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If you’re a fan of dive watches, having skinny wrists can feel like a curse. Most dive watches are massive chunks of steel; and with smaller watches being marketed towards women, it can seem like the whole industry is conspiring against us. What’s a small-wristed dive-watch fan to do?
How Skinny is Skinny?
When people talk about small or skinny wrists, they are typically referring to wrists with a diameter of 6.5″ or less. The shape of your wrist can also have an effect on what you can comfortably wear, with flatter wrists being more accommodating to longer lug-to-lug heights.
The most important factor for how large a watch wears is the combination of the thickness (distance between case-back and center of crystal) and lug-to-lug width (the distance between the tips of the lugs across the watch). The diameter of the watch is important too, but keep in mind two watches with the same diameter can wear much differently depending on the length of the lugs.
Lug width (the width of the strap) can also have an impact on how large the watch feels on your wrist, so keep that in mind as well.
A basic rule of thumb is that the lugs of the watch should never overhang your wrist. Measure the area on the top, flattest part of your wrist, and use that to compare the lug-to-lug distance of the watch you’re considering purchasing. If the lug-to-lug width is less than the top width of your wrist, you are typically in the clear.
I’ve got 6.5″ inch wrists with a 52mm width across the flat. I’ve found that my sweet spot is in the 38mm to 42mm bezel diameter range, with a lug-to-lug distance of less than 48mm and a lug width of 20mm. Your mileage may vary based on personal preference.
In my experience, being too large is the #1 reason people end up selling great watches. Make sure to know your size and measure before you attempt to buy.
Some Great Dive Watches to Consider
If you’ve got skinny wrists and want to enjoy dive watches: fear not, there are plenty of great options for those of us who are less endowed below the elbows. Below you’ll find five of our selections for great dive watches for those with wrists smaller than 6.5″, from $150 to $2500.
|Size:||36mm x 48mm x 20mm||Movement:||Seiko 7S26|
|Thickness:||13mm||Special Features:||Diving Bezel, Day/Date|
|Depth Rating:||200M||Buy Online:||Buy on Amazon ($335.00)|
We’ll start with a great entry-level dive watch from Seiko, the SKX013. Sharing the same DNA and lineage as it’s big brother, the SKX007, the SKX013 is a great looking ISO rated dive watch with the same style and durable 7S26 movement.
This watch weighs in at 38mm in diameter with a 20mm lug width, although it’s roughly the same thickness as the SKX007. This watch is perfect for those looking for the classic Seiko SKX look without the bulk and size.
Marathon TSAR Midsize
|Size:||36mm x 44mm x 18mm||Movement:||Swiss Quartz|
|Thickness:||12mm||Special Features:||Diving Bezel, Tritium Lume|
|Depth Rating:||300M||Buy Online:||Buy Online ($830)|
Marathon makes tough-as-nails military-spec dive watches, and the mini-TSAR is no exception. Billed as a search and rescue watch, the midsize TSAR is available in both quartz and automatic. It’s got luminous tritium tubes on the dial (hence the radioactive symbol), and is delivered on a 20mm vulcanized rubber strap.
With a swiss-made Sellita SW200 movement inside, this is probably one of the toughest swiss-made watches you can buy.
At $830 dollars, it’s positioned as a relative value for an indestructible tool watch with genuine Swiss parts.
Tutima Pacific 670
|Size:||40mm x 42mm x 20mm||Movement:||Swiss Quartz|
|Thickness:||11mm||Special Features:||Diving Bezel, Day/Date|
|Depth Rating:||200M||Buy Online:||Buy Online (~$600)|
The Tutima Pacific is a relatively lesser-known German diver with an extremely slim profile. At 11mm thickness, it’s one the slimmest dive watches we’ve ever come across. Coupled with the squared lug-less case, this is truly compact dive watch that can be worn on any small wrist.
Unfortunately, the 40mm version of this watch is getting extremely difficult to find. It was long ago replaced by the Pacific 677, which is a very similar design at a larger 43mm.
If you’re looking to acquire one, your best bet is to set an alert on WatchPatrol and wait for it to come up on an enthusiast forum. It can be had for around $600-$700.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro
|Size:||38mm x 45.5mm x 20mm||Movement:||ETA 2824-2/Sellita SW200-1|
|Thickness:||13.3mm||Special Features:||Diving Bezel, Date|
|Depth Rating:||200M||Buy Online:||Buy Online (~$1,000)|
Christoper Ward has finally released an array of smaller 38mm dive watches in the Trident Pro line-up. Available in 5 different color and case combinations, the Christopher Ward Trident Pro is truly a stunning piece. Although the wave dial is clearly a nod to the Omega Seamaster 2254, there is enough original design language here to keep it out of homage territory.
