Looking for the best watches for small wrists? Sick of oversized, bulky watches that look way too big for you? You’re in the right place!
When you wear a watch that’s too big for your wrist, it makes your hands and arms look smaller and weaker than they really are, and let’s face it: no guy wants to look weak and dainty, right?
The problem is, oversized, bulky watches have been super trendy for the past few years. So when you go to the store or shop for watches online, it’s tough to find smaller options (anything under 40mm, for example).
These contemporary watches would look absolutely ridiculous 30 or 40 years ago, as men used to wear smaller watches, regardless of wrist size.
My point is, trends come and go, and watch size will vary with the times.
Rather than trying to keep up with trends, you should wear watches that fit your build. They should be proportionate to your wrist.
If you have small wrists, wear a small watch! But what is a smaller watch, anyway?
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best watches for small wrists you can buy right now:
The SNK807 is a popular offering from the iconic brand, and the 37mm face size is a good option for smaller wrists.
If you're looking for an inexpensive watch with retro charm, the F91W is what you need.
The Hamilton Jazzmaster is more of a luxury watch so it's not very budget friendly, but it sure is stylish.
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Watch Size Explained
There are several ways to measure the size of a watch, such as the lug to lug width, strap width and case thickness. All of these dimensions are almost always measured in millimeters.
You want to pay close attention to the size of the case (specifically, the case diameter).
When people talk about watch size, they’re usually talking about case diameter. So if someone says they’re looking for watches under 40mm, they mean watches with case diameters of less than 40 millimeters.
Watch case size is extremely subject to change based on whatever is trendy, but it seems that the “average” watch case these days is around 40mm.
Unfortunately, even that is too big for men with small wrists.
Note: If you’re not sure whether you have thin wrists, you should measure them. Use tailor tape to measure around the widest point of your wrist – right over the bone. Anything less than 6.5″ can be considered thin.
You might be able to wear 40mm watches if they have thin cases and a shorter lug-to-lug distance, but your best bet is to stick with something smaller (less than 40mm in case diameter).
Types of Watches
Luckily, there are plenty of small men’s watches to choose from, no matter the budget. From affordable, everyday watches to luxury timepieces, guys with smaller wrists have plenty of options to choose from:
You can also check out these posts for more specific recommendations:
- 12 Beautiful Dress Watches for Small Wrists
- Top 7 Best Dive Watches for Small Wrists
- 16 Awesome Field Watches for Small Wrists
- Top 25 Small Automatic Watches
If you’re not sure what kind of watch you want, but you know it has to be on the smaller side, this next section will be very helpful.
Top 31 Small Watches (Sortable Table)
The table below lists 31 “Modest Man approved” watches that are perfect for men with small wrists.
This list covers a wide variety of styles and prices, so it’s a good place to start if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
You can sort by price to find a watch that fits your budget:
- $………….Less than $50
- $$………..From $50-200
- $$$………From $200-500
- $$$$…….From $500-1,000
- $$$$$…..More than 1,000
You can also sort by type, but rather than going into all of the different types of watches – dress, diver, field, sport, etc. – let’s just categorize these watches by formality (see graphic above):
- Formal = Business formal or black/white tie
- Smart = Business or “smart” casual
- Casual = Shorts, jeans and t-shirt, gym wear, etc.
After all, it doesn’t really matter what type of watch it is. It only matters when you can wear it. Of course, this stuff is very subjective, so don’t overthink it 😉
Got it? Good. Now it’s time to audit your watch collection, set a budget and use this list to find your next watch.
31 Great Small Men’s Watches
How Many Watches Do You Need?
I usually keep about six pieces in my watch collection, but you definitely don’t need this many.
Unless you’re a watch enthusiast or collector, you don’t need tons of different watches in your collection. At the very least, make sure you have one dress watch and one casual watch (like a diver).
Your dress watch should be sleek and minimal with a clean face. I prefer leather straps, and my go to color is brown (since most of my dress shoes are brown).
Your casual watch can be a diver, a field watch, a chronograph or whatever style you like. You can go with a leather, metal, rubber, nylon or canvas strap.
Swap Your Watch Straps
Since almost all watches have interchangeable bands (e.g., NATO straps), it’s a good idea to keep some extras on hand (pun intended).
A new strap will change the whole vibe of a watch, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a whole new watch. The Timex Weekender is a great example of a budget watch that can be dressed up or down with different bands.
Stick with 18mm or 20mm straps (22mm will be too wide), and try to experiment with different materials and colors.
Questions About Watches For Small Wrists
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about watches for smaller wrists:
Which Type of Watch Is Good for Small Wrist?
Anything watch under 40mm should be good for a smaller wrist, but to be safe, try to wear watches that are 38mm or smaller.
Use this watch size calculator if you’re not sure how to find the best size.
Do Watches Look Good on Small Wrists?
Yes! As long as they’re the right size, watches looks great on smaller wrists.
Can Guys With Small Wrists Wear Big Watches?
You can wear whatever size watch you like, but big watches look oversized on smaller wrists (making your wrist look smaller and thinner).
How Do You Deal With Small Wrists?
There’s nothing wrong with having smaller wrists. If you want your wrist to look bigger, try wearing a smaller watch.
What Considered a Small Wrist?
There is no universal definition of “small wrist” but anything under 6.5″ around could be considered slender.
Why Do I Have Tiny Wrists?
Wrist size is mostly genetically determined. Body fat percentage can increase or decrease the size of your wrist, but your bones and joints don’t change.
How Tight Should a Watch Be?
A watch should be tight enough that the case doesn’t slide around to the underside of your wrist, but not so tight that it cuts of circulation or leaves a deep indentation on your skin.
The Key Takeaway
Just remember this: if you have small and thin wrists (less than 6.5″ around), you should wear proportionately small watches (i.e., ones that have a case diameter of less than 40mm).
Whether it’s a dress watch or casual watch, try to keep it small. Every watch on the list above is a great choice for men with small wrists.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!
Daniel P says
I just wanted to add that wrist size can indeed be increased trough added muscle mass from training or heavy work.
Apart from the wrists, indeed even bones can increase in size due to heavy weight.
Brent Spiel says
Do you have even a single fact to back that up?
Finding a decent watch “one and that’s all” watch for myself. 135mm woman 29year old. No body seems to know I would be glad if you could suggest. A mechanical watch. Don’t like quartz. Budget 10k. All I can see is jewellery watches which r not appropriate in society I live.
With a 10k budget why not a Rolex Oyster Perpetual (probably 34mm)? It’s a great everyday, do everything watch that’ll last forever.
There’s a bit of ambiguity/confusion here; you mention case diameter (which is obvious), then you list “31 Great Small Men’s Watches” which categorizes “Face Size”. Are they both the same? To me, “Face Size” means crystal diameter. So, which is it?
Good point, sorry about that! Case diameter is the actual measurement. Technically, dial or “face” diameter would be slightly smaller, depending on how thick the bezel is. The terms shouldn’t actually be used interchangeably, but they often are.
I would suggest the Omega Speedmaster Co-axial 38mm https://www.omegawatches.com/en-us/watch-omega-speedmaster-38-co-axial-chronometer-chronograph-38-mm-32430385001001 I have 6″ wrist and the 38mm is a great alternative to the Speedmaster Professional that sits at 42mm.
It’s certainly not a cheap watch, but you can rest assured that you are wearing a very high quality timepiece that will last you a long time, and can be an heirloom piece.
The American Independent watch company called Vaer has a huge lineup of 36 mm watches. Mostly field but one dress one and another dress. One coming out. A great dirty dozen remake. All of their watches are amazingly priced, Great movements, 100 m of water resistance, and sapphire.
