Wrist watches for men, who do not need large watches to show that they are men ;o)

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region
I like your Zenith. What size is it? It looks similar, at least in style, to Waltham's 6/0 watches of the early 1920s. The American 6/0 movement is about 11-1/4 lignes and this case is ~27.5 mm across. I like this size on my wrist -
JS cushion.jpg JSwwgf.jpg

About the largest wristwatch that I will wear is this 12.75 ligne LeCoultre cal.450 in a 34 mm diameter case.
LeCoultre_450f.jpg
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Dec 28, 2010
2,102
675
113
Country
Region
I too like the smaller sizes of yesteryear. This is at least partly due to my having smaller wrists than many. Some of my favorites are by Girard-Perregaux, namely Sea-Hawks of what I believe are forties vintage. These are of diameters that are around 30mm, excluding crown.

Once a watch gets up over 34mm, it feels, and usually looks, a bit clunky to me. That said, I have a Panerai knock-off that a friend gave me that's massive. It has a diameter of ~43mm. The leather band is a 24mm size. But for some reason it doesn't look that bad (Aside from its knock-off lineage.) and is rather comfortable. This may be attributable to the wide leather band. But overall, I too tend to like the looks and feel of smaller watches. Cheers.

SeaHawk.jpg
 

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region
Hi Jerry, it is about 28 mm (lenghth of one side). I love your Waltham. When was it made?
Cushion cases for 6/0 watches like mine started to appear in the early 1920s. By 1926 Waltham was showing the larger 3/0 movement in the cushion case. It is possible that my movement is not original, but the dial matches 1920s catalog illustrations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernhard J.

Brunod

Registered User
Jun 8, 2021
86
66
18
Belgium, french speaking part
Country
In the years 1920-30 they succeeded to make very small and great movement to allow very small wristwatches. Now it's the time for clockwork wriswatches.
I really prefer the small ones. I think this one is the smallest I have : Omega T17, 17 mm large.
T17.png
 

Rick Hufnagel

Just Rick!
NAWCC Member
Oct 25, 2018
3,097
5,294
113
38
Pittsburgh pa
Country
Region
I like em all... Big and small

As a bigger dude (6'3''/240#), the little vintage watches usually get some comments about the small size but doesn't bother me. By the time I'm done explaining the watch they're usually sorry they even said anything! Haha

Here is a smaller one I wear often. It's a 3/0 Elgin in a plain nickel case made by the Star watch case co. These cushion cases are my favorite and I have them in white and yellow gold filled, chrome plated and nickel. This strap is terrible and I'm waiting to order a few new ones from www.vintagewatchstraps.com. He is back up and running so I need to get moving on it.
20220705_183626.jpg 20220705_183658.jpg
It's nothing special but it's a favorite, and original as far as I can tell.
20220705_183712.jpg

Here are some Elgins for size comparison. 6/0, 4/0, 3/0, 0 and 6 sized wristwatches.

20220705_162932.jpg

And here is the 3/0 next to my Seiko! Hahaha. BTW the new turtle is the same size it was in the 70s.. I'd love to find an original 6309 diver.
20220705_183836.jpg

Anyways... You said this was for fun, so there is me having a little fun with my eclectic box of watches!
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Dec 28, 2010
2,102
675
113
Country
Region
Speaking of smaller watches...here's a Wittnauer with a 7TN movement. The band that's on it is a 14mm width. That should tell you how small it is for a man's watch. It also has a dial on it that, while interesting, isn't very practical from a time-telling perspective. But I like the brand, and the price I stole it for. It was non-running, but had good, albeit rather tiny, bones.

Many years ago I wore it into a bar. The bartender took one look at it and said, "Hey, Roundel, why the long face?". I guess, like size, it is all relative. ;)Cheers.

10374CBA-8692-4F81-853F-16E18122BDF1.jpeg
 

Incroyable

NAWCC Member
Jun 26, 2022
361
183
43
Country
Cartier and Vacheron probably made the most stunning small wristwatches in the 1930s and 1940s.

A less knowledgeable dealer would probably sell them as Ladies watches today.

