When people ask if their watches look too big.

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
User avatar
mvlow
Guru
Guru
Posts: 380
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:29 pm
CW-watches: 2
Location: Oregon, USA

When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by mvlow » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:07 pm

On forums, Facebook etc. it is common for watch enthusiasts to post a picture of a watch on their wrist and ask others if the watch looks too big or too small. Because most users use a cell phone to take a selfie of their watch on their wrist, this is a very difficult question to answer because the lens on modern cellphones are typically wide angle. Without getting too technical, a wide angle lens will distort the image and make the watch look bigger than it actually is on the wrist. It has the effect of stretching whatever is closest to the lens, in this case the watch. When you use a longer (narrower) lens the image is less distorted and therefore does not look as big on the wrist. A good way to see this in action is to take a selfie as close as you can to your face using your cell phone and then have someone stand away from you a few feet and take the same photo. You will see on the close-up selfie your nose, the closest thing to the camera lens, looks much larger and your face looks distorted compared to the image taken further away.

To illustrate the effect of different lenses, I took three pictures with a Fuji crop sensor camera using different focal lengths at their minimum focus distance and a picture using my iPhone. As you can see the watch looks different as the focal length increases. The watch looks much larger on the cushion on the iPhone picture than it does on the 56mm lens picture.

So the next time someone posts a wrist shot and asks if the watch looks too big, the first question before you can give them an informed answer should be, what camera/lens did you use to take the picture?
Sinn Lens Comparison-.jpg
Malcolm

CW C60 Vintage Seiko SKX007 Hamilton Khaki Field Sinn 104 CW C65 Vintage GMT Monta Oceanking

User avatar
msdsx
Junior
Junior
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 1:52 pm
CW-watches: 2
Location: Portsmouth UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by msdsx » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Very informative. I guess the obvious question is whether watch makers use this to deliberately control how watches look in marketing material? And how often are people surprised by the look of a watch in the metal having seen it previously only in photos?
Mark
"There is more to life than simply increasing its speed"
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-axial Chronometer
CW Trident Pro 600
C30 Malvern Chronometer

User avatar
mvlow
Guru
Guru
Posts: 380
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:29 pm
CW-watches: 2
Location: Oregon, USA

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by mvlow » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:12 pm

Here is another example of the wide angle effect. I took the first picture as a close-up selfie with my iPhone and then had my wife stand a few feet away and take the second picture with the same iPhone. I then cropped the second picture so my wrist fills the frame approximately the same as the the first picture. Notice how the watch looks much larger on my wrist in the first picture due to the wide angle distortion.
IMG_2727.JPG
IMG_2729.jpg
Malcolm

CW C60 Vintage Seiko SKX007 Hamilton Khaki Field Sinn 104 CW C65 Vintage GMT Monta Oceanking

User avatar
Bahnstormer_vRS
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 20215
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:06 pm
CW-watches: 27
LE-two: 1
LE-three: 1
LE-foura: 1
LE-fourb: 1
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Bahnstormer_vRS » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:21 pm

Dare I say it, but I know what you mean Malcolm, which is why I always zoom in a bit when using my phone's camera; on a scale from 1.0 to 8.0 I zoom to 1.6 - 1.8.

I find this just enough to take out the wide-angle aspect of the lens in its default position but not so much that I start loosing picture quality, as the zoom on a phone (well mine at any rate) is digital and if you zoom in too far quality seems to suffer with pixelation.

Guy
C2 FLE |C4 |C5A MkI |C5 BOB |C6 |C7 MkI 47AD |C7 MkII Harrier |C7 Auto Chrono |C70 DBR1
C8 MkI |C8 Reg MkII |C8 M2.04 |C9 FLE |C9 Me109 SPC |C11Mak Ext
C60 FLE x2 |C60 SH21 x2 |C60 Chrono P'type |C60 Elite 1000 |C65 Khaki |C600 x2 |C1000 |C4&W7 BBMF

User avatar
nordwulf
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 2031
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:39 am

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by nordwulf » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:32 pm

I imagine 99% of the pictures you see on forums and Facebook are taken with a smartphone and most are close-ups.

In addition to the camera and focal length, you also have to know the sensor size to figure out the 'normal lens' focal length for your camera sensor. It is 27mm for my APS-C Sony A6300 so I use that focal length to give an accurate view of a watch on my wrist. I actually have a 30mm prime lens but that is close enough. A normal lens for a full frame sensor is 45mm. I think 35mm film required a 50mm lens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_lens
In photography and cinematography, depth compression and expansion with shorter or longer focal lengths introduces noticeable, and sometimes disturbing, distortion while a normal lens is a lens that reproduces a field of view that appears "natural" to a human observer.
Christopher Ward Club on Horology.World - CW Aficionados Facebook group

User avatar
nbg
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 7638
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:43 pm
CW-watches: 10
Location: UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by nbg » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:39 pm

OP - Good point, well made. I remember posting a couple of pics in CW of the day, asking which of two watches fitted me best. Not everyone spotted that it was the same watch.

The pic that gives the best representation of how a watch looks is to take the pic looking into a mirror. Another way is to remember that the idea is that you are wearing the watch, not the watch wearing you! ( note to self: if folk with a flat wrist size of less than say 7.25” want to wear a 43mm - 51.5mm L2L watch, for “wrist presence” that’s fine. Just accept that typically wearing 40mm watches with L2L of 47mm means you are unlikely to have anyone say “Wow what watch is that?”).

Neil
Other watch forums of interest:
TZ-UK

User avatar
welshlad
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 6626
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:33 am
CW-watches: 8
LE-two: yes
LE-three: yes
LE-foura: yes
LE-five: yes
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by welshlad » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:55 pm

Good post, Malcolm. As well as the wide angle issue in most smart phones, the exacerbating issue is that many photos are taken very close up. It is the latter point that makes the wide angle distortion exaggerated, as you've said.

Without wanting to take us too far into the world of the physics of lenses and cameras, the size of the sensor makes no difference to the distortion seen. A photo taken on an X mm lens at a distance of Y cm will show the same distortion regardless of what size sensor is in the camera. The sensor size just indicates how much of the image circle will be captured (or the "crop factor" if looked at that way). The sensor size also has some effect on the amount of depth of field (i.e. how much of the image, front to back, is in focus) along with the aperture size. The smaller the sensor, the more depth of field, everything else being equal. This, along with the short focal lengths on phone lenses, is why everything on phone images is normally in focus - throwing backgrounds out of focus is near-impossible on phone cameras.

Anyway, I digress a little! :oops:
CWL C1R | C60 x2 | C70 x4 | C8
Omega Speedmaster | AT8500 | AT2500 | PO Ti
Rolex Exp 114270 | Sub 14060 Zenith EP1969 Damasko DA44
Grand Seiko Snowflake Seiko 55 Fathms
Citizen Promaster Tissot V8 Vratislavia S6 Casio WT Luch 1Hand

User avatar
Essex Paul
Forumgod
Forumgod
Posts: 905
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:07 pm
CW-watches: 1

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Essex Paul » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:43 pm

Great post indeed!

My Submariner looks HUUUUGE on my wrist close up on iPhone.
It’s really not..... at all.

Very good comparison shots of your C65 Trident. Shows the effect perfectly.

:thumbup:
C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve

User avatar
Laird
Senior
Senior
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:15 am
CW-watches: 22
Location: UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Laird » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:09 am

Thanks - great insight !
Rolex Oyster BubbleBack | Most C70s Except DBR1 COSC/AM100 | C7 'BlueBird' | C7 IRR COSC | C7 Mk2 BRG LE | C7 Rapide Mk2 COSC | C4 Phoenix |C8 Pilots M1&2 | C60 316L Yellow |C8 UTC|C60 Trident GMT|C60 Trident Chrono Valjoux | C65 Classic Rose |

scooter
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 13689
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:14 pm
CW-watches: 1
LE-two: yes
LE-foura: yes
Location: UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by scooter » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:22 am

Photographs apart, a good test that you can make yourself is whether the lugs hang over your wrist or not.

If they do it's not a great look.

scooter
#1 scooter blue 2012 FLE (50 made)

User avatar
Amor Vincit Omnia
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 19831
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:34 pm
CW-watches: 8
LE-six: Yes
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:45 am

I would agree with that, scooter.

But, who am I to tell people whether their watches are too big or small? My own track record on watch sizes is somewhat erratic to say the least.

Fascinating posts on the difference a camera or lens can make. I use an iPhone exclusively these days and unless I am deliberately using the macro on the Camera+ app, I take wrist shots from somewhere near my right ear and then crop. Now I know why! :D
Steve
The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.
Charles Babbage


@Avo238

User avatar
H0rati0
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 1027
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:49 am
CW-watches: 3
Location: Bayern

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by H0rati0 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:24 pm

scooter wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:22 am
Photographs apart, a good test that you can make yourself is whether the lugs hang over your wrist or not.

If they do it's not a great look.

scooter
That's it in a nutshell. :thumbup:

Smaller is a matter of taste (piece dependant) so who's to say it's too small?

nik
"There is no beginning to enlightenment and no end to training" - Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

Proodscot
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:14 pm

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Proodscot » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:53 pm

One thing you can do with a phone is to take an arm lengths picture then Zoom in . You lose some quality but you get a better sense of the size.
Although size is a matter of taste, I have noticed that one can quickly become habituated to a different size - I. My case I bought a watch 4mm smaller than my usual taste and after wearing it for a few days all my other watches seem huge.

Jcalder68
Expert
Expert
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:00 pm
CW-watches: 6

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Jcalder68 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:44 pm

It’s also a case of fashion, probably belended with availability of technology at the time. Go back to the 50s or earlier and you never see a watch much over about 34mm case diameter unless you were a fighter pilot. If I recall correctly,a decade or few ago Tudor released a 38mm Prince model and christened it “Jumbo” thanks to its oversized dimensions.
On the other hand, a few years ago the trend was for 44mm or greater for many brands.
Personally, I’m glad the trend for larger sizes is getting less popular. My wrists are not massive, nor are they skeleton skinny, and my watches tend to be 38-41mm. I tend to pick watches that have lug lengths that fall within my wrist width, rather than exact case dimensions and ones that wear comfortably. After all, it’s me that has to live with it on a daily basis...

C
CW Watches (To Date): Trident M3 40mm, C60 Pro 300, C60 Pro 600 Vintage, C65 GMT, C65 Diver Auto, C65 Diver Manual
Others (To Date): Sinn 104, Seiko SNA411, G-Shock

Salgud
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:16 am
CW-watches: 0
Location: Denver

Re: When people ask if their watches look too big.

Post by Salgud » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:59 pm

scooter wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:22 am
Photographs apart, a good test that you can make yourself is whether the lugs hang over your wrist or not.

If they do it's not a great look.

scooter
That’s the same criteria that I’ve been using since I started collecting. It works well for me. I’ve been wearing watches between 38 mm and 42 mm on my six and three-quarter inch wrist (I measure just above the wrist bone because that’s where I wear my watches)
However, My most recent purchase is in vintage Omega, 1947, 32.5 mm watch. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because it is so small, but I very quickly got used to it and now my other watches seem quite large. Now I prefer smaller watches for dress watches, and the bigger ones for my tool watches. It’s interesting how your tastes change with time.
Timex Weekender, Timex GMT double retrograde chronograph, Orient Bambino V4, Seiko Prospex Solar PADI Diver, August Steiner, Tissot Chemin Des Torrelles Powermatic 80, Baum & Mercier Capeland Chronograph, 1947 Omega

Post Reply