I have a Vaer watch. I love their build quality and size options. I am always checking if they’re coming out with new models that aren’t field or dive watches.
Nevertheless, I love the brand.
I’ve struggle with watches that look good on me especially with a wrist of only 6 inches. I’m also on the shorter side at only 5’5. The one watch I own that fits pretty well is the Seiko 5 automatic 21 jewels, however, the style of the watch is not really what i’m going for. I’m much more interested in watches that are thin and have a minimalist look similar to the Skagen signatur. The problem is that most of the ones I’ve found have a case diameter of 40mm or more and I think a 36 or so would fit me perfectly. I also really liked the look of the Citizen Eco drive that someone previously mentioned as this one had a case diameter 36mm. I’m hoping you all have some recommendations as I have had the worst experience with watches.
Here are the links to the ones i mentioned for referencing the style I really like.
Any help from others who have discovered awesome smaller sized watches would be very greatly appreciated.
Check out theslenderwrist.com 😉
Very practical article for those men with smaller wrists. I made the mistake of buying oversized watches in the beginning of my watch addiction. I now know better and stick to the 36-40mm range with 37mm and 38mm hitting the sweet spot depending on the lug to lug ratio. I have become a fan of Japanese watches partially. I believe they manufacture more watch varieties for those with smaller wrists. Having lived in Japan for a number of years, the men in Japan, not all of course, tend to have more modest wrist sizes than their European counterparts. The Casio lineage and some of the smaller diameter Oceanus get a thumbs up in my opinion. It is frustrating that these JDM (Japanese Domestic Models) are not marketed in the states
Paul Cole says
Exactly right. I have 6.25 inch wrists and most modern Swiss watches are too large. Not much to choose from below 40mm and the lugs are too long also. Made the mistake of buying 40mm Tissot watches (Heritage Sovereign and Heritage Visodate), nice watches but they do look too big. As dress watches there should be 38mm options. Oris used to do them but not so much now, glad I bought my 37mm Oris Classic when I did. Seiko have some great 37/38mm models and they always fit well so will be sticking with these in future. Also the Junghans Max Bill wears really well on a thin wrist.
I have a 6.4″ wrist.
I am considering a square-framed Breda Visser watch @ 35mm case width.
Do you feel that having a square face will make the watch seem larger and dwarf my wrist?
How small is too small?
I have found a neat round face vintage Peugeot watch for $50.
The case width is pretty small, 30mm, but the lug to lug looks like it widens it up a little bit.
The design looks gender neutral.
Based on my wrist, do you feel I could get away with something this small, or would it appear more like a women’s watch?
Thanks for you help,
Dan Technology says
I have 6″ wrists! I find if the watch has a thinner bezel then it needs to have a smaller diameter to look right. I have a classic style 36mm daniel Wellington type watch that almost looks too big. Plain face and thin bezel. I then have a couple of chunky 40mm diameter automatics that have quite busy faces and they look quite balanced on my wrist. The thicker bezel actually makes the faces slightly smaller than the daniel Wellington style watch. Just my 2 cents/pence!
Spot on.. The bezel and dial face should always be considered
This is solid!
John REGAN says
I need a low to Medium priced watch for work. Prefer an expansion band. My wrist size 6 1/2 in. Circumference. Any ideas .
You gotta go into your own business selling watches because of your knowledge and above all honest and respectful demeanor, very convincing and likable.
What is the smallest case diameter for a Casio G Shock? Thanks
The Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch with Date, BM8240-03E has a 36mm case and really sharp mid-century styling.
C. M. says
Damn, wish I found this blog a year ago; I finally had to start wearing a watch cause I realized it’d be inappropriate/inconvenient to always be pulling out my phone where I was gonna be over the summer. But apparently thin-boned guys don’t wear watches, else you’d think it’d be easier to find proportional ones! Ended up getting a unisex-looking Casio women’s watch that’s almost too *small* (barely 30mm) cause I didn’t have time to be store hopping just for a casual watch. Now that I know more about watches I’m thinking of upgrading, though…
I didn’t know where to ask this, decided to ask this here. What do you think about large phones for small hands? I am 5’2 and have small hands. I am thinking of getting a phone that has a 5.8 inch screen. My current phone has a 4.7 inch screen. I am worried that it’ll make my hands look smaller and feminine. What is your opinion on this?
Just my 2 cents:
As someone with large hands, I would not recommend going for a 5.8 inch phone if your hands are as small as you claim. It doesn’t look nice, but more than that you may find it quite tricky to handle a phone of that size. In fact I’m thinking of shifting to a 4.7 inch screen (probably the Iphone 8) because of the convenience that it offers, and this is despite having really big hands..!
Brock, what do you think about Timex Marlin? Do you think it would look feminine because of its small size?
No, I don’t think it is too feminine. I prefer smaller sizes, actually.
Would you say that’s a good watch? I’m new to this.
Depends what you’re looking for. When would you wear it? Do you own any watches now?
I was thinking with business casual outfits. Maybe even with a suit. I have a diver watch and the Bulova dress watch you suggest in this post (except in black, I don’t like gold color).
Christy Durell says
Some great points made here Brock. I’d love to hear your opinion on bracelets and stacking them with watches. Would make a great video! Cheers.
Julia Kirwan says
My husband has a 30mm Movado watch that is a beautiful low profile, weighs less than a nickle, and is perfect for a smaller wrist. (He isn’t a small man, about 5’9″). I wish someone would make watches this size again! He has a Citizen Eco Drive watch that is smaller too, but the internal battery needs to be replaced for $75 and I thought I could buy another watch and get him “new” for just a bit more than the Citizen. I haven’t really found one, so we are replacing the battery.
PLEASE WATCH MAKERS – SOME GUYS WANT A SMALLER WATCH, NOT A “STATEMENT” PIECE THAT KNOCKS INTO EVERYTHING!
I’m with you, Julia! The Citizen Stiletto is a great choice too.
My current favorite everyday wristwatch is the Seiko Men’s Solar Watch. I’ve worn mine daily for over five years without any problems. It keeps accurate time. The Seiko has a “military” look. The watch strap that comes with the Seiko is crappy so I purchased several different NATO watch straps to give it an upgraded look. With a 40 mm case, it’s the perfect size for my small wrist and sometimes forget that I’m wearing it. Best of all, it’s cheap (a little over US$100) and solar battery powered so no battery replacement needed.
Another wristwatch brand that’s perfect for short guys are those made by a British company called Nite Watches. Their watches have a 39 mm case. I don’t have one yet, but the MX10-201S is on my wish list.
Tom Howe says
Most all vintage men’s watches are smaller. I have amassed a nice collection of smaller watches shopping on ebay. I prefer to buy only automatics since they can sit in a drawer indefinitely and still run when you need them.
For a higher end watch, both Tag Heuer and Hamilton still sell automatic watches at 39mm. Just include the “<40" in your search of Amazon or any online retailer.
Hey Brock, what do you think about the Citizen BM8180-03E ? It has a diameter of 37mm but its thickness is 9mm. Would it be appropriate for someone with small wrists?
Yes I think so. Great choice for something casual.
jac zagoory says
Sam is spot on. It’s important to have these discussions without being biased to price. Any collector can talk watches with any other collector, without the fear of being judged on their buying capacity. One may covet a $300 watch, as much as, the $30,000, $300, 000, or $1,000,000 watch anyone’s deep pockets may be able to buy. Design, complication, aesthetics
should be the criteria—everyone values time differently.
Sam Chua says
Favourite small wrist watch is the NOMOS Glashutte Club 701 (36mm)
In watch circles $ is the sub $500 watches and $500 to $1500 would be considered $$
$$$ is $1500 to $15000 and $$$$ would be $15,000 and up.