For less than $1000, the Trident Pro is a very competitive offering in the arena of Swiss boutique dive watches.
Buy from Christopher Ward Direct
Omega Seamaster 2252
|Size:||36mm x 47mm x 20mm||Movement:||ETA 2824-2/Sellita SW200-1|
|Thickness:||11.7mm||Special Features:||Diving Bezel, Date|
|Depth Rating:||200M||Buy Online:||Buy Online (~$2,000)|
The Omega Seamaster is one of the most iconic dive watch designs ever made. The 2252.50 (36mm) is the miniaturized version of the extremely popular 2254.50 (41.5mm), a reference that is no longer in production. This version may be my favorite iteration of all the Seamasters that have been issued, next to the original Seamaster 300. There’s something about the scalloped bezel, broad sword hands and dynamic wave dial that make this a timeless piece. I think both versions look great on skinny wrists.
This is another watch that you’ll have to spend time hunting for online, but the search is half of the fun. Expect to pay $2,000+ for a used piece in excellent condition.
The truth is, you can wear any size watch you feel comfortable wearing. We believe the large watch trend is just a modern fad, and as evidenced by some of the great smaller watches now available, will begin to swing back to more moderate proportions. There are watches with very similar specs that can wear completely differently, and ultimately you’d have to try them on to know for sure.
Watch size is a matter of personal preference, and if you’ve got skinny wrists like me, there are probably a lot of great watches you’ve wanted to buy but have otherwise passed on. Luckily, there are a huge variety of great smaller watches available too. We hope the above list helps you find something that fits perfectly.
If you’re a watch lover with skinny wrists, we’d love to hear from you in the comments to see what watches work best for you.
I am one with a skinny wrist and have been looking to start my collection of dive watches. Ive looked at Orient, Dugena, Certina, Glycine, C.ward, Seiko, Steinhart and Invicta. there are very few below the 40mm diameter.
Would love to hear your suggestions.
Hey John — totally understand your plight. Outside of the ones I recommended in the article, you may want to check out Vintage dive watches (some are a bit smaller). Unfortunately, large cases are typically a standard dive watch feature, so you may want to look at another category and start with a field or pilot watch like the Sinn 556 or the Hamilton Khaki.
I would check out the vintage inspired Oris 65 dive watch. 40mm case size, I can’t recall the L2L but the proportions look good. I would love one.
I definitely need to get my hands on one of these…
Although on the pricier end of Sinn’s offerings, but with all the exceptional manufacturing technologies Sinn is renowned for, the Sinn U200 (37mm) is an excellent candidate.
Another discontinued piece, albeit rare: Tudor had 36mm Submariners as late as the 1990s (Search: Tudor Ref.75090)
Hey Sam — great pick with the U200, an absolute beast of a dive watch (even at 37mm). I will say, 36mm gets a bit too small for me when looking at sport watches. I think the mid-size Tudor Sub 79090 at 40mm works great for almost any wrist size as well.
“When people talk about small or skinny wrists, they are typically referring to wrists with a diameter of 6.5″ or less.”
I think you mean circumference. A 6.5-in. diameter would be the size of someone’s thigh.
Yep, you’re right 🙂
Suggest you fix that 🙂
Don’t forget the “LONGINES – HYDROCONQUEST case diameter 39mm” quartz and auto.
Keep in mind, the new Omega’s have wide arrange of midsizes available. And “Ladies” or “Unisex” watches between 32 and 39mm for case diameter. The planet oceans and seamasters all have them.
I wouldn’t fear “ladies” watches unless it had a pink dial with flowers patterns or lug width below 18mm.
Most watches nowadays are gender neutral in my opinion. Especially if it looks like a standard watch with case diameter between 36 to 43 mm and lug width between 18 to 22mm. Women can have big wrists too. Besides, smaller watches are much better than “LARGE” watches. Due to the size and weight of big watches, you’ll never wear them all day even if you have a big wrist.
I‘ve owned the Tutima Pacific for more than 8 years and it ran accurately all the time. Never had any problems. The watch uses the automatic ETA 2836-2 though. The Pacific chronograph had an ETA quartz movement. Anyways it was a fine piece of Tutima with just the right size.
I would include the Tudor Black Bay 58. Measuring 39 x 47.75 x 11.9 millimeters. There is a waiting list due to demand (another contrived Rolex waiting list?) while the original Black Bay with dimensions of 41 x 50 x 14.75 is readily available and has been compared to a \”hockey puck on the wrist\”.