Rolex watches are among the most sought-after timepieces on the planet, and the company has made a name for itself by building tough, attractive watches that stand the test of time and hold their value well.
Though it’s not necessarily known for making giant watches like so many others today, Rolex’s case sizes have increased in recent years, as new designs have crept into the catalog.
That’s great for folks with big wrists or those that want to make a statement, but what about everyone else? Not everyone can pull off a 40+ mm watch, but there’s no reason to worry for people with small wrists.
Rolex offers several new models with case sizes that are suitable for all wrist sizes, from the smallest to the beefiest.
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Remember, you don’t have to look that far back in time to find an era where small watches were the norm. In fact, it used to be a sign of quality that watchmakers could fit precise movements and technologies into a small package.
Today’s Rolex catalog offers something for everyone, so let’s take a look at the current Rolex models that are best for people with smaller wrists.
Short on time? Here are our top two picks for the best Rolex watches for small wrists:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
The Best Rolex Watches for Small Wrists
Here they are…
1. Explorer I
There are two directions you could go with the original Explorer, usually just referred to as the Explorer I.
Three reference numbers come to mind here: the 14270, 114270, and 214270. Both the 14270 and 114270 are 36mm watches, which makes them ideal for smaller wrists, and even the 214270, with its 39mm case, looks and feels great on wrists of all sizes.
Part of that magic is the Rolex Oyster Case, which for the Explorer means a slim, curved profile on the wrist with a reasonable lug-to-lug measurement.
The Oyster Bracelet that’s paired with that case is one of the most comfortable to ever grace a wristwatch. Rolex has a way with bracelets, and in this case it’s so smooth, soft, and flexible that it almost feels like cloth.
There’s no pinching or pulling of hair, and the easy adjustment feature on the 214270 makes finding a comfortable fit a breeze.
It’s also fun to think about the heritage behind the Explorer. It was originally developed for the Mount Everest expeditions in the mid-1950s and retains most of its original style today.
There’s no date window to clutter up the dial, and the newer models have 3-6-9 markers laid out with actual numbers that make the dial pop.
2. Oyster Perpetual
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. The Oyster Perpetual is available in a variety of sizes, and nearly all of them work for small wrists.
In the last few years, Rolex created a 39mm variant of the watch that shares its case and movement with the Explorer I, but for purists and people without huge wrists, the 34mm or 36mm sizes work perfectly.
Buyers that need an even smaller size will be happy to find a 26mm Oyster Perpetual in the lineup.
Since it shares a case and movement with the Explorer I, the Oyster Perpetual is a tough watch, despite its dressy appearances. It’s available in a variety of colors as well, from a grape-purple hue to bright white.
Unlike the Explorer, which uses Rolex’s iconic “Mercedes” hands, the Oyster Perpetual uses stick hands and hour markers that give it a unique upscale look. It’s also one of the least expensive new Rolex models you can buy, making it attractive from all angles.
The Datejust, especially with its fluted bezel and dazzling Jubilee bracelet, is one of the most recognizable Rolex watches around. It’s the one your grandpa had, and the one that seems to come up for sale most often on watch forums across the internet.
Its commonness might make you think that it’s not that great of a watch, but few others across the industry offer the same level of flexibility and class that comes with a Datejust.
Just like the Oyster Perpetual, the Datejust is available in a variety of sizes and configurations, which includes a choice of metals, bezel style, dial color, and more. Sizes range from 31mm to the most recent release, which is a 41mm.
Metal choices include yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold, and the dial can be adorned with diamonds in some cases. The larger Datejust models are extremely flexible and are able to be worn from the boardroom to the beach without issue at all.
One thing Rolex does well is build tough watches and the Datejust fits the bill. On top of its ultimate flexibility, the watch has water resistance of up to 330ft, the same convenient easy-adjust clasp with 5mm of extension, and a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
4. Vintage Rolex
Vintage doesn’t have to mean ancient, and in the case of Rolex a trip just a few years back in time opens up a world of possibilities for small wrists.
You won’t find the same exotic materials used in today’s models, like Cerachrom ceramic bezels, but you will find the same tank-tough watches we all lust after today, and you’ll likely find a lower price as well.
Older model Datejusts, Dates, Precisions, and even the oddball Cellini are available at much lower prices than their cutting edge counterparts, and are available without the long waits at an authorized dealer.
If you’re shopping older Rolex models, it’s key to verify the seller and make sure that what you’re buying is a legitimate watch, because counterfeits have gotten so good that it’s almost impossible to pick a fake from an authentic one with a quick visual inspection.
No matter the Rolex you choose, you’ll be getting a quality timepiece that can last a lifetime if you take care of it. It’s best to try the watch on before buying, but that’s not always possible with online buying.
The good news is that Rolexes hold their value very well and even gain value over time in many cases. Do you research, shop carefully, and you’ll be able to find the watch that fits your wrist and your budget.