The pursuit of creating ultra-thin watches is decades old, but it seems as though the effort to produce impossibly slim watches has been heating up in recent years. Audemars Piguet, for example, debuted a perpetual calendar watch — one of the most complex movements around — at this year’s SIHH that came in at just 6.3mm. At the same show, Piaget blew minds with its 2mm hand-winding watch, the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. Subsequently, at Baselworld, Bulgari broke three world records with the Bulgari Octo Finnisimo Tourbillon Automatic, which is simultaneously the world’s thinnest tourbillon and automatic watch (and, as such, the thinnest automatic tourbillon).

But the former two watches are merely concepts while the latter costs six figures. While they’re fun examples of how much watchmaking can be crammed in a small space, this super slim philosophy has been applied to a greater number of watches that, while a bit thicker, still retain the svelte design and packaging that make ultra-thin watchmaking so appealing while remaining realistically wearable. While there’s no set definition of what makes a watch “ultra-thin,” these ten mechanical timepieces come in at under 9mm in height. Some are even a fraction of that.

Christopher Ward C5 Malvern 595

At just under 6mm thick, Christopher Ward’s C5 Malvern 595 is one of the thinnest watches you can buy under a grand. Despite its diminutive size, though, it still features all the finishings you’d expect from a top-notch dress watch, like a domed, opaline dial, double-curved sapphire crystal and a transparent case back.

Movement: ETA/Peseux 7001 hand-winding
Thickness: 5.95mm
Diameter: 39mm

Hamilton Jazzmaster Thinline Auto

Most super-slim watches under a grand rely on a hand-winding movement to keep the overall case thickness down, but the Hamilton Jazzmaster manages to pack automatic winding and still come in at just under 8.5mm in height and $1,000 in price. The Jazzmaster Thinline is available in a handful of different dial colors, each with shimmering sunray finishing, and pairs its slim case with a set of old-school sculpted lugs.

Movement: ETA 2892-A2 automatic
Thickness: 8.45mm
Diameter: 40mm

Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug

Like the Christopher Ward C5, the Junghans Meister Driver’s svelte case was made possible by the slim, hand-winding Peseux 7001 movement. Where it differs, though, is in its Art Deco design, a nod to the Speedometers the company made back in the early 20th century.

Movement: ETA/Peseux 7001 hand-winding
Thickness: 7.3mm
Diameter: 37.7mm

Nomos Tetra Neomatik

At just 7.3mm thick, Nomos’s dressy, square Tetra is incredibly thin for any timepiece, let alone an automatic. That’s thanks to Nomos’s in-house DUW 3001 caliber, a super-flat movement that’s only 3.2mm thick. The clean, Bauhaus-inspired dial design and delicate lugs are the perfect accouterments to the Tetra’s minimal proportions.

Movement: Nomos DUW 3001 automatic
Thickness: 7.3mm
Width: 33mm

Drive de Cartier Extra Flat Steel

The Drive de Cartier debuted initially in 2017 as a gold model, but at SIHH 2018, the brand finally brought it out in stainless steel, dropping the price to under $6,000 but retaining the attractive squircle case design and 6.6mm thickness. Inside, the watch is a Cartier-branded version of the 430P caliber from Piaget, Cartier’s corporate cousin and a pioneer of crazy-thin watch movements.

Movement: Piaget 430P hand-winding
Thickness: 6.6mm
Diameter: 39mm

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin

The Master Ultra Thin is about as timeless as you could imagine, featuring a date-free shimmering silver dial, dauphine hands and a small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock. The 896/1 automatic movement inside is under 4mm, and it’s based on a tried-and-true movement design Jaeger has been making for decades.

Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre 896/1 automatic
Thickness: 7.58mm
Diameter: 38.5mm

LU Chopard XP

Chopard’s watches generally tend to skew more classical, but the XP is a decidedly modern take on the ultra-thin dress watch. The clean dial is finished with vertical brushing, giving it the look of raw metal, while the numerals and hands have been treated in an eye-popping blue. (A cashmere strap is also a unique addition). The scant 7.2mm case houses an in-house automatic movement from the brand that comes in at just 3.3mm thanks to a micro-rotor design.

Movement: L.U.C 96.53-L automatic
Thickness: 7.2mm
Diameter: 40mm

Piaget Altiplano 910P

Debuting late in 2017, the Altiplano 910P had a very short reign as the world’s thinnest automatic until the debut of the Bulgari Octo Finnisimo Tourbillon Automatic in March 2018. Still, the Piaget is an incredible piece of watch engineering (it also doesn’t cost six figures like the Bulgari). Piaget was able to make the watch so incredibly flat by using a peripheral rotor (a ring that surrounds the movement) and by integrating the baseplate of the movement into the actual case design.

Movement: Piaget 910P
Thickness: 4.3mm
Diameter: 41mm

Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955

When it first launched in 2010, the Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955 was the thinnest mechanical watch in the world, clocking in at an impossibly-thin 4.13mm. Other watches have eeked their way to even slimmer proportions, but the Historiques remains a beautifully restrained timepiece. At just 1.3mm thick, the in-house caliber 1003 hand-winder inside is a gem, too. It was first released by the vaunted watchmaker back in 1955.

Movement: Vacheron Constantin 1003 hand-winding
Thickness: 4.13mm
Diameter: 36mm

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin

The classic shape of the Royal Oak is iconic, and its sleek lines are even more enticing in ultra-thin guise. While the ultra-thin variants have existed in the greater Royal Oak lineup for some time, this year the brand released it in a mix of platinum and titanium. That may seem like an odd duo, but the rugged, brushed look of the titanium mixed with the polished look of the platinum bezel and end links offer up a unique take on two-tone design.
Movement: Audemars Piguet 2121 automatic
Thickness: 8.1mm
Diameter: 39mm

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