comfort and if you have a huge wrist then you probably can wear a big watch with comfort, right? Buy what you like!
 

Watch Freek
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When I bought it new circa 1968 my Rolex GMT Master with a 39mm case was considered a large wrist watch. Now it is at the smaller end of men's watch sizes it seems like. I have a Diesel multi movement watch with a 57mm case diameter and have seen TV advertisements for some Invicta single movement watches with cases in the claimed 54mm range, My latest Men's Bulova Precisionist has a 43mm case and I have both a Casio Edifce chronograph and Casio plastic cased watch with cases in the 48mm to 50mm range, not including the stem protrusion. Larger Bulova Preisionists, including the chronographs, are in the 46mm case size range and I have a orange faced Android automatic mechanical watch with a 50mm case diameter. All listed sizes exclude crown and crown guard protrusions.

What is the practical maximum diameter for a Men's wrist watch? To me anything over about 45mm to 48mm is definitely over sized and my Diesel is ridiculous as far as size goes. The same for the three time zone Nemesis watches I wrote up recently which are, to me, at the absolute limit of practical wrist watch size at 52mm bezel diameter. Other much more common watches such as the mentioned Casios are approaching this diameter in mass production watches.

The same size increase seems to have happened in Women's wrist watches. I remember when a dress women's wrist watch was typically very small but that style of mechanical watch, with no room for an automatic wind mechanism, seems to have disappeared. Even the battery operated lady's quartz watches are typically relatively large now compared to older lady's dress watches.
I used to own some larger watches 43mm+, but now the largest I have is 41mm. On average I would say 38mm is about perfect, but I also own four watches of 36mm. I think a watch should blend into your wrist, not be the highlight of your arm
 

Watch Guru
Joined
3,282 Posts
I have 8" wrists and have limited myself to 40-44mm when buying new. I have lots of vintages that are much smaller than this, but as vintage watches, they are suppose to be smaller. I have bigger watches but really never wear them.
 

Senior Member
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6,766 Posts
Although some of my watches are considered to be on the large size, I never went to TW Steel proportions. 55mm (or even larger) to me is like strapping an alarm clock to the wrist. It also serves no purpose other than trying to be a fashion statement. (I have a 7" wrist). My H2O Orca on a bracelet is really pushing it because it's also quite heavy. The recent surge of reissued watches from back catalogues (or their homages) has turned the tide somewhat because they tend to be much smaller (as wristwatches used to be) and I must say that I like that.
 

Long Time Member
Joined
964 Posts
I just don鈥檛 pay much attention to case size unless it鈥檚 with respect to the particular watch model and whether the size fits the styling.

Worrying and categorizing sounds like driving only cars of a certain length or width, etc. Doesn鈥檛 make much sense.

But I have a 7.25-7.5鈥 wrist and can wear most watches, so I鈥檓 probably biased.
 
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