If you watch Old Hollywood films, the men all wore these tiny platinum or gold wristwatches.
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Dec 28, 2010
2,102
675
113
Country
Region
You have another thread about wrist watches for men not boys. My Timex from when I was a boy (25mm) next to a 19 lignes pocket watch.
Your post goes a long way towards proving that collectors are born, not made. That's amazing that you still have your Timex. Like many other baby-boomer kids, I too had a Timex when I was young. But along with the vast majority of such watches, it is lost to the ages. It's impressive that you kept yours. You sir, are a natural born collector. Cheers. :)
 

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region
Today, for one of maybe six times a year that I wear a watch on my wrist, I put on my LeCoultre cal.480. The small 10-1/2 ligne movement resides in a larger 34 mm gold-filled case. This feels like about the right size for my wrist. - and how about those lugs? I like 'em.
LeCoultre_480_wrist.JPG LeCoultre_480_mvt.jpg

My Timex from when I was a boy (25mm) next to a 19 lignes pocket watch.
Oh, also in response to Stephen's post here is my first Timex, from the '50s. These old pin levers just keep on ticking! (... with or without "a licking" :rolleyes: ). The original stainless expansion bracelet barely fits around a few fingers of my adult hand.
1st_Timex.jpg 1st_Timex_mvt.jpg
 

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region

Appa69

Registered User
Apr 3, 2022
53
38
18
44
Country
I love a good watch regardless of size. I don't mind larger (over 36mm) in the summer months, but when it's time for long sleeves, I very much prefer watches 36mm or less. If these smaller watches were "manly" enough for the likes of Sean Connery, John F Kennedy, and Steve McQueen they're good enough for me.
james_dean.jpg

Go ahead. Tell him he's doing it wrong.
 

Bernhard J.

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 10, 2022
1,025
1,081
113
Berlin, Germany
Country
Region
Go ahead. Tell him he's doing it wrong.
But to make it perfect, you would have to drive the cars also, which they used to drive :excited: . I personally would stick with Steve McQueen, I love the movie "Le Mans" and the watch he wore in that film (Heuer Monaco, this not being really small ...). But the only road legal Porsche 917 is owned by a Swiss guy, who does not want to sell ... :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Appa69

Carrite

Registered User
May 15, 2022
11
14
3
61
Country
A hilarious title to this thread.

I wonder if anyone has done a study about the "Flavor Flaving" of men's wristwatches. My own theory is that the trend started with the advent of James Bond dive watches in the 1960s. The trend was accelerated with the escalation of prices of so-called "luxury watches" — people want some heft for their $5,000 or whatever.

The size and weight of the average contemporary watch makes the wearing of a vintage men's watch, even a standard watch from the 1960s, a completely different sensory experience.
 

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
The original James bond Rolex Submariner from the early '60s was 38mm. Not a huge watch. The Eberhard from a few years earlier was the same size. Although a lot of watches, perhaps most, were smaller, there were big watches being produced even in the '20s. At that time, even Patek was making rectangular watches of 47mm in the long direction. Pilots' watches were mostly big since the beginning of pilots' watches. The Omega Speedmaster moon watch was 40mm.

I am a big guy who likes small watches...too. I find it odd that people have to bring up Flava Flave as if he or hip-hop culture is some how an evil influence on the watch industry. Big watches have been around for a long time and have been popular with lots of forward thinking people. I wear a 42mm IWC Fliegeruhr as my daily beater and it is the most comfortable watch I have ever worn.

And, by the way, although the original James Bond Sub might have cost a few hundred when new, a good one will sell for around 1/2 million today. You can't buy a contemporary Rolex sport watch for close to $5,000 these days.

Wear what you like and vive la difference!
 

Bernhard J.

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 10, 2022
1,025
1,081
113
Berlin, Germany
Country
Region
Yes, there were really large watches since long, see e.g. those shown in the parallel thread. But they were rather in the minority or had special purposes, like for aviation, when the pilots did not have illumination and heating in the cockpit. Today it seems rather fashionable to have large watches, see e.g. Panerai.

