It’s Time to Get into Small Watches

A funny thing happened when the smartphone took over all of our timekeeping needs: Men got really into watches. Aesthetics (as opposed to pure horological utility) became everything. Some guys went the über-macho route, strapping on pieces reminiscent of the wrist cannons Sylvester Stallone was fond of wearing in the ’90s. Others went for pure blinged-out maximalism, which peaked around the time Beyoncé gave Jay-Z a $5 million icy Hublot for his 43rd birthday. But along the way, an undercurrent of enthusiasts sought to correct course with quieter, smaller vintage timepieces—and all of a sudden, the status-symbol watch shrank. That’s because for most of history, men’s watches have measured less than 40 millimeters in diameter, from World War I trench watches right up to the iconic pieces from the 1950s like the Rolex Explorer. Now that the best watches of 2018 are getting smaller and dressier watches again, watchmakers (Hublot among them) are cutting weight. And once you put on one of these low-profile mechanical beauties, anything larger will feel downright gauche. The four you see here all clock in at 36 millimeters or less—and since “subtle” is synonymous with “versatile” in watch-speak, you’ll be able to wear any one of them till the end of time.

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