For those of us with slender wrists, there has been a welcomed trend in the luxury watch space towards smaller timepieces. When wristwatches first became a thing at the turn of the 20th Century, they were small. However, as we approached the new millennium, watches gradually became larger and larger. Thankfully, some brands have caught on that not everyone can successfully pull-off oversized timepieces and have introduced smaller versions of well-known luxury watches. Here are some of our favorites right now.
Panerai Luminor Due
Panerai certainly played a big role in the oversized men’s watch phenomenon in the 1990s and 2000s, flaunting massive cushioned-shaped cases starting at 42 mm and topping out at 47 mm. So it came as a surprise when the brand synonymous with big watches introduced the restrained Luminor Due lineup a few years back. The Luminor Due watches not only sports slimmer cases, but the collection also offers a 38 mm case size option—the first sub-40 mm Panerai ever made. Despite the smaller case, the Luminor Due of course still features the characteristic lever-controlled crown-guard bridge, which still adds heft to the style of the watch.
A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1
With its asymmetrical dial layout and oversized double date window, the Lange 1 became A. Lange & Söhne’s signature timepiece right out of the gate. Depending on the model, the Lange 1 watch case can range from 38.5 mm to 40mm for the Grand Lange 1 versions. The Little Lange 1 made its debut in 1998, apparently at the request of an Asian retailer for a smaller version of the Lange 1. Over the years, the Little Lange 1’s case size has fluctuated slightly, first clocking in at 36.1 mm and now at 36.8 mm—both very wearable sizes for many. The dial design of the Little Lange 1 is identical to its bigger brother and A. Lange & Söhne even makes a gorgeous Little Lange 1 Moonphase model.
Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38
The Navitimer has long been Breitling’s most famous chronograph watch. However, in 2018, Breitling dropped the chronograph function to give us the compact Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38. As its name implies, the watch includes a 38 mm case, devoid of any pushers since there’s no chronograph function. However, Breitling did retain the familiar slide rule inner bezel that makes the Navitimer so recognizable. What’s more, Breitling also furnished the small Navitimer 1 Automatic with a beaded bezel, similar to the ones found on vintage Navi timepieces.
Ulysse Nardin Freak X
While 43 mm is in no way a petite watch, the new Freak X by Ulysse Nardin is indeed smaller than the traditional 45 mm sizes of past Freak watches. When Ulysse Nardin first launched the Freak in 2001, it was hailed as a groundbreaking watch thanks to its use of silicon components (one of the first wristwatches to do so), design of the tourbillon, and its crownless case. Despite the smaller case and reduced price point, the face of the Freak X is as impressive as ever with its flying carrousel movement rotating around its own axis and parts of the movement serving as timekeeping hands.