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Article: Small Watches - The Biggest Watch Trend of 2023

Celebrities Wearing Small Watches - The Biggest Watch Trend of 2023

Small Watches - The Biggest Watch Trend of 2023

While larger watches dominated the scene for several decades, small watches are now experiencing a resurgence in popularity. From Timothee Chalamet’s slim 33 mm Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classic Medium Duoface Small Second to Tyler the Creator’s impressive Cartier collection and Ben Affleck’s miniscule 25 mm Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex, the sight of A-list celebrities confidently sporting sleek, small watches has become increasingly common.

Tyler the Creator and Timothee Chalamet with Small Luxury watches

These moments of sartorial restraint not only prove that sometimes, less truly is more, but are also indicative of a wider shift in the horology space.

Here’s everything you need to know about small watches, the biggest wristwear trend of 2023

Returning to the Classics

Throughout horological history, wristwatches below the revered 40 mm mark have always been predominant.

From the time watches first transitioned from pockets to wrists in the early 20th century, all the way to the 1970s, timepieces generally remained modestly sized and elegantly proportioned. Case sizes between 30-35 mm were the norm, while those around 37-40 mm were considered oversized.

However, as we entered the 2000s, a wave of extravagance emerged, driving timepieces towards larger and bolder dimensions and resulting in 40 to 42 mm cases becoming the new standard.

The Rock Luxury Watch Collection

Individuals sought to make a distinctive statement with their pompous timepieces to boldly distinguish themselves, a famous example being American actor and former professional wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Renowned for his imposing stature and magnetic presence, The Rock made a statement with his choice of timepieces, often favoring bold and robust watches that perfectly complemented his larger-than-life persona. Among the notable watches seen adorning The Rock’s wrist in the 2000s were iconic models such as the Rolex Day-Date President, a timepiece notable for its opulence and prestige, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, a legendary sports watch notorious for its muscular design and oversized dimensions. The Rock’s affinity for large watches thus perfectly epitomized the way oversized timepieces became a symbol of status and confidence during the 2000s.

Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso Vintage Luxury Watch

Vintage Obsession

The growing popularity of vintage watches is one of the main reasons why small watches are on the rise, because any watch collector with an affinity for vintage pieces will be into wearing a smaller timepiece by default. Watches like the iconic Rolex Datejust 36 mm and the elegant Omega Seamaster DeVille 34 mm have become highly sought-after for their timeless designs and superb craftsmanship. These vintage gems offer a glimpse into the past, showcasing intricate details and charming aesthetics that continue to captivate collectors around the world. With their smaller dimensions, these watches exude a classic elegance and wearability that perfectly complements both formal and casual attire, making them enduring favorites among those with a discerning taste for vintage horology.

Enhanced Comfort

Apart from the resurgence of vintage watches, one of the most apparent advantages of wearing a small watch is the comfort it provides. Larger watches can feel like a constant weight on the wrist, and not every watch enthusiast has the same muscular build as The Rock to compensate for it. Smaller timepieces however, tend to be lighter and less obtrusive. The reduced size also allows the watch to sit more flush against the wrist, creating a comfortable fit for those with rounder wrist shapes.

Quietly Luxurious

Aesthetics play a crucial role in the appeal of small watches. Unlike their larger counterparts, small watches exhibit refined proportions and a sense of understated elegance. The compact size necessitates a more purposeful and intentional creation, showcasing the craftsmanship and attention to detail required to create such intricate timekeeping pieces.

Quiet Luxury Watches

In that manner, small, subdued watches go hand in hand with the recent rise of quiet luxury, which has been dominating the fashion and lifestyle space for the last months. Quiet luxury is all about sophistication without showing off, and small watches perfectly embody this concept by prioritizing quality over quantity and emphasizing the subtle details and high-end craftsmanship that only those in the know can appreciate.

Focus on Craftsmanship

Small watches celebrate the artistry and meticulous craftsmanship involved in their creation. Designing and producing a smaller timepiece requires careful planning and working within tighter constraints. From slim and compact movements to thin yet resilient cases, every element is engineered to ensure precision and durability. Choosing a small watch allows you to appreciate the mastery behind the intricate mechanisms that power these timepieces.

Technology’s Influence on Watch Design

The advent of mobile phones, particularly with the introduction of the iPhone, has had a profound impact on various industries, including watches. As our phones provide constant timekeeping, the traditional purpose of a watch has diminished. Watches have thus transcended their practicality and evolved into wearable works of art, celebrating craftsmanship and design. Since we no longer need oversized faces when time and date information is readily available on our phones, the importance of large watches has diminished. Technological advancements have led to smaller, sleeker watch designs, while the rise of smartwatches has prompted traditional brands to adapt and strike a balance between innovation and timeless appeal. In this evolving landscape, watchmakers push the boundaries of horological excellence, exemplified by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin, a masterpiece measuring just over 8 mm in thickness. This fusion of technology and artistry propels the industry forward, capturing the attention of watch enthusiasts and shaping the future of traditional watchmaking.

Personal Expression

Ultimately, your watch selection should be a reflection of your personal style and taste. While larger watches may attract attention for their size, small watches offer a more understated and discreet elegance. They allow you to make a statement without overpowering your entire ensemble, making them versatile options for both formal and casual occasions. 

Cartier Tank


As the trend of small watches gains momentum, watch lovers have the opportunity to explore the allure of these refined timepieces. Whether you value comfort, vintage aesthetics, craftsmanship, or personal expression, small watches offer a compelling choice for both men and women. By embracing the elegance and charm of smaller dimensions, you can elevate your style and celebrate the intricate artistry that lies within these timeless treasures.

Proper Caretaking

Any watch, no matter the size, needs proper caretaking. But particularly smaller, more delicate timepieces are prone to damages during transportation or from storage on harsh surfaces. That is why we at Charles Simon offer a wide range of premium accessories that keep your watches safe and secure in style. From luxurious watch briefcases to showcase your entire collection to compact watch rolls for traveling with your favorite timepiece and elegant watch stands to conveniently display your watches at home, Charles Simon has the right accessory for you.

Luxury Watch Accessories

And for all the watch lovers with slim or larger wrists, Charles Simon offers custom sizing to make sure that your accessories perfectly fit your watch size. No more struggling to close a wristband around a watch cushion that is way too big or timepieces slipping around an ill-fitting case, we make sure that your Charles Simon accessories are perfect for your unique requirements.

Not sure what those needs are yet? Consult our complete guide to watch accessories to find out what kind of accessory best fits into your life.

If you already have a clear vision and prefer to do things your way, please contact our Bespoke Service and our dedicated team of designers, craftsmen and engineers will be delighted to bring your idea to life.


Written by Elizabeth Hanisch

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