I just noticed that the Weekender is apparently just 35mm in diameter.
I can’t believe that none of these companies has a search or filter function which allows you to sort by case thickness or diameter. Especially something like Timex with a ton of watches.
I hear you on that! Luckily, Amazon has every filter you can imagine in the men’s wrist watch section, including case diameter.
fraser pears says
Excuse me for saying this Brock, you keep focusing on the case size of the watch when it’s the total length of the timepiece that’s the problem. Extended lugs or lugs which do not follow the curvature of the wrist contributes far more to an ill fitting watch.
Plenty of younger guys want a large watch – it’s the current trend. They still can without looking like there’s a pie plate on their wrist with extended antennae protruding beyond the wrist bone. A cushion case watch with little overhang (short, built in lugs) will fit skinny wrists much better than say a smaller cased conventional watch with long lugs.
There are 42mm dive watches with a cushion case that have a shorter length that say a 38mm 3hander with long straight lugs. This is a size that almost ALL manufacturers fail to provide, retailers do the same, it’s the most important size to a thin wrist watch wearer.
There is a reason people shop at AD’s (authorized dealer), a competent salesperson can provide solutions that simply looking at a picture on the internet cannot. I am not advocating you enter hallowed ground as such and go to a Breguet dealer. I’m referring to the many shops around town that service and sell watches. Trying on a watch is the only way to really know how it will fit. Little things like bracelet spacing, does it fit correctly, can it be adjusted? Are the holes in the leather strap going to fit on the smallest fitment?
With the proliferation of well built Chinese mechanical watches on the market today, there are many options for watch wearers. All at a very reasonable price. Add the fact there are so many “micro” brands out there offering great value with many different sizes and designs.
It’s a great time to be a watch lover.
Brock, any thoughts on what works best under a dress shirt sleeve? I was looking for watches with a smaller case thickness, but from what you are suggesting I wonder if addressing the case diameter is a better idea. A family member suggested Skagen (sp?) but the case thicknesses all looked 8mm+.
You’re right that case thickness would be a better measurement to look at if you’re trying to find something that works under your sleeve cuff. If I’m wearing a jacket, I’ll leave the cuff unbuttoned on my watch hand.
Doesn’t really work when you’re not wearing a jacket, though. You either have to wear a very thin watch, roll your sleeves up, or make sure to get shirts that have enough room to wear a watch.
Any thin watches that you like or would suggest? From my searching, it sounds like Skagen is the only big option, but I didn’t find anything on their site to match the reputation for thin watches.
Is there some reason why you seem to favor round-faced watches. Square and rectangular-faced tend to be narrower without looking skimpy. I prefer simple faces (lines/dots instead of numbers or just 12, 3, 6, and 9), no date (you already have a cell phone if you don’t know what the date is), second-hand optional, sharp contrast between face and hands. I also prefer watches that are thin as measured from the crystal to the back. Unless you are a deep-sea diver, a sky-diver or a competition racer you do not need the crowded face of a chronograph and the stop watch function. I don’t often travel to Beijing or Nairobi (like never), but if I should ever do so, I think myself intelligent and tech-savvy enough to reset my watch to the local time zone.
Scott Davies says
I think we may have a similar taste, I did a lot of searching when looking into smaller watches and found these suited: http://teno.com/Boccia-Titanium/Boccia-Watches-Men
Wait a minute. We seem to have crossed our wires. The watches you display in the link are attractive watches, but there is not a square face in the entire line-up.
Actually, if you go to the Unisex section, you will find a beautiful, classic square watch, ultra thin 36mm in 100% pure titanium: http://teno.com/Boccia-Titanium/Boccia-Watches-Unisex/3143-01
Thanks. Now we’re talking.
