The 5 Best Watches Under 40mm

The two trends that are taking over the mainstream watch community are larger diameters and minimalist aesthetics. If you love these two looks, then feel free to purchase watches that incorporate them. Of course, a significant portion of horology enthusiasts does not, and instead want to downsize to maybe watches under 40mm. There are three fundamental reasons why you might want a smaller watch:

  • Formal Style – Those that want to pair their watches with formal wear often go for smaller pieces. The primary reason why is that these watches are seen as classier because they blend in with outfits, rather than being the centerpiece of them.
  • Small Wrist – Simply put, large watches usually don’t look good on smaller wrists. Many people who have them opt for watches under 40mm.
  • Personal Taste – Some people just like the look of a smaller piece more, regardless of the clothes they wear and the size of their wrists. This is a perfectly reasonable preference.

Anyway, let’s get on with the list! I’ve included a variety of brands at a few different price points. That way, a wide range of customers can find the perfect piece.

The best watches under 40mm

1: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Fifty-Eight – 39mm

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is one of my favorite Swiss watches on the market right now, and this smaller size suits it perfectly.

front view of Tudor Heritage Black Bay Ref. 79030N-0001 watch

It has gorgeous aesthetics, is made of excellent materials, and has a high level of wear ability. As a bonus, the one big knock on the Tudor brand is not a thing of the past, as they produce this watch’s movement in-house now. Overall, this timepiece is a great deal at its price point and is about as beautiful as any product you’ll find.

2: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Chronometer – 38mm

Many consider this Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra watch to be Omega’s response to the Oyster Perpetual, which we’ll discuss later.

front view of Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra blue dial watch

I believe its charm primarily comes from its minimalism and elegance. It doesn’t have unnecessary complications or extraneous information on its dial. Instead, it has the time, date, and an eye-catching, deep blue dial. With regards to the movement and materials, they are as fantastic as you would expect from Omega, which is a brand with an excellent reputation.

3: Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic – 38mm

Though many consider Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic to be a premier brand, others were put off by their shift towards, larger and flashier pieces.

front view of Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic black dial watch

One thing that their new CEO, George Kerns, decided to do when he took over was bring back some of the smaller and more elegant watches from the brand’s history. The Navitimer 1 Automatic represents this desire, as it is smaller and doesn’t demand so much attention. The dial might be too crowded for some, but most of you will love this watch.

4: Grand Seiko SBGH263 – 39.5mm

Grand Seiko is one of the hottest luxury brands in the modern horological community.

front view of Grand Seiko SBGH263 watch

The reason is that their products have the quality and class of much more expensive pieces. You can clearly see this trend in the SBGH263, which has an amazing amount of polish and holds an impressive movement on the inside. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this watch, though, is its looks. It combines a white dial, gold hands, gold numbers, a silver case, and a brown leather strap. Put that color palette together and you have one of the most beautiful timepieces out there.

5: Rolex Oyster Perpetual – 39mm

What can I say about Rolex that hasn’t already been said? You don’t have to be an expert to understand that this brand produces excellent watches from the top of their catalog to the bottom.

front view of Rolex Oyster Perpetual white dial watch

What makes the Oyster Perpetual unique is that it does not have any sort of theme to it. It isn’t a racing watch or a diver, nor does it incorporate a significant amount of design features or dazzling colors. Instead, it is incredibly simple and elegant — two things that you want out of a smaller piece. This aesthetic makes it very versatile, too, as it can fit in casual and dressy situations. The icing on the cake is that it incorporates a perpetual calendar, which is a convenient and impressive complication.

Whether you are looking for a dress watch, have smaller wrists, or simply love the look of a petite timepiece, choosing one of the options on this list is an excellent bet. Though there isn’t a bad pick on this list, my favorite is likely to be the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, as its craftsmanship is unmatched for pieces below $10,000. The unfortunate truth about this list, though, is that these watches are all quite expensive. As far as affordable options, both the Seiko and Citizen are fantastic choices for small products of any style. All you need to do is assess your needs and preferences, then go forward with the purchase. In the end, you should have a new watch that is the perfect size for you.

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