Although I actually like my Omega Speedmaster 125 due to the technical features, I do not wear it often. Because it is not only large, but also really heavy. I like the Pavel Buhre also, because of the beauty of the movement. But that one is quite unpractical for real use.

Turning to Rolex, the present fashion becomes more than evident. You can buy nice ones for "small" money still. Two years ago I bought a Bubble Back perpetual chronometer in a 18K case from end of the 30s in great original condition for 2,300.-- Euro. Apparently no one wants these because of their small size, otherwise the seller would not have accepted the proposal. Compare this with e.g. 90s GMT Masters in steel cases fetching 5-figure prices in the meanwhile.
 

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
I agree about the coolness and value of smaller BB and later "Precision" Rolex watches Bernhard. But, what is comfortable and good looking for my almost 20cm wrist and your somewhat smaller wrist might be a bit different.
 
Last edited:

Bernhard J.

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 10, 2022
1,025
1,081
113
Berlin, Germany
Country
Region
:D I actually never before took that measure until just now, and the result is something around 19-20 cm :cool:. I do of course agree that one can argue endless about "good looking", except that this attribute is in most cases a matter of (changing) fashion. Well, I hope that watches will never be completely out of fashion. As a funny aspect in this respect: I know a young lady and we have lunch together every once and a while. She always turns up with a large bling bling watch with quartz movement on her wrist. Over years I did not once see that this watch was running and asking about it she always answered "oh yes, I wll need to have a new battery fitted". Which is never done. Since years she uses the watch just like some jewelery article without any other function than being decorative :D
 

Shawn Moulder

NAWCC Member
Sep 13, 2017
195
426
63
Country
Region
Here is one of my favorite wristwatches by today's standards would be to small to be a man's wristwatch, it's a Waltham 6/0 21 jewel hack pointer date watch. What makes this watch so special is that it's the only complicated movement made by an American watch company. It's a simple pointer date watch for 31 days. It takes approximately 24 hours for the calendar hand to advance to the next day. It's ashame that American watch companies didn't create more complicated wristwatches like the Swiss did. I think the band that I put on this watch compliments the watch so well.

20220716_111520.jpg 20220716_111522.jpg
 

Bernhard J.

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 10, 2022
1,025
1,081
113
Berlin, Germany
Country
Region
Here is a really small one, it measures 27 mm along an outer edge. I like these early V&Cs very much. This one has a Wadsworth 14K case. The hands probably are not original (or were ordered by the client like this, when the movement was cased in the U.S.A. after import as movement only).

The case number is 1237607. Is there any chance to date the Wadsworth case by this number? The movement was likely made 1930.

The dial has some patina, but I prefer to leave it like this instead of a refinish. The degree of patina still seems acceptable.

1a.jpg
5a.jpg
 

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
I am pretty sure Wadsworth nor any of the American watch case companies kept serial number records. I would assume that the case is from the early '30s. Great little watch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernhard J.

thesnark17

NAWCC Member
Jul 11, 2020
199
235
43
Country
Region
There are some limited examples of dating by case serial available (primarily for certain brands such as Hamilton), and Wadsworth is the maker most easily cracked so far. However, this has not yet led to success. But you never know - five or ten years from now, we might be able to do it.

No American case makers left records for their serial numbers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernhard J.

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region
The case number is 1237607. Is there any chance to date the Wadsworth case by this number? The movement was likely made 1930.
Developing production information for watch case companies based on case serial numbers is notoriously difficult. As mentioned, there are almost no surviving records from the case companies and from the various attempts at research it appears that some companies may have used different serial number sequences for different clients, different case materials or quality and, where applicable, from different production lines or facilities. For today's collectors your best age estimate may come from case styles, trademarks and a minimum age based on presentation dates.

Here is a 1925 advertisement that would seem to show your identical case (lower right) -
Wadsworth_1925.jpg
 

Bernhard J.

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 10, 2022
1,025
1,081
113
Berlin, Germany
Country
Region
This is funny. Because of the style I indeed had guessed (as an uneducated guess) about 1925, which would be about 5 years before the movement was made (movement serial number ranges on an annual basis are known, no need to contact V&C and pay 300,-- for this information).
 
