Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Six Watches Showing That Downsizing Can Be A Good Thing

In some watches, less is definitely more!

| By Robin Nooy | 7 min read |
Tudor Pelagos 39 25407N

Downsizing is a word that comes with two faces. On one end you might feel corners are cut, you get less bang for your buck, and the experience is less fun. A good example is cars, where downsizing usually means less power, less performance and often less joy to drive. On the other end, specifically in watches, you might experience the exact opposite! It might even be the reason a watch you previously didn’t even consider due to its size, might end up in your collection after all! Examples, where the downsizing trend in watchmaking works extremely well, are the recent Nomos Club Sport Neomatik 37 and the Aquastar Deepstar 39. As ever, it’s all about proportions, comfort, visual appeal and above all; enjoyment! These six watches prove that downsizing in watchmaking can certainly equate to less being more!

Hamilton Khaki Field Murph

Earlier this week Hamilton release a watch that a lot of enthusiasts of both the original watch and movie have long been waiting for, a smaller version of the Khaki Field Murph. This fan-favourite starred in the Interstellar motion picture and originally came in a 42mm size only. Hamilton decided it was time for a more compact take on the Murph, and shrunk it down to 38mm. This gives the Khaki Field Murph a bit more balance and will sit on the wrist just perfectly. The overall design and finish of the watch remain the same, and you even get the same Calibre H-10 automatic movement. One change that’s a bit of a missed opportunity is the seconds hand that no longer reads “Eureka!” in Morse Code. Priced at EUR 945, it is a bit of a performance bargain nonetheless.

Hamilton Khaki Field Murph 38mm H70405730

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 11.10mm – stainless steel case, brushed – polished steel bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – jet black dial with beige numerals and markings – cathedral hour and minute hands with beige Super-LumiNova – Calibre H-10, automatic – 21,600vph – 25 jewels – 80h power reserve – black leather strap with contrasting stitching – EUR 945

Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 36

Vintage-inspired watches these days regularly combine retro looks with modern proportions and mechanics, but not the Blancpain Air Command FLyback Chronograph 36. This pairs a gorgeous vintage design, based on a historic piece, with an equally vintage size! The grade 23 titanium or red gold case measures 36.2mm in diameter and is excellently proportioned. There is a 42.50mm variant available as well, but the smaller of the two simply rocks! The blue dial and bezel insert are superbly finished, with a high-performance flyback chronograph movement backing up the looks. It is a touch on the pricey side though, with the titanium one retailing for EUR 17,500 and the red gold one for EUR 28,920.

Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 36mm - hands-on review

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Quick Facts – 36.2mm x 11.50m – grade 23 titanium or 18k red gold case – bi-directional rotatable bezel with ceramic insert – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – blue sunray brushed dial with tachymeter scale – hands and markers with Super-LumiNova – Calibre F188B, in-house – integrated column-wheel flyback chronograph – 21,600vph – 35 jewels – 40h power reserve – blue calfskin leather strap with titanium or gold pin buckle – EUR 17,500 in titanium, EUR 28,920 in gold

Tudor Pelagos 39

We’re well aware the Tudor Pelagos 39 is not simply a Pelagos reduced in size, but a watch with a bit of a different look compared to its bigger brothers. However, the fact Tudor reduced the style of the Pelagos to a much more wrist-friendly 39mm in diameter is a very welcome thing altogether! Previously, anyone who feels watches over 40mm are simply too large had to “make due” with the retro-styled Black Bay 58. The new Pelagos 39 opens up the more modern-looking dive watch to a new audience, which is a good thing. Tudor also simplified some of the technical features, as it no longer has a helium escape valve and a water resistance reduced to 200m as opposed to 500m. Neither of these depths will ever be reached by humans outside of a pressurised vessel, so no complaints from us here.

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 11.8mm – grade 2 titanium case, satin-brushed – unidirectional rotatable bezel with ceramic insert – screw-down crown – sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 200m water-resistant – black sunray satin-finished dial – snowflake hands with Super-LumiNova – ceramic composite monoblock hour markers – Calibre MT5400, in-house – COSC-certified automatic movement – 28,800vph – 27 jewels – 70h power reserve – variable inertia balance – non-magnetic silicon balance spring – titanium three-link bracelet with “T-Fit” adjustable folding clasp – complementary black rubber strap – CHF 4,200

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF 36

The entire Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF range is a refreshing lesson in restraint watchmaking, mixed with high-end mechanicals with sometimes clever solutions. And with the new, smaller 36mm Tonda PF, the collection becomes even more attractive and versatile. It makes the stainless steel with integrated design case flow even better around the wrist. The bezel is knurled platinum, as always (except for gold Tonda PFs) and the dial is finished in either a Silver Sand (seen here) or Warm Grey, both with a grain d’orge guilloche pattern. The Calibre PF770 can be seen around the back and is driven by a 22k red gold central rotor. Worn on an integrated steel bracelet, the Tonda PF 36 retails for CHF 18,500 in Silver Sand or CHF 24,900 in Warm Grey (due to the diamond hour markers).

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Automatic 36mm

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Quick Facts – 36mm x 8.6mm – stainless steel case with platinum knurled bezel – screw-in crown – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – silver sand or warm grey dial – grain d’orge guilloche pattern – hand-applied indices – skeletonised delta-shaped hands – Calibre PF770, in-house – automatic movement – 179 parts – 28,800vph – 29 jewels – 60h power reserve – 22k rose gold rotor – integrated stainless steel bracelet – CHF 18,500 (Silver Sand) or CHF 24,900 (Warm Grey)

Grand Seiko 44GS 55th anniversary limited edition SBGW289

While in the past, a watch at the size of 36.5mm would be classified as feminine, especially with a pink-ish dial, in today’s world that classification is out the window. Surely, some elements of watchmaking might resonate better with women than with men, but that’s down to personal preferences. With the Grand Seiko 44 GS SBGW289, the Japanese manufacture has basically created a gender-free version of its iconic 44GS design. The subtle pink tone is just stunning, especially set in the angular yet compact 36.5mm wide steel case. This smaller offering compared to most 44GS-inspired watches comes with the brand’s Calibre 9S64. This packs 72 hours of power when fully wound, which is more than decent. Limited to 1,200 pieces, it retails for EUR 5,400.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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Quick Facts – 36.5mm x 11.6mm – zaratsu-polished and brushed stainless steel case – box-shaped sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 100m water-resistant – Sakura-kakushi light pink/silver textured dial – faceted and applied indices – polished faceted hands – Calibre 9S64, in-house – manual winding – 28,800vph – 24 jewels – 72h power reserve – stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp – limited to 1200 pieces – available from GS boutiques and selected retailers worldwide – EUR 5,400

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Copper 38

With the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Copper 38, the brand recently reintroduced a more compact size to the fabled Laureato line-up. Previously this size was available in multiple iterations of GP’s sports watch, but it was discontinued just a couple of years ago. Now though, the timing seems perfect for it to be relaunched as more and more people embrace the sub-40mm genre. The smaller 38mm size looks just as good, if not better balanced than its larger counterparts and comes with a warm copper-toned dial. It still features the raised octagonal bezel, the integrated design and the hobnail pattern on the dial. Around the back you get a view of the automatic Calibre GP03300-2034, made in-house. It’s worn on an integrated steel bracelet, is part of the permanent collection and retails for EUR 15,000.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 38mm Copper

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 10mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – signature octagonal bezel – sappire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – copper Clous de Paris dial – rhodium-plated hour and minute hands, gold-plated seconds hand – applied indices – date window at 3′ – Calibre GP0330-2034, in-house – automatic winding – 28,800vph – 27 jewels – 46h power reserve – integrated stainless steel bracelet – EUR 15,000

3 responses

  1. Downsizing is only a good thing when you are replacing quantity with quality

  2. Manipulation and marketing strategies also reach the world of watches. Now, the trend or fashion is buying smaller watches.
    How long will it take to reverse the trend again?


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