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You may have noticed that watches today have become pretty large. The average men’s watch today is around 37-39mm wide, compared to the average 27-30mm diameter in the 1930s. Watches have been steadily increasing in size for many years, but why?
Starting with large military watches from WWII, the trend has continued and is now a sign of status and masculinity. The larger watch is bolder and easier to notice, accentuating the status of the wearer. As big brands increase watch sizes, lesser-known brands follow suit.
Whether you’re in the market for a new watch, or you’re just looking to satisfy some curiosity, you’ve come to the right place. Learn these 9 reasons why the trend has shifted toward larger watches.
1. Watches Were Historically large
During WWII, the watches given to military personnel were larger than the average wristwatch of their time. For example, the German B-Uhr was 47-55mm wide and the Japanese Seikosha watch was 48.5mm wide. While the American-issued watch was smaller, the American A-11 at 32-36mm wide was still an increase in size from the average watch.
After the war, many soldiers kept their military-issued watches and continued to wear them. This affected the trends and styles of the time. The larger watch face size just kept increasing after that. Smaller watches eventually fell out of popularity.
Status watches are like a secret handshake among those who understand them. 50-100 years ago, in the workplace, an expensive watch signified a successful businessman. While status watches are less popular today, their legacy has left a mark on trend. Because a status watch needed to be seen for status to be recognized, they became bigger and the size has stayed.
Expensive status watches are still used to flaunt wealth and success, but it isn’t seen as a necessity. Most status watch wearers are watch enthusiasts. It’s become a lot more like a collector hobby than an implication of wealth and success.
Trends have thrived in the world of fashion forever. Something looks good because it’s accepted as looking good. Throughout history, there hasn’t been one thing that has stayed consistent in fashion trends and desired looks.
The big watch has become a trend. It is widely accepted as the norm now. Big watches are seen as attractive because society has agreed that they are. We allow trends to have power over what we think and feel about certain items of clothing or accessories, and as for watches, big faces are in.
4. Marketing Purposes
Trends ebb and flow constantly. They change and companies who follow can continue to make a profit. Marketers are always seeking ways to make this year’s style different enough from the last, so people have to purchase new things. By making watches that are so big and obvious, once the trend changes, no one will be able to get away with an old watch.
The same thing is happening now. The old, small watches are so out of style that people feel they must purchase a new, bigger watch.
5. Fake Luxurious Watches
While status watches gained popularity and size, other less prestigious watch companies have tried to replicate the status look by increasing the size of watches. Now all watch companies are making bigger and bolder watches to create an expensive look.
Anyone who is into watches knows the brands and can recognize certain watch models. For them, it’s like a secret code. So other companies creating “fake luxurious watches” is really just about trends.
A bigger watch is simply bolder. In our society today, boldness is an admirable trait. Fashion has taken a turn toward boldness to imitate the societal climate. Bold women are especially admired today, so it follows that bigger and bolder accessories would become popular.
A watch in a world where telling the time is simple enough is more than just about time. It can imply things about status, wealth, success, fashion tastes, punctuality, etc. An obvious watch is a bold watch. A watch has become more about telling observers something about yourself.
7. Room for the Stuff on the Inside
With modern technology, ordinary devices are becoming more high-tech. When it comes to fitness watches, they need more parts to fulfill their job, such as a GPS or heart rate monitor.
Not only do they need space on the inside for all the extras, but they also beg for a wider watch face to present all the fitness information they provide.
8. Smaller Watches are Feminine
Traditionally women wear smaller watches. On average, women have smaller wrists, so a smaller watch suits them better. Not only is a woman’s wrist smaller, but, traditionally, her reason for wearing a wristwatch was more suited for small clock faces. When women first started wearing watches, it was more about the jewelry aspect than knowing the time.
Traditional women’s watches were small and delicate, so the trend for men’s watches shifted over to larger and bulkier watches. It became known that a smaller watch was meant for a small woman’s wrist. Men now look for watches that feel masculine.
9. Borrowed From the Boys look
While women’s watches have traditionally been smaller, the trend for women today is also leaning toward bigger watches. Women’s watches are still smaller than men’s watches on average because of wrist sizes, but they have taken an increase in average size as well. One reason for this is the “borrowed from boys” look.
This concept is similar to other women’s fashion choices and trends, like the boyfriend jean. Women’s fashion has shifted toward wearing more masculine things as a way of implying they either borrowed it from their man or they took the trend from the boys.
This has also affected men’s watches as well. Because of the borrowed look, women’s watch designs have become larger and bulkier. This has caused men’s watches to try to separate from that even more by creating an even bigger and bulkier men’s watch.
What Size Watch Should You Get?
Your watch size should come down to preference. If you like big watches, get one. It will fit right in and look good If you prefer a smaller, lighter watch, go against the trend and make a statement with a slim wristwatch.
The only issue you can have here is if your watch is noticeably too large for your wrist. The lugs should rest flat against your wrist. If they come up or have room to rattle around, your watch is too big. Otherwise, get the watch that suits your preferences best.