In this article from the Watchtime archives, we revisit six watches that have been released in recent times based on the growing interest in small-diameter watches, including timepieces from Tudor, Panerai, Omega and more. Have fun!
Over the past few years, we’ve seen an influx of modestly sized timepieces from leading industry players. The leaders of the “wrist-saucer” trend, Panerai and Breitling, also changed their strategy and began to develop a more accessible range. After years of booming wristwatches, they’re changing to the point of dwarfing anyone. Expendables-Style action star, not everyone wants to look like that Last action hero When they are in the office. While it’s still not uncommon to see watches landing above 40-mm, it’s a good sign for the industry, especially for those with beautiful wrists, that we’re slowly transitioning to more classically-proportioned timepieces. We’ve rounded up six watches from the past few years, all from top-selling brands, that embrace a sub-40-mm fit.
One of Tudor’s most talked-about watches in recent years, perhaps overshadowed by its travel-time, Pepsi-colored sibling. Black Bay Fifty-Eight. It keeps what we love about the Black Bay as a small 39-mm by 11.9 mm frame (for reference, the original Black Bay was 41 mm by 14.75 mm) and retains the core features of Tudor’s most popular watch family. Yes, snowflake hands; A mixture of triangular, circular and rectangular indices applied; Expanded crown stamped with Tudor rose; And the Tudor shield logo is all here. The Fifty-Eight’s old-school appeal and name comes directly from the Tudor Submariner Reference 7924 “Big Crown”, which was originally released in 1958 and has since become one of the most popular vintage Tudor timepieces. So, could BB-58 become Black Bay’s platonic ideal? For some, it may already be; For everyone else, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next. One thing is for sure, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight isn’t going anywhere. It costs $3,250 on a leather or fabric strap and $3,575 on an oyster-style riveted steel bracelet.
The biggest surprise at SIHH 2018 was that, for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, Panerai changed directions. Just for example, the new base Logo model is an ideal entry-level piece with an in-house movement for the aspiring paneristi for under $5,000, and an update to Luminor Dew The line has adopted a new status for the brand. Measuring 38mm across, last year’s Luminer Dew was Panerai’s smallest timepiece in recent history. It has every recognizable Panerai characteristic like the crown guard, sandwich dial, raised bezel and cushion case, but it comes with an internal wearable diameter. For those who have always loved Panerai’s design identity, but refuse to wear it with a suit, this is for you. Pricing starts at $6,000.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Chronometer 38 mm Part of the brand’s 2017 lineup. It was released alongside two other Aqua Terra models that came in at over 40mm, but this stainless-steel one won many hearts at that year’s Baselworld showcase with a stunning blue dial and integrated steel bracelet. The dial is sun-brushed and features the famous horizontal line motif inspired by the wooden decks of vintage sailboats. Inside the watch is Omega’s in-house Caliber 8800, which is certified as a Master Chronometer by METAS. Price: $5,500.
Georges Kern had few immediate goals when he became head honcho at Breitling. One of them is a focus on bringing back collectors who felt alienated by the brand’s previous decade of masculine postures in oversized cases and oversized dials. Keeping that in mind, the Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 A pure distillation of this new philosophy. It eschews the typical chronograph complication that people have long associated with Navitimers, yet keeps the classic slide rule functionality on its outer bezel. Further distinguished by a beaded bezel that references the original Navitimer from 1954, this update puts the brand’s heritage in full perspective while venturing into refreshed territory. The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 is priced at $4,300 in steel with a crocodile leather strap, $4,860 in steel on a steel bracelet, and $5,820 in rose gold.
Grand Seiko SBGH263 A prime example of why the high-end Japanese marque is one of the most remarkable watch brands working today. In 2018, a limited edition stainless-steel dress watch introduced a concept dial color called “Shironeri,” which refers to the off-white silk of a Japanese wedding dress. It’s a simple time and date watch, but the appeal of the dial — its Arabic numerals (somewhat rare for a Grand Seiko) and refined presentation — makes it so memorable. Powering the 39.5-mm watch is the Caliber 9S85, one of Grand Seiko’s famous hi-beat movements. Price: $6,200.
One of the most popular watches introduced by Rolex in recent years comes in steel, although it is not a sport or travel timepiece. Is it surprising? don’t stay The Rolex Oyster perennial 39 It has been consistently underrated since it was first released in 2015, and its latest update is no exception. First offered in white and black, both monochromatic variations are the most basic examples of Rolex. In fact, the time-only model is the simplest timepiece the brand produces, making it a great point of entry for neophyte collectors or those looking for an everyday wearable that straddles the line between dressy and casual. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, nothing has changed inside or outside this watch other than the color of its dial. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 in white and black is priced at $5,700.