  • Like
Reactions: John Cote

Incroyable

NAWCC Member
Jun 26, 2022
361
183
43
Country
The explosion of big watches really started in the early 2000s with Hublot, Panerai, and the AP Royal Oak Offshore.

Thankfully that trend has tapered off. Witness the spike in value of vintage Cartier watches.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernhard J.

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
Those are a couple of great looking LeCoultres. I am obsessed with the brand. The below is a picture I took the other day of a couple of mine for a project I am working on. These range from an almost small for me 36mm to a nice 38mm.

LeCoultre_8-21-22.jpg
 

Jerry Treiman

NAWCC Member
Golden Circle
Aug 25, 2000
7,311
5,018
113
Los Angeles, CA
Country
Region
Since LeCoultre seems to be getting so much love, here is my third and dressiest LeCoultre. It has a 14K case (27 mm) with a cal.493 automatic movement (21.3 mm). Does anyone know if this model had a name?
LeCoultre14K.jpg
 

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
Suggestions if the watch is too small (32mm on a 195mm wrist):

Put it on a bund strap - it looks larger.
Wear it when having a good Mortlach Whisky - you don't care anymore about the size :)
This is a great idea. I love the Longines. The dial, even with the slight bit of schmutz is gorgeous.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
4,077
2,180
113
France
Country
Region
A couple of English examples.

England 1915/16 ROTHERHAMS for DENT, London - straight line lever club foot escape #60795 in a ROTHERHAMS 18K gold case

20220824 001.jpg 20220824 002.jpg 20220824 003.jpg

SMITHS, Cheltenham '12.15' #C44460 1947/48 DENNISON 9K gold case

20220824 001.jpg 20220824 002.jpg 20220824 003.jpg

Have to come clean - I was inspired to post following Karl's reference to Mortlach single malt - I have just run out of Talisker 57˚

so sad - no longer being made!

John
 

noelekal

Registered User
Jun 7, 2021
31
123
33
65
Country
6'3" here and just converted my wrist measuement to find its at 20cm. Small watches hold no fears for me.

Nice thread.

Here's a Glycine military model of the post-war (?) period. Can't say exactly when. I think it's 32mm. It's been my favorite beater, hunting, fishing, chores watch since it was picked up in a pawn shop in the early 1980s for $5. It sees a more rigid service schedule in recent years, but was neglected and worn afield for years without attention. It's always ticked happily and offers outstanding timekeeping. Well, outstanding for me for if a watch remains within the minute set for seven days then it's first rate in my opinion.

697997-957cc98a6dd3ea9cc49570057ebcf29e.jpg
 
Last edited:

Shawn Moulder

NAWCC Member
Sep 13, 2017
195
426
63
Country
Region
Here are 5 watches that I tend to wear sometimes. I haven't worn any of these lately but as one can see that I love diamonds in a watch. One Longines diamond mystery dial, Gruen Nobleman diamond curvex, Lord Elgin diamond, one Lecoultre diamond and a Hamilton Rutledge. Of the 5 I think the Gruen and the Lecoultre are some of my favorites. Even though they are all small it still doesn't stop me from wearing them!

20220905_024424.jpg 20220905_024502.jpg 20220905_024513.jpg 20220905_024525.jpg 20220905_024540.jpg 20220905_024549.jpg
 

John Cote

Staff member
Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,969
2,194
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
I had to find a crystal for this beast today and it reminded me of this thread. It is a German WW2 pilots watch to be worn over a jacket I believe. The crystal was the biggest in the drawer (Size 60!)-Cort
These were truly big watches. Thanks for showing a real man's watch Cort.
 
  • Like
Reactions: noelekal

Forum statistics

Threads
177,503
Messages
1,555,589
Members
53,592
Latest member
AndyB821
Encyclopedia Pages
909
Total wiki contributions
3,053
Last edit
Ptolemy's Course of the Planets displayed by CLockwork by Tom McIntyre