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What qualifies as a thin watch?

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It's winter, so it's time for a thin watch that slides under the cuff easily. What's a good thin? The answer to this question is a range.

Seen above is what I consider to be the standard for what a good thin watch is, the Casio A158. Not just because it's thin, but the right thin.

I'll explain.

Where thin watches are concerned you have thin, thin-ish and too thin.

Generally speaking, the range you're looking for when it comes to a thin watch is something between 8mm and 10mm thick.

The reason the A158 works so well is because it's 8.2mm thick with rounded edges. True, its shape has angles, but the edges are all rounded over. Absolutely nothing about the A158 is sharp, which for a thin watch is exactly what you want.

A thin-ish watch is a Seiko Recraft, which is 12mm thick, but does have the nice rounded edges with nothing sharp going on. The compact lug-to-lug of about 45.6mm is also quite nice. Also bear in mind the Recraft does have a mechanical automatic movement, so to get something not quartz in a case under 13mm thick is really good.

Too thin would be the Casio A700W, which is just 6mm thick. I actually own one of these, and can confirm that is an accurate figure. It's more angular than the A158 is but there's still nothing sharp going on to the touch. The problem with a watch this thin is that it never really fits correctly even if you get the bracelet sized just right. There's just not enough watch there for it to ever feel truly comfortable.

To put this in perspective, Casio AQ230 (I own two) is a small watch, but the 8.1mm thickness makes it wear so much nicer compared to the A700W.

Or, take the Casio CA53W calculator watch. We in the 8 territory again at 8.2mm thick. Feels fantastic for a thin watch.

Going a little thicker is the Casio A500WA at 9.6mm thick. Once again, wears very nicely for a thin watch.

HOWEVER...

Even when a watch is within the range of 8mm to 10mm thickness, there is such a thing as thin and truly bad. Fossil Minimalist is like this. Too thin and too big at the same time, resulting in a "pie plate" on your wrist that can result in lug overhang very easily. Even large-wristed guys would have a problem making this watch look decent. This piece desperately needs to be a 38mm, but it's unfortunately much larger than that. If you look at the customer photos on that link, you'll see what I mean. In every single wrist photo, the watch looks way too large and the thinness absolutely doesn't save it.

When thin is done right, you get something like the small (and gold) quartz analog Citizen BH1673. That one is 9mm thick, and when you look at the customer photos for that one, we're doing much better.

Thin is good for watch, but the case shape also must be good for it to truly be comfortable and look decent.

Published 2024 Jan 11

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