As much as we love unusual cases, day to day wear can be taxing on those with even the most robust of wrists. For daily wear, it can be preferable to find a watch that disappears on the wrist until it’s needed. That means something relatively thin and likely under 40mm in diameter. This is a watch that slips under a shirt cuff without needing to be coaxed. To that end, we’re looking at sub 40mm watches in this edition of The Cultivated Wrist.
The newest Datejusts may have moved to 41mm in diameter, but you don’t have to look hard for late models that dip under 40mm. The Datejust is perhaps the penultimate dress watch, emerging from Rolex in the mid 40’s, and only subtly evolving in the subsequent decades. It helps that you can configure the watch in a huge variety of options, from dial color, to case metal, and even bezel texture can be had in fluted or polished varieties. Being a Rolex, it’s a watch that’ll last through any passing trends in style. A user has this example listed with an Ask of $6,170. Shop all Datejust watches right here.
When Omega launched their Constellation line of watches in 1952, it did so with a range of dial configurations, but one feature, in particular, would go on to define the watch for generations to come: the pie pan dial. The dial, so named for the way it angles toward the bezel around the hour markers, went on hiatus during the late 80’s and 90’s (and oughts) but came back with the introduction of the Globemaster in 2015. It’s a throwback that’s never gone out of style and we’re happy to see it back in Omega’s line up. This example with blue dial has an Ask listed at $4,800.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has mastered the dress watch in their 184 years of existence, and that’s reflected in their Master collection. At 39mm in diameter and just 7.5mm in thickness, the Ultra Thin hits all the right notes. We love the clean dial and applied hour makers as well. Inside beats JLC’s own caliber 896, which is visible through an exhibition caseback. There’s an Ask of $5,300 on this example, and it’s the only dress watch you’d ever need.
Those with even a passing interest in watches will be well aware of the German brand Nomos, which has come to represent one of the greatest values in proper watchmaking. Oh, and they’ve won multiple awards for their striking, minimal designs. So why are they considered a great value? It’s not just because of their designs, inside you’ll find truly in-house calibers built alongside some the powerhouse manufacturers in Glashutte. We love the Metro for its subtle dashes of color (see the 3, 9, and 12 hour markers) and the subdial at 6 with a bright red running seconds hand. There’s an Ask of $4,000 on this Metro with grey dial.