WatchTime - - Table Of Contents - by Lo­gan R. Baker

Down­siz­ing: Watches un­der 40 mm from top watch brands

Over the past two years, we’ve seen an in­flux of mod­estly sized time­pieces from the dom­i­nant in­dus­try play­ers. Even the lead­ers of the “wrist-saucer” trend, Panerai and Bre­itling, have changed their strat­egy and started de­vel­op­ing a more ap­proach­able range. It turns out af­ter years of wrist­watches grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially to the point where they dwarf any­one that isn’t an Ex­pend­ables-style ac­tion star, not ev­ery­one wants to look like the Last Ac­tion Hero when they’re in the of­fice. While it’s still more com­mon than not to see watches over the 40-mm mark, it’s a good sign for the in­dus­try, es­pe­cially those with dainty wrists, that we’re slowly shift­ing back to more clas­si­cally pro­por­tioned time­pieces. We rounded up six watches from the past few years, all from top brands, that em­brace the sub-40-mm fit.


One of the most dis­cussed watches of 2018 – per­haps only over­shad­owed by its travel-time, Pepsi-col­ored sib­ling – is with­out a doubt Tu­dor’s Black Bay 58. The new watch con­denses what we love about the Black Bay fam­ily into a smaller 39-mm by 11.9-mm frame (for ref­er­ence, the orig­i­nal Black Bay was 41 mm by 14.75 mm) and re­tains what else we love about Tu­dor’s most well­known col­lec­tion. Yup, the Snowflake hands; the blend of ap­plied tri­an­gu­lar, cir­cu­lar and rec­tan­gu­lar in­dexes; the en­larged crown stamped with the Tu­dor Rose; and the Tu­dor shield logo are all here. The 58’s old-school ap­peal and name come di­rectly from the Tu­dor Sub­mariner Ref­er­ence 7924 “Big Crown” that was orig­i­nally re­leased in 1958 and has since be­come one of the most sought-over vin­tage Tu­dors on the planet. So, could this be the Pla­tonic Ideal of a Black Bay? We think so. The Tu­dor Black Bay 58 is priced at $3,250 on a leather or fab­ric strap and $3,575 on an Oys­ter-style riv­eted steel bracelet.


One of the biggest sur­prises of this year’s SIHH had to do with the fact that, for the first time in as long as any­body could re­mem­ber, Panerai shifted direc­tions. For ex­am­ple, the new Base Logo model is an ideal en­try-level piece with an in-house move­ment for the as­pir­ing Paner­isti at less than $5,000, and the up­date to the Luminor Due line em­braced a whole new sta­tus quo for the brand. At 38 mm, this is Panerai’s small­est time­piece in re­cent his­tory. It fea­tures ev­ery sin­gle rec­og­niz­able Panerai trait such as the crown guard, sand­wich dial, raised bezel and cush­ion case but comes in an in­her­ently wear­able di­am­e­ter. For those who al­ways loved the dis­tinct Panerai look but wouldn’t dare wear one with a suit, this one's for you. It’s priced at $6,000.


Ge­orges Kern had a few im­me­di­ate goals when he be­came the head hon­cho at Bre­itling. One of those was a re­newed fo­cus on bring­ing col­lec­tors that felt alien­ated by the brand’s pre­vi­ous decade of mas­cu­line pos­tur­ing in over­sized cases and over­crowded di­als back into the fold. With that in mind, the new Nav­itimer 1 Au­to­matic 38 is the purest dis­til­la­tion of this new phi­los­o­phy. It es­chews the typ­i­cal chrono­graph com­pli­ca­tion that peo­ple have long as­so­ci­ated with the Nav­itimer yet keeps the clas­sic slide rule func­tion­al­ity on its outer bezel. Fur­ther dis­tin­guished by a bead bezel that ref­er­ences the orig­i­nal Nav­itimer from 1954, this up­date keeps the brand her­itage in full per­spec­tive while ven­tur­ing into new ter­ri­tory for the brand in re­cent years. 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.


The Omega Sea­mas­ter Aqua Terra Mas­ter Chronome­ter 38 mm was a part of the brand’s 2017 lineup. It was re­leased along­side two other Aqua Terra mod­els that came in at over 40 mm, but this stain­less-steel it­er­a­tion with a strik­ing blue dial and in­te­grated steel bracelet won over a lot of hearts dur­ing last year’s Basel­world showcase. The dial is sun­brushed and fea­tures the pop­u­lar hor­i­zon­tal line mo­tif that is in­spired by the wooden decks of vin­tage sail­boats. Inside the watch is Omega’s in-house Cal­iber 8800 that has been cer­ti­fied by METAS as a Mas­ter Chronome­ter. It’s priced at $5,500.


The Grand Seiko SBGH263 is a prime ex­am­ple of why the up­scale Ja­panese mar­que is one of the most re­mark­able watch brands work­ing to­day. Re­leased ear­lier this year as a lim­ited edi­tion, the stain­less-steel dress watch in­tro­duces a con­cept dial color called “Shi­roneri” that ref­er­ences the of­fwhite silk of a Ja­panese wed­ding dress. It’s a sim­ple time-and-date watch but the charisma of the dial, with its Ara­bic nu­mer­als (some­what rare for Grand Seiko) and re­fined pre­sen­ta­tion, is what makes it mem­o­rable. Pow­er­ing the 39.5-mm watch is Cal­iber 9S85, one of Grand Seiko’s renowned Hi-beat move­ments. It’s priced at $6,200.


One of the best watches Rolex in­tro­duced this year came in steel but it was not a sport or travel-time model. Sur­prised? Don’t be. The Rolex Oys­ter Per­pet­ual 39 has been con­tin­u­ously un­der­rated since it was first re­leased in 2015 and this year was no ex­cep­tion. Of­fered for the first time in white and black, both of the new monochro­matic vari­a­tions are su­perla­tive ex­am­ples of Rolex at its most ba­sic. In fact, the time-only model is the sim­plest time­piece that the brand pro­duces, mak­ing it a great point-of-en­try for neo­phyte col­lec­tors or those look­ing for a daily wearer that strad­dles the line be­tween dressy and ca­sual. Keep­ing with the theme of sim­plic­ity, there has been ab­so­lutely noth­ing changed on the inside or out­side of this watch other than the dial color. The Rolex Oys­ter Per­pet­ual 39 in white and black is priced at $5,700.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.