The Oversized Vintage Watches of Yesteryear Are Perfectly Sized Today
Today, most men’s watches tend to hover around 40mm to 42mm in diameter. Too big, at least for some. Likewise, the watches of yesteryear tended to run around 33mm to 36mm. Too small for modern wearers. There is, however, something of a sweet spot: 38mm, a size that seamlessly slots between both sensibilities. There are a considerable amount of 38mm watches today, but back in the mod 20th century, a fair share of watchmakers produced “jumbo” sized watches that crept into this range. They’re fairly sought-after today, and thus can cost a pretty penny, but they’re undoubtedly some of the most wearable timepieces out there.
What we like: This classy Omega from the ’50s measures in at 38mm and is part of a general trend of larger, “Calatrava” cased watches from the era. The Omega uses a simple hand-winding movement and overall looks to be in excellent shape.
From the seller: The leaf style minute and hour hand are in perfect, unmarked condition and are in steel, with a blued steel sub second hand. The stainless steel case is in very fine condition with strong lugs all round. The watch has been fully serviced by our watchmaker.
What we like: This Longines has the sleek, minimalist aesthetic you’d expect from a modern watch, but according to the seller, it dates back to the 1940s. Its thin bezel, clean design and slender hands are all reminiscent of the Bauhaus movement’s guiding principles, yet at 37.5mm it’s surprisingly big for its age. Still, that’s pretty much the sweet spot for a time-only watch these days.
From the seller: This Longines is in good vintage condition. The case appears unpolished and untouched. The dial shows an even patina across the dial, normal wear-and-tear for these snapback, non-waterproof Longines from this era.
What we like: Today, Breitling has practically become synonymous with super big watches, but its classic chronographs from the 20th century were a lot smaller, like most other sports watches. The “Jumbo” Breitling Premier here is an exception, with a big-for-the-time 38mm case — 3mm larger than the standard model — protecting the hand-winding Venus chronograph movement inside.
From the seller: The stainless steel case is in extraordinary condition, showing factory finishing and no signs of over-polishing to the lugs. White dial with Radium Arabic numbers is in excellent condition with crisp printing and a light stippling consistent with age; one light spot at 11:00.
The industry is trending toward watches that wear on the larger side, but a growing interest in vintage pieces may suggest new love for small watches. Read the Story