Great article! Thanks for gathering the info for us smaller men. 😀
Terry Christensen says
Thanks, Brock, for a nice selection of modern made watches for small wrist guys. The Hamilton Jazzmaster is my favorite “dress” watch and the Seiko 5 Automatic with blue band is my favorite “smart” watch. I have a small collection of vintage watches that I love to wear as my “one only” accessory that people will notice. My favorites have art deco style cases and mid-century modern cases. I’ve found that many of these older watches for men are smaller sized and fit well on my 6.5″ wrist! The earlier ones were hand-wound every day. Then there were watches that incorporated a self-winding mechanism, then they went to “electric” (battery operated), and then Bulova designed the Accutron (battery operated with tuning fork) to improve accuracy. It’s interesting to follow the personal time keeping technology changes we have had from pocket watches, to wrist watches, and now to our smart phones!
Looking forward to hearing about StyleCon 2016!
Kit Bush says
What about Chronographs? Most are 40mm; any decent ones that are 3/4 size?
fraser pears says
Kit, the Sinn 356 chronograph is a nice fit for a thinner wrist. At 38mm with a total length of 56mm the fit is perfect. Two dial colour options black and copper.
Dan Bar-el says
So nice to read your posts.
Mike Fleck says
Dress – Any of the Seiko 5 series – I love my Seiko automatic. Change the link band (which is cheap) for a good quality leather band. Total cost will be around $125-$150 and well worth it.
Casual – my new favorite for casual wear is the Timex Indiglo (Horween Leather Weekender – https://huckberry.com/store/t/category/watches/casual) which I got at Huckberry with Brock’s recommendation. Simply love this watch.
Nice picks! Yeah, that Huckberry Timex is niiiice.
I actually own a Nixon Time Teller. It’s actually from the Star Wars line so it’s all black with a black face and black leather straps. Great to know it made the list for watches for small wrists
Great column , Brock! With a 6 1/4′ wrist it helps to wear a watch that’s the proper proportion for me. Your guide makes it a snap. Thanks!
Correction: 6 1/4″ wrist. So many buttons. 😉
I just assumed you were the Hulk 😉
I would like to respectfully submit the Seiko SARB033 for your consideration I love mine. It goes with anything formal or casual. This watch has a ton a great reviews all over the internet as being one of the best values in an automatic.
Does the chart indicate case diameter or dial size? I feel like it should list case diameter. The dial size of the watch, which many people refer to as the face, and the size of the bezel of the watch also plays into how big a watch “wears.”
I use case diameter, not face diameter, because (like you said) the overall case size is what determines how big the watch looks.
Jac Zagoory says
When it comes to large watches on a smaller wrist, the most important thing is to not wear the band loosely, which gives the appearance of the watch swimming around the wrist and forearm. (This is also especially bad for the watch, easily banged up and catches on many things.) I have a 6 1/2 inch wrist and comfortably wear my Daytona Rolex and other chronographs that I own. Sometimes I’ll even where a large strap watch over my shirt sleeve for effect.
I had a vintage watch store on Madison Avenue for many years and also authored “A Time To Watch—The Wrist Watch as Art: Classic, Rare and Extraordinary,” we never referred to men’s watches as small, instead 3/4 size, or affectionately as BOY SIZE.
Glad you’re into watches, they’re great fun and conversation starters in business circles, since an interesting watch has nothing to do with price. The worst is wearing a fake; which fakes out no one, except ones self. It’s better to wear a cool Timex, than a fake Rolex, Patek, Audemars….
Ed from My Dapper Self says
Damn I hate leaving comments that don’t go through and simply disappear! 🙁
So, again… great post as usual, Brock.
My main problem with watches are my tiny wrists. Besides being short, by wrists and hands are even smaller in proportion to my body. Finding a good strap that doesn’t look huge on me is a pain.
Keep it up and share StyleCon stories, please.
Sorry about that…your comments should go right through since you’ve left comments with this email address before (new commenters have to be approved).
Will hare more soon! Hope to see you there next year.