In need for a new 36mm watch to add to your collection? Here are some of the best 36mm watches right now, ranging from luxury to affordable.
When it comes to watch sizes, 36mm is a great option. Neither too small nor too large, 36mm watches slide right into that Goldilocks zone for a wide range of wrists, including slender ones.
Although these days it’s more common to find men’s watches hovering around the 40mm mark, thankfully there are still some solid choices for smaller watches for men if you know where to search.
Whether you’re looking to spend a pretty penny or a moderate sum, below you’ll find our top picks for 36mm watches to suit an assortment of tastes and lifestyles.
Rolex Day-Date 36
Bring the cash because owning the so-called Rolex President will cost you. $31,550 in fact for a Rolex Day-Date 36 with a solid 18k yellow gold 36mm case paired with the famed semi-circular link bracelet.
The Day-Date watch gets its name from the pair of calendar windows on the dial that indicates—you guessed it—the day and date while the Presidential nickname stems from the watch’s must-have status among the world’s most powerful people.
Of course, this being a modern Rolex watch, inside the case is an in-house automatic movement offering some of the best precision ratings in the market for a mechanical timepiece.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 37
With a 37mm case, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 37 is ever so slightly larger than our other options. Yet, that little extra space (and $16,500 price tag) is worth it to wear one of the watch world’s most iconic designs.
Sporting an octagonal bezel dotted with exposed screws, a hobnail “Grande Tapisserie” dial pattern, and a superb integrated bracelet, this automatic time and date Royal Oak in stainless steel still packs a major style punch despite its restrained proportions.
Santos de Cartier Medium
Cartier recently revamped its famous Santos watch, which was first invented for pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont.
In true Cartier fashion, the refreshed Santos watch sticks to its century-old design roots with its square case, Roman numerals, and blue sword-shaped hands, yet features the added practicality of an easy-to-use interchangeable bracelet system so the watch can change its look as often as you do.
Among the different versions, we like the versatility of the automatic two-tone Santos de Cartier Medium, sized at 35.1mm and priced at $9,100.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36
Most pilot watches in today’s market are oversized but IWC, the masters of pilot watches, makes a solid version with a 36mm stainless steel case.
Meet the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36, which has all the familiar military aviation design traits, such as the triangle plus double-dot combo at 12 o’clock, simple Arabic numerals, and legible minutes/seconds track around the dial periphery.
Yet, this one also qualifies as a dressier everyday watch option thanks to its vibrant blue dial and matching blue leather strap. Price: $4,150.
Tudor Black Bay 36
One of the most practical watches a man can own is an understated stainless steel watch with a black dial and an automatic movement—it just works with so many different looks and occasions.
And that is precisely what we have here in the form of the Tudor Black Bay 36 with a 36mm steel case waterproof to 150 meters, steel link bracelet fitted with a safety clasp, black dial with lume filled indexes and “Snowflake” hands, and a self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve.
The essentials for a relatively reasonable $2,900.
Oris Diver Sixty-Five 36
In the realm of tool watches, dive watches are notoriously big and hefty. But as Oris demonstrates, they don’t have to be.
The vintage-inspired Divers Sixty-Five collection is a revival of a 1965 Oris dive watch, complete with a retro size option of 36mm.
The Oris Diver Sixty-Five 36, priced at $1,900, may look like it was designed 50 years ago, but it comes with modern touches like a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal clamped down by a black undirecitonal timing bezel, an automatic movement to power the time and instantaneous date, and Superluminova luminescence on the blue dial.
Longines Conquest Chronograph 36
Scaled-down sporty chronograph watches are few and far between these days, yet Longines makes a good one.
The Longines Conquest Chronograph features a 36mm stainless steel case water resistant to 300 meters, a black dial with a trio of registers and a date window, and a stainless steel link bracelet.
For practicality of use and to keep the price at $1,225, this Swiss-made chronograph runs on a quartz movement.
Movado Heritage Series Celestograf
The Movado Heritage Series Celestograf has a lot going on in terms of complications but manages to keep it compact inside its 36mm yellow gold ion-plated stainless steel case.
On the navy dial sits three subdials for the day, date, and moon phase indicators, protected by sapphire crystal, while inside the case is a Swiss quartz movement.
Paired with a cognac leather strap with white top top-stitching, this Movado looks more expensive than its $675 price tag.
Laco Vintage “Used Look” 36
If you're on the hunt for 36mm watches, browsing through vintage-inspired timepieces is almost always the best place to look.
Case in point is this handsome German-made Laco Vintage “Used Look” 36mm watch with a stainless steel case treated to look like it has seen some years.
The watch also dons an understated time-only black dial with Arabic numerals, a half onion winding crown, and a distressed leather strap.
Beneath the transparent caseback is a modified Miyota automatic movement. This Laco Vintage will set you back $480 and comes with the option of a free case engraving.
Seiko 5 SNK793
When it comes to value-driven timepieces, Seiko makes some of the best out there. And the Seiko 5 SNK793 has been a favorite among enthusiasts for a long time. Retailing for just $175 (but often on sale for less than $70), you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Inside the 36mm case is an automatic movement that serves to power the time, date, and day functions while the blue dial contrasts nicely with the all stainless steel construction.
Timex MK1 Military 36mm
A re-issue of the 1980’s Camper model, the Timex MK1 Military 36mm is fitted with a green resin case, a green military-inspired Grosgrain strap, and a matching green dial with both 12-hour and 24-hour scales.
The straightforward army field watch runs on a quartz movement, is water resistant to 30 meters, and costs $75—so you can take it into the great outdoors without worrying about damaging it.
It's clear that 36mm watches come in all sorts of shapes, styles, and price points, which is great news if you have a smaller wrist. After all, a watch that not only looks good but also fits well is one that you will be happy to wear more often.