There is no better way for a man to subtly demonstrate his sense of style than through a wristwatch.
Whether you are trying to find one for formal occasions or simply a piece that you can wear daily, the options are truly limitless.
But no matter the occasion, you need to make sure that you select a wristwatch that actually fits.
An oversized watch face can look gaudy and downright bad, whereas a watch face that is too small will look feminine and out of place.
Therