Historically, men’s watches have featured cases less than 40 mm in diameter, from WWI trench watches to iconic luxury watches like the 1950s Rolex Oyster. And although fashion is cyclical in nature, the pendulum appears to be stuck on big, bold watches for men with case sizes of 45 mm or more not uncommon. They tend to be bulky and often have loads of functions. However, if you’re a guy with a small wrist, you may have noticed that a watch with a big case and dial makes your hands and arms look childish. The solution? A watch with a 38 mm or less case.
So what is considered small for a man’s wrist? If you can wrap a US paper currency around your wrist at the bone, your wrist size is smaller than 6.5 inches (17 cm) in diameter. A case size of 38 mm or less will fit you better proportionately. In general, these watches will also have a smaller lug to lug measurement. Watches with smaller cases are usually thinner too, which is good news for collectors. It takes more advanced skills to craft the movement for a thin watch.
Our Top Picks
In addition to a smaller and thinner case, look for a watch with fewer embellishments like a large crown or pushers and a band style that pairs well with a smaller wrist. Since watches for men with small wrists are harder to find these days, we’re here to help with our list of the 10 best 38 mm or less watches for slim wrists. It includes a variety of brands, styles, features, and prices. And when the fashion pendulum swings again, you’ll be in step with the times.