Will The Trend For Small Watches Coming Back In 2023?
After entering the 1990s, the trend of increasing the size of watches gradually began. The size of various brands' watches, whether sports or dress watches, has gradually increased, from 36mm to 38mm, then to 40mm, and even to more than 44mm. This makes people wonder if consumers and watch collectors really need such a large and heavy watch? Before giving the answer, let's look at the world's largest and smallest watches at first.
The smallest watch in the world
Speaking of the smallest watch in the world, we have to mention the Joaillerie 101 Rivière jewelry watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre. In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom held the coronation ceremony, and the Swiss government specially customized the world's smallest watch as an official gift.
This exquisite charm, which functions as both a bracelet and a watch, is outfitted with the world's smallest mechanical movement 101, which Jaeger-LeCoultre developed in 1929. This movement has 98 parts, is 14x4.8x3.4mm in size, and weighs only 1 gram. This watch features 110 diamonds above VVS clarity set in two rows on a rose gold bracelet. It has become an eternal classic in the history of world watches and clocks, set against a background of diamonds and rose gold, and highlights the royal temperament of the queen.
The biggest watch in the world
The biggest watch in the world is the Musk MR2129 from Japan. This watch has a diameter of 90mm! Wearing it on your hand feels like wearing a clock or a water meter! In comparison to the exquisiteness of the smallest watch, this enormous watch is extremely difficult to accept.
The Italian fashion brand Diesel's Daddy DZ7262 has a diameter of 66 mm. It is not difficult to discover that Diesel sports watches with a large diameter truly express their personalities. A Diesel sports watch typically has a diameter of more than 50 mm.
In fact, the trend of large watches may have originated in Italy.
Reasons for the popularity of large watches throughout History
Watches were daily necessities for comfort and beauty in the early twentieth century. Many people overlook the fact that people's nutritional conditions in the previous century were far worse than they are today, as were their height and body shape. The average height of American men increased from 168cm in the 1950s to 178cm today. It can be seen that watch enlargement is also for the needs of the human body.
Audemars Piguet was the first to introduce the forward-thinking Royal Oak Offshore sports watch in 1993. The diameter of this sports steel watch was 42 mm, making it a behemoth in the watch market at the time! However, Audemars Piguet's audacious attempt was not without reason. Gueit, the Royal Oak Offshore's designer, conducted market research and discovered that women at the time preferred to wear their husbands' watches, i.e. men's watches. Because this phenomenon indicates that the market requires larger-sized watches to refine user needs, Gueit boldly submitted a design draft with a diameter of 42 mm. Although it was initially rejected by the market, Italians in the fashion capital have always been trend setters and took the lead in accepting the Royal Oak Offshore series watch, which quickly became popular and ushered in the era of large-size steel watches.
Catalysis of functional requirements
After the quartz crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, Swiss watches tried to market mechanical watches as luxury items that showed off the wearer's personality instead of just a way to tell time. As a result of diverse designs, complex functions, and refined craftsmanship, mechanical watches have been redefined and upgraded. Calendars, perpetual calendars, and moon phases have all been incorporated into mechanical watches. For diving, flying, and sailing, the specifications are also more specific. As a result of the catalysis of diverse functions and scenarios, the size of watches is also increasing.
The big watch trend is gradually fading while the small watch trend has returned
After the year 2005, the size of watches became a kind of competition. Lots of brands launched larger watches one after the other to demonstrate that they are large enough, heavy enough, and tough enough, and to demonstrate that they increase the quantity without increasing the price. Fans of Panerai, for example, buy Panerai watches regardless of wrist size because they are large and thick. It's fine for Panerai, a tough-guy style brand that focuses on big and thick, to release larger watches, but many artistic brands, such as Breguet, do the same. However, this distorted trend may end in 2023!
Parmigiani Fleurier, a relatively popular brand at the moment, has also begun to shrink and reform its luxury formal dress watch, the TONDA PF reduced from 40mm to 36mm in diameter. Tudor's dive watches were originally 42mm in diameter, and Tudor has now begun to try to release the smaller and thinner Pelagos 39, which has been reduced from 42mm to 39mm in diameter.
The chronograph is the least likely to change, but it is also starting to change as well! Blancpain Air Commander, for example, has been reduced from a super large diameter of 42.5mm to a diameter of 36mm. This year, many brands are changing, including GS, Cartier, GP, Hamilton, Mido, Tissot, Breguet, Omega, and others.
In fact, many watch collectors have been requesting that watches be made smaller, and the range that most people can enjoy is 36mm to 38mm. As the surge of watches held hostage by capital has subsided, more and more brands are beginning to develop products rationally, which is encouraging. The larger the diameter of the watch, the higher and higher the chassis of the automobile. It is a distorted trend. Fortunately, these distorted trends have returned in recent years.
But imagine if you're used to the size of the iPhone PLUS and are asked to switch back to a small-screen phone. You'll never get used to it. The same can be said for watches. When you get used to a larger diameter watch and want to switch back to a smaller one, you may feel as if something is missing. But there is a rule for everything. I believe that human aesthetics will not continue to evolve at this rate indefinitely. After all, PLUS is useless if it can’t be held in your hand. Also, it's pointless if you can't wear a watch, no matter how big it is. So it's only what suits you that’s important.
Will watches with small and medium diameters be able to make a full comeback this year? We’ll see.