Big, bold watches have their time and place, just as smaller classical ones do — you don’t have to resolutely favor one or the other (though many people do). After years of case sizes ballooning to often eye-rolling extremes, tastes and trends are swinging back in the other direction. Now, with vintage reissues the hottest thing in the current watch market, more brands are producing modern rereleases of vintage watches in sizes faithful or close to the originals.
Sub-38mm has long been considered small for modern men’s watches, but measurements don’t always tell the whole story. Other factors like case shape and thickness, the length of the lugs, size of the dial, and overall design of a watch can cause it to wear more or less prominently. Pro tip: a NATO or Bund-style strap can help give any watch a little more presence. If you’re not already a fan of the style, you just might be surprised how well a 34mm watch wears, proportionally framed by your wrist instead of eclipsing it. Below are three beautiful examples, each a bold 34mm wide, that offer as much style as they do comfort.
Benrus Manual Dress Watch
What We Like: This Benrus watch has a classical look, but simultaneously a unique and distinctive design. The sculpted bezel and lugs are particularly elegant, and the dial with its syringe-shaped hands and faceted markers complement these perfectly. Dating to the 1950s, it’s got a gold-filled case, and inside is a manually wound Swiss movement. A domed crystal and overall thickness of just 9mm give the watch an interesting shape, and it’ll surely stand out on the wrist without relying on its actual size.
From the Seller: The watch is in great shape; winding, setting, and telling time just as it did back in 1955.
Tudor Oysterdate Ref. 74033
What We Like: Tudor can get away with borrowing well-known design cues from Rolex because, well, it’s a Rolex brand. This two-tone Oysterdate model references its big brother in several ways, from its name to its fluted bezel, but dang if it ain’t pretty in and of itself. The Tudor name is nothing to sneer at either for this price, and the reference 74033 should pack a visual punch on the wrist.
From the Seller: Overall condition is good. Dial has no major flaws; hands do show some aging.
LeCoultre “Skeleton Lug”
What We Like: With one of the most prestigious names in watchmaking on its dial, this unique little dress watch is just really cool in myriad ways. In a 14k yellow gold case, it’s got an elegant dial design, but what really stands out are its skeletonized lugs. This is a rare feature, but the lugs further show an unusual shape when viewed from the side, as they are thinner where they attach at the case. Inside is the LeCoultre 480CW manually wound movement that the brand used in a range of watches from around the same 1950s era as this example.
From the Seller: Case is in excellent condition overall with normal signs of age and wear. Non luminous dial is in great condition with even patina throughout.