What is the perfect watch size? Well, there isn’t a perfect answer. While smaller-sizes are experiencing a return to fashion thanks to a boom in the vintage market that’s affecting new releases, there are still plenty of collectors who prefer a bigger diameter dial. Whether it’s the physical build of the wrist, lifestyle choices or just a sartorial statement, a case can be made for both. For Mark Cho, the co-founder of the dapper gentleman’s retail boutiques The Armoury, a more subtle, understated piece suits his personal aesthetic. On the other hand, for Robert Mason, frontman of the rock band Warrant, what works best on stage for him is a much bigger beast (not just for style, but also because he needs a bigger dial to better read the time during a live concert). We had both weigh in on what works for them.
If you want to hear more, Cho will be doing a livestream lecture on the merits of small watches tonight at the Horological Society of New York at 9 PM EST. As for Mason, you’ll have to catch him backstage at his next gig. But since it might be a while before live performances resume, you can find him (and his watches) on Instagram @robertmasonvox.
In Favor of the Smaller Watch (36 mm and below), Mark Cho, co-founder of The Armoury and owner of Drake’s
“Do you remember before Covid-19 what it was like to go to a party with a friend? A wing person? You set out looking to talk to some interesting people, strike up some enjoyable conversation and see where the night takes you. The friend who accompanies you is an important part of how things turn out. A good friend backs you up, makes your jokes seem a little funnier, your ideas a little smarter and together, the two of you are a joy to be around. That friend would never shout over you, selfishly hog the limelight or drink the last of the wine. I think of that friend the same way I think about my favorite watches. I like watches that are discreet, subtle but endlessly entertaining to just the right people.
In the same way I don’t wear neon trucker hats, I also don’t wear things that don’t suit me both in size and in aesthetic. I like a watch that quietly and comfortably hugs my wrist. The lugs do not protrude past the edges of my wrist and the case looks in proportion with my hand. To an onlooker, the watch is a part of me. There is no sense of clumsiness or gimmickry that you might get with something oversized or overwrought.
Fine, small things are eye-catching and they command special attention. I’ve heard it said that if you want something to be read carefully, it is better to put it in a slightly paler ink so the reader is forced to focus carefully on what they are reading. A small watch piques curiosity as people can only glimpse it, sometimes hiding under a shirt cuff or revealing itself obliquely. The best are taken in bit by bit. Their design cannot be appreciated in just a glance and each subsequent viewing presents some new element. The first time might be the shape of the crown and the next is the precise shape of the applied markers. After taking it in fully you are left with a sense of wonder, like watching fireflies in the night.”
In Favor of the Larger Watch (42 mm and above), Robert Mason, lead singer of rock band Warrant:
As time went on, through the ’80s and ’90s, I graduated from local, regional and national live performances to worldwide touring. I don’t want nor need subtlety onstage; I’m there to lead the band, entertain & direct the audience, and capture their attention! I’d purchase watches like Tag Heuer, Omega, Rolex and then Panerai to celebrate career milestones and achievements.