Why Small Watches Are Making A Big Comeback

Why Small Watches Are Making A Big Comeback

In the ever-evolving world of horology and fashion, trends come and go, others, but some endure the test of time. Enter the comeback of small watches, a trend that's captivating both men and women with its understated, timeless appeal. But is it a trend or will it become the new norm? At Marloe Watch Company, we're proud to be part of the revival of the small watch movement with our Tay collection - a 35mm automatic 3-hander with exhibition caseback that captures the intricacies of small-watch design at its finest.

In an era where bigger often seems better, the allure of smaller timepieces might seem surprising. However, delve deeper, and you'll discover that subtle reigns supreme, and less truly is more. If you take notice of what A-listers have been wearing recently, you will have noticed a lot of them have been seen sporting some very small watches. Actor Timothée Chalamet, for example, has been seen wearing some sized as small as 23mm.

But it was only a couple decades ago that men's watches were the epitome of compactness. Coming in at approximately 33-36mm, these timepieces were celebrated for their modest proportions, with larger designs often regarded as outliers or cumbersome. The pendulum has swung back in favour of the former, as discerning consumers recognise their versatility, comfort and appeal. Our Tay, with its modest case size, echoes this, offering a refined alternative to its larger counterparts without compromising on style or functionality.

But what exactly makes small watches so irresistible to some but not to others? Let's explore.

man wearing a mechanical watch made by marloe watch company the tay sail

The Versatility of Size

One of the most compelling aspects of small watches is their versatility. Unlike their bulkier counterparts, which can sometimes dominate the wrist and be more prone to taking knocks during everyday life, smaller timepieces like the Tay sit on the wrist almost shielded, and effortlessly complement any outfit, from casual ensembles to formal attire. As noted by fashion experts at Vogue, GQ Magazine and Gear Patrol, the trend towards smaller watches reflects a shift towards more understated, minimalist accessories - a style choice embraced by fashion-forward individuals seeking timeless sophistication. 

photo of the marloe watch company tay sail

A Return to Classic Design

In a world saturated with technological gadgets and flashy accessories, there's a growing appreciation for classic design. Small watches hark back to an era when craftsmanship and attention to detail were paramount, offering a refreshing antidote to the disposable culture of fast fashion. The Tay, with its sleek, uncluttered dial, embodies this ethos, inviting wearers to embrace the beauty of simplicity, all day every day.

marloe watch company tay watch photos by happy customers

Customer images from Instagram.

Designed for All

Perhaps most notably, the revival of small watches reflects a broader cultural shift towards gender fluidity in fashion. Gone are the days when watches were strictly categorised as either "men's" or "women's." Instead, modern consumers seek accessories that transcend traditional gender norms, allowing them to express their own personal style. We at Marloe, have never labelled our watches as men’s or women’s; our watches are for everyone. The Tay exemplifies this inclusivity, with its versatile design appealing to anyone and everyone. 

Don’t be one of those who gets left behind because of old thinking - the watch industry is going through a much-needed update, which is why some younger brands with fresh ideas are performing so well. We always say, if you like the look of a particular watch, or it resonates with you in some way, wear it - it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Time Well Spent

At Marloe Watch Company, we take pride in creating timepieces that stand the test of time. The Tay, with its 35mm case size and universal design, embodies our commitment to excellence and dedication to doing things properly - not quickly. Each Tay watch is meticulously crafted to secure high standards of quality and precision, ensuring that wherever your journey takes you, it's Time Well Spent.

‘It’s certainly more challenging to design a small watch. With proportion complications, to having enough room in the case to fit the movement, the issues are greater in comparison with bigger watches. The craftsmanship will always be more precise because the tolerances are much smaller’

 - Gordon Fraser, Marloe Watch Company Co Founder and Designer. 

In conclusion, the resurgence of small watches represents a return to classic elegance and timeless sophistication. They exude subtlety and understated charm while maintaining a unique presence. In essence, a small watch possesses the wherewithal to match the capabilities of its larger counterparts without being ostentatious - a valid consideration in times of economic uncertainty. This may explain why, since the inception of wristwatches, and spanning the trenches of WW1 to the glamorous '50s era epitomised by icons like the Rolex Explorer, the vast majority of watches have measured less than 40mm. Here's to the enduring appeal of the small watch!

If this has inspired you to join the small watch movement, make sure you check out our Tay collection. The Tay invites wearers to embrace the beauty of simplicity in a world that often seems overwhelmed by excess. After all, when it comes to style, sometimes the smallest details make the biggest impact.

Shop our Tay collection here.

marloe tay collection
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  • For me, it is the opposite of Rick’s comment. As Gordon and Oliver will tell you, I waited a long time for them to bring out this ‘unisex’ watch. For me it had the added bonus of having a bigger dial than most ladies watches but not clumsy – just supremely stylish. ( It is not my first watch by the boys as I call them, I have worn even bigger ones made by them). I think the face of this watch is very clear, and the overall design is superb. My only minor criticism is that if they think woman might wear them – as I do – they need to punch a couple more holes in the watch strap to allow for possible women’s thinner wrists as I had to ask them very kindly to do this for me. Otherwise, a perfect watch in my opinion.

    Lynn Reid
  • Whilst I fully understand the principles and elegance of smaller dials, especially in more classically styled and vintage watches (of which I have quite a few), the issue I tend to now struggle with is when it comes to legibility. As I have advanced in years, my eyesight has become a little more constrained and as my long sightedness has increased. I now need glasses for anything close up, but not for anything else. So I have increasing found that wearing smaller dials necessitates having to find my glasses each time I need to read the time, which is a bit of a nuisance, and rather defeats the point of wearing a watch if I can’t always see it clearly. Now I fully appreciate that this is a me problem, but as an avid watch collector, a trend toward smaller dials is less helpful and sometimes disappointing. Disappointing because I see a fabulous new watch design and want to pick one up, but then discover it is a smaller dial and so I tend not to purchase it. Smaller dials are a struggle as you get older, so legibility is always a concern.

    I also have a larger wrist size, and so often find a smaller dial watch looks a bit lost and tiny. I still wear them, but generally I find I just can’t really go below a 38mm watch for readability now. I feel smaller dials are perhaps, a younger man’s watch these days.

    Rick Lawlor

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