Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

A Selection Of Sub-40mm Watches For All Walks Of Life

From a dress watch to a robust diver and a retro-cool chronograph watch, you can get it all in less than 40mm.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

They say big things can come in small packages, and in watchmaking, it was long a case of ‘bigger is better’. Over the past few years, however, we’ve seen a shift in the industry towards more sensible and compact dimensions, which is a good thing if we’re honest. And since preferred sizes and proportions are very personal, many people welcome the fact that some brands even offer the same watch in several sizes. So with that in mind and proposing something for every occasion imaginable, here’s a selection of sub-40mm watches ranging from dressy and affordable to complex and pricey.

Baltic HMS003

We kick things off with the very stylish Baltic HMS003, the latest dress watch by the formidable French indie brand. The HMS003 follows the same principles as the HMS002, offering a classically inspired watch showing only hours, minutes and seconds, but now in a compact 36.5mm size. The 1940s-style sector dial is either silver, salmon or blue, with blue, silver or gilt indices and hands. Inside ticks the Miyota 8315, with 60 hours of power reserve, which can be covered by a solid caseback, but also a see-through one if desired. Worn on a calfskin leather strap or beads-of-rice bracelet, this is an absolute bargain at just EUR 360 (excl. VAT).

Baltic HMS 003 silver-blue - Baltic Bicompax 003 salmon

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Quick Facts – 36.5mm x 13mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – hesalite crystal – closed or open caseback – 50m water-resistant – silver, salmon or blue dials with grained and brushed textures – blue, silver or gilt indices & hands – Miyota 8315 automatic movement – 21,600vph – 60h power reserve – calfskin leather strap or beads-of-rice bracelet – EUR 360 (excl. VAT)

tissot prx powermatic 80 35mm

We had to be patient for PRX to dip into the sub-40mm category when the mechanical version is concerned, but two months ago, it finally happened. The reduction in size means the PRX range becomes even more versatile, with some options even being exclusive to the 35mm size (for now). You still get a waffle dial, the Powermatic 80 movement and an integrated bracelet, just in a smaller package. Fly under the radar with a black dial, or steal the limelight with a full yellow gold PVD-coated model; it’s entirely up to you. The 35mm Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is priced between EUR 745 and EUR 875, so still very affordable.

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Quick Facts – 35mm x 11.3mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – optional full yellow gold PVD coating – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – black, blue, green, white MoP, ice blue or yellow golden waffle dial – applied markers & hands with Super-LumiNova – Powermatic 80 automatic movement – 21,600vph – 80h power reserve – anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring – integrated steel bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 745 to EUR 875

longines spirit zulu Time 39mm

Even if you’re planning on globetrotting and want to rely on a true GMT watch, there’s something in the sub-40mm range by none other than Longines. The mighty Spirit Zulu Time, part of the very popular line-up of pilot watches, has recently been reduced to 39mm and comes in stainless steel or two-tone variations. The dials are clear and stylish, with the rotating bezel and GMT hand keeping track of differences between time zones. The movement inside is a certified chronometer (COSC) and has a running time of 72 hours. The steel model comes on a bracelet or leather strap, or a NATO-style textile strap, in the case of the two-tone model. Prices range from EUR 3,200 to EUR 4,600.

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 13.50mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – steel or gold rotating bezel with black, blue or green insert – sapphire crystal with solid caseback – black, anthracite or blue dial with applied markers and hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre L844.4, automatic – silicon balance spring – 25,200vph – 72h power reserve – COSC-certified chronometer – leather strap, textile NATO strap or steel bracelet EUR 3,200 to EUR 4,600

seiko prospex 1965 divers re-creation 62mas l.e. sje093

The dive watch remains one of the most popular styles of watches, and there are plenty of very good options to choose from. One of the best-looking recently launched divers is this Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers Re-Creation 62MAS SJE093. Faithfully modelled after the legendary 62MAS, it has the same 38mm diameter as the original. The sunray-brushed anthracite dial looks the part and sits over Seiko’s new 6L37 automatic movement. The high-strength black silicone strap keeps it secured to the wrist. Limited to 1,965 pieces, the SJE093 retails for EUR 3,700.

Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers Re-creation 62MAS Limited Edition SJE093

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 12.5mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – unidirectional rotating bezel – sapphire crystal, solid caseback – 200m water-resistant – anthracite sunray-brushed dial – applied indices & hands with LumiBrite – calibre 6L37 automatic – 28,800vph – 45h power reserve – high-strength black silicone strap with pin buckle – limited to 1,965 pieces – EUR 3,700

Grand seiko elegance spring drive SBGY026 hana-ikada

We’re staying in Japan for the next one and address the dressier side of things with the wonderful Grand Seiko Elegance Spring Drive SBGY026 Hana-Ikada. This time-only watch stands out for the rose gold Omiwatare case, but even more so for its soft pink cherry blossom dial, a true work of art and one of the brand’s very best. The highly limited watch, 100 pieces only, has the Spring Drive calibre 9R31 inside, relying on the best of both mechanical and quartz watchmaking. This is regulated to a very impressive ±15 seconds per month. Worn on a brown leather strap with a rose gold folding clasp, it has a sticker price of EUR 28,900.

Grand Seiko Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026 Pink Shunbun Dial

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 10.2mm – 18k rose gold case – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – “Shunbun” Cherry Blossom soft pink textured dial – diamond-cut and faceted gold hands and indices – calibre 9R31, Spring Drive quartz-automatic hybrid – dual spring barrel mechanism for 72h power reserve – ±15 seconds per month – hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve on the back – alligator leather strap with rose gold folding clasp – limited to 100 pieces – EUR 28,900

TAG Heuer carrera Skipper

Last but certainly not least is the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper, which marked the return of a rare edition of the Carrera chronograph dedicated to the world of racing yachts. And yes, we’ve featured it before, but it’s just so darn cool! This regatta-style chronograph has a 39mm wide case topped with a super-domed ‘Glassbox‘ sapphire crystal. The blue dial has green, orange and teal-coloured sub-dials to time the start of a regatta to perfection. The calibre TH20-06 can be seen through the caseback, which delivers 80 hours of running time. The deep blue fabric strap and folding clasp finish it off. It retails for EUR 6,850 and is not limited.

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 13.9mm – stainless steel case, polished and brushed – bezel-less construction with high-domed sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – blue circular brushed dial – green, orange and teal details and sub-dials – in-house calibre TH20-06 – automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph – 28,800vph – 80h power reserve – blue textile strap with folding clasp – EUR 6,850

2 responses

  1. The price of EUR 360 is the base price before taxes. In the Netherlands, where I live, it’s priced at EUR 435,61. Subtract 21% VAT and you land on EUR 360 😉
    I’ve just added that to the article, to calrify.

    All the best, Robin.


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