Do I think that smaller is better? Yes. And to demonstrate this, let’s look at the Swiss Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m replica in its new 39.5mm version. We can’t hide the fact that, since 15 years, watches have drastically increased in terms of dimensions – in thickness for sure, but mainly in diameter.
Even if you have a larger wrist, is a 46mm watch the best option, especially on a daily basis, in a business environment? Not sure – and that’s a fact that the head over me, Frank Geelen, will validate. However, I can ensure you that I’m not the only one in this case. On certain markets, such as Asia, it is known that the average size of the wrist is lower. Why am I going there? You see, if I take myself as an example, I do have a small wrist. I’ve measured it several times and, that’s a fact, I’m below 17cm / 6.7inches – and no worries, I’m not complexed. Thus, the demand for smaller watches is also following the same trend. But this is not even the central point here.
Back on the point of interest of this article, the 39.5mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m copy watch. When we received the news prior to Baselworld 2016, we, at the redaction of Monochrome-Watches, immediately thought that this watch was not going to be a watch made for women only. Indeed, 39.5mm sounds like a nice diameter… for a man.
This year, just before Baselworld 2016, Omega announced a new collection for its iconic dive watch, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m – a rugged dive watch, with professional specifications, capable of being used and abused by proper divers. Because of this vocation, this watch was previously available in 42.5mm and 45.5mm cases, both relatively thick (over 16mm), simply because we are in front of a dive watch, meaning a strong case, with additional rotating bezel. But additionally, Omega showed to us a 39.5mm version of the PO 600m, which, after reading at the press release, was intended to be a ladies’ watch – something that most of us, watch journalists and bloggers, immediately denied, to call this watch “unisex” or even to be the perfect size for a daily use. Just for the story, the Planet Ocean already had a ladies’ version at 37.5mm.
This is kind of a norm nowadays. Or maybe it was…? More and more, we see watches being downsized. New generations of existing models are going smaller – not hugely, but slowly diameters are stagnating or even decreasing. It is now common to see a dress watch with a 41mm case and a dive watch with a 44mm diameter. This was definitely worth a try – a try that I extensively had, when Omega showed us the new Deep Black version of the Seamaster Planet Ocean. Well, the comparison was difficult, as moving from a 45.5mm watch to another at 39.5mm. That’s 6mm less, and in the watch world, it’s like going from a Bentley SUV to a Lotus Elise. The most surprising is that, in the end, we are talking about the same watch: same overall design, same dial, same bezel, same case, same vocation, same display… Same but better? Maybe not better, but clearly more to my tastes, and here is why.
It is not a matter of design here, because we told you, 39.5mm or 45.5mm editions share the same overall look. It is a matter of proportions and look on the wrist. Except if showing off is your thing – no judgment, to each his own – a bit of discretion is never bad. In most circumstances, being discreet is seen as a mark of good taste. The Seamaster PO is already a rather bulky watch, with a large bezel, large indexes and large hands. Even in this 39.5mm edition, it has a 14.16mm height – and over 16mm in the 43.5mm version. So combining this with a too large diameter might not be very elegant. Then, there’s the visual perception. Do you think that having a jacket in XL if you size M is elegant? Well, it might be the same for a watch. A 45mm watch on a 16cm / 6.5 inches wrist looks too big. No debate. The same kind of observations can be made for the aesthetics than for the comfort. If the void created between the lugs and your wrist is not helping to balance the watch, it won’t help this watch to be elegant either. If the lugs exceed your wrist, it will (that’s my personal opinion) be seen as if you borrowed your 2m high friend’s suit… not very sharp looking. And to obtain that, you need to try watches and to see what is the size that suits you better. I do prefer the 39.5mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m because it’s more comfortable, especially when worn on the metallic bracelet.
With a smaller watch, the caseback sits on the flat part of the wrist and the bracelet or the strap sits flat too, at its beginning, to then wrap around the wrist. This is the comfortable position. Well, a watch is supposed to wrap around your wrist, not to sit on top of your wrist. When you take a 45mm watch on a wrist like mine, it does not embrace the curvature of the wrist. You have a void under the lugs that creates and makes the mens fake Omega watch potentially unbalanced.