How did it happen?

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Amor Vincit Omnia
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How did it happen?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Two lovely watches, separated by around 50 years in time and something of a gulf in size, as these photos clearly illustrate. And both very normal for their time.

40 mm vs. 32.7 mm
3C3040CC-75D9-49FE-9640-0E0D8B27E6FA.jpeg
C9 & Longines dials

12.3 mm vs. 8.8 mm
41352852-E8B2-49AD-B6AB-E5FC27DF8ED8.jpeg
C9 & Longines height
Watches got bigger. A lot bigger. Recently we have seen hints that they are beginning to get smaller again (36 mm Sealander as an example)

I’m not interested in the rights and wrongs, since as far as I’m concerned there are none. I’m just interested in how they got so much bigger in a relatively short time and would welcome any theories.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Noush »

Having just purchased a 35.5mm x 6.9mm thick watch, I'm on board with this. And yeah, my Marine 36 has been getting more wrist time.

My theory is that a combination of things is at play. First, folks don't really need to wear a watch to tell the time any more. The "multi-functional communication device" in the pocket does this and has been doing this now for some, ahem, time....
So now the watch for many folks (we enthusiasts of course not, we are a purer breed :) *cough* ) is Flex Culture and needs to be seen.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Noush wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 11:28 am Having just purchased a 35.5mm x 6.9mm thick watch, I'm on board with this.
Very similar dimensions to the Tangente I once had.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by suicidal_orange »

Noush wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 11:28 amSo now the watch for many folks (we enthusiasts of course not, we are a purer breed :) *cough* ) is Flex Culture and needs to be seen.
This is a good explanation for dial size growth in general but why is the CW in the example 30% thicker? You'd think with modern manufacturing the movement would shrink like everything else, plus isn't the point of a small seconds design to reduce the number of cogs stacked in the middle to reduce thickness? (I may be wrong about the SS, it's something I "know" despite never having looked into it)
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Noush »

I don't know that CW case specifically (before my time here) but I'm guessing it was designed to accommodate a variety of movements and thus is not optimised for the SS. Also a date wheel here. That bezel is rather chunky as well. All adds up.

But gosh the comparison is illuminating.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by sproughton »

Mechanical watches moving towards automatic rather than manual movements would have meant slightly larger cases (I assume). Add to that changes from more traditional dress style watches to much sportier styles which need to be more robust and I can see why the general trend for larger watches has come about.

Once people got used to larger watches, I'm not surprised that dress watches are now regularly produced at sizes closer to modern day sports watches than their traditional dress watch historical counterparts.

Or, people nowadays just love big shiny trinkets. Could be that too...
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Kip »

I think watch's got larger because the average age of the general population increased and we needed larger numbers and hands to read the time.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Thegreyman »

First few lines from an article in the Independent:

"Over the last 50 years, the average British man has grown three inches taller, weighs 23lbs more and has developed a paunch..."

We must need a larger watch to deflect attention from our paunches :lol:
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by missF »

I found some other things that have changed size in the past 50 years:

Minis
3D513F2C-1856-4610-9B42-7120C40CBC2E.jpeg

Phones
C1603006-64B2-48F4-9E0E-790E7758F543.jpeg

Shoulders
D7B2D4D2-61AA-4FC6-9169-02FDDEEBEFC9.jpeg

But the thing that has undoubtedly grown over the past 50 years that may be influencing watch size is EGO...
15D2F92D-3E02-4E41-8A38-FF650A792174.jpeg
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by stefs »

Watches were functional. Now they are a means of showing off and demonstrating status so they have got bigger to give more ' presence'!
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by rkovars »

Auto winding has also become the defacto standard for modern watches with hand wound being the odd one off. That definitely contributes to the thickness.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by Wis »

Kicking this almost dead topic back to life, I would suggest that the more sporty and less dressed up life style most of us lead now plays a significant role. The popularity of diver’s watches is exhibit A. Delicate, thin and small gold watches signifies old and conservative to most people, not young and hip.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by thomcat00 »

^^^ Even as I prefer the dressier watches, I also prefer presence on my wrist. I tend not to dip below 37mm too often. But I also don’t much care for too large a watch.
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by iain »

Is the answer to this obvious?

We all know clothes shrink in the wash. They also shrink over time and I know this because clothes that fitted me two years ago have now shrunk while hanging in the wardrobe.

This therefore isn’t a case of newer watches growing, but older watches shrinking because they’ve been cleaned more and have been around for longer.

Come on people, think!!!
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Re: How did it happen?

Post by gaf1958 »

iain wrote:Is the answer to this obvious?

We all know clothes shrink in the wash. They also shrink over time and I know this because clothes that fitted me two years ago have now shrunk while hanging in the wardrobe.
Image

It’s the lack of UV light. At least that’s my story.
iain wrote:This therefore isn’t a case of newer watches growing, but older watches shrinking because they’ve been cleaned more and have been around for longer.
And by the same reasoning, they have been sitting around unworn, in watch boxes…
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