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The case size is only half the story!

It's amazing how we blindly start to visualise a watch to wear on the wrist based on the case size which manufacturer specifies for the watch. And then we start to compare other watches from other brands which are specified to be of the same size, only to be surprised later when we see these watches in real life and strap them on the wrist, on finding out that the watches are either too big or considerably smaller from the size we imagined based on those specs.


There's more to how the watch looks and it wears, than just the case size that the manufacturer specifies. For reference, both of the watches as below are marketed as 40mm case watches. Now the real question is, do they look the same sized to you?




The Moser Streamliner at 40mm looks to be at least 2mm larger watch than the Patek Philippe Nautilus on the right.. Doesn't it?


Now, lets take a look at another example.. Below is a 40mm Moser Streamliner vs a 39mm Royal Oak...



Does the Moser Streamliner look like only 1mm watch than the Royal Oak? Yeah.... Nah...


Now, lets look even past the 39mm or a 40mm size and compare the 40mm Moser with a 41mm Patek Philippe Aquanaut (which is marketed as 40.8mm in size).



Can you say that the Moser is a 1mm shorter watch here? Well.. I can't...


Now, I will also clarify that for a watch to look big on the wrist and for the watch to wear big on the wrist are two different things. The Moser Streamliner here looks big indeed, it doesn't necessarily wear big.. if you know what I mean? If you dont.. I will discuss it in my next blog.


Now coming back to the watch case size.. there's many other aspects that the manufacturers dont specify which essentially define how large or small the watch will look.. for example.. the dial size.. the bezel thickness.. the lug to lug... the 2 to 8 o clock size of the case... Giving a random watch case size on the website without telling the customers where did they measure that "marketed" size is only half the truth.


For reference the dial size on the Moser above is about 34mm.. as compared to the Royal Oak which is only 30mm at the dial, effectively reducing the face of the watch and resultantly looking like not just a smaller watch but overall more proportioned and well balanced watch of the two... that is, the Moser is said to be only 1mm big, but its dial is around 4mm bigger... Now you know why it looks four sizes bigger.


Irrelevant to the topic.. but I have to say that I still can't believe how did Genta sketch a watch on a piece of paper five decades ago, without any computer aid or modelling, and we are still not able to find a more proportioned or balanced watch.


Coming back to Moser, you might have guessed, but my review is coming out soon on my channel.. so stay tuned ;)


What are your thoughts on watch case sizes and particularly why the Moser above looks so much bigger than the other watches in example despite being the same or smaller in size (as per the specs)?


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Very good comments and analysis. I would like to add 2 more criteria that let a watch look bigger or smaller: the shape of the watch and the colour of the dial.

E.g.regarding the Moser the shape let the watch look bigger.

In general watches with a white or bright dial always appaer bigger than black or darker dial.

regards Ruedi

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This is what allows me to pull off the Deepsea on my 6.0” wrist—the dial diameter is not large, and everything in general looks proportionally “right”. Also notice how the dark dial is surrounded by the bright ring lock system, surrounded by the dark ceramic bezel, surrounded by the bright steel case. And the lug-to-lug is shorter than the span of my wrist, so it fits. A Deepsea!

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Ben Miles
Ben Miles
Jan 17, 2022
Replying to

Yes! For the reasons you state I feel the Seadweller 43mm wears larger than the 44mm DSSD across the dial.

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Ben Miles
Ben Miles
Jan 15, 2022

Great post. There is so much more than just the diameter to a watch. The AP 44mm watches for example are more like a 53mm piece. True monsters that make a Breitling Super Avenger look modest!

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Hafiz J Mehmood
Hafiz J Mehmood
Jan 16, 2022
Replying to

Thank you. AP 44mm are actually 57mm when you consider minimum flare. Interestingly the Moser doesn’t have the flare so the bracelet drops straight down - hence the reason I said, it doesn’t wear large, but it looks large due to bigger dial/face.

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Lug to lug and dial size (as well as thickness) definitely give a better idea of how a watch will wear. Dial size, more than anything, is the biggest guage, in my opinion. This is why even the 40mm IWC Mark XVIII wears larger than a 42mm Omega Diver 300. The dial real estate is ginormous.

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Hafiz J Mehmood
Hafiz J Mehmood
Jan 16, 2022
Replying to

That’s true. Lug to lug is the dimension most should be looking at when considering wearability, and not the case size. The lug to lug or watch minimum flare, ideally should be 4-5mm smaller at minimum than the wearers wrist width/wrist span. Thank you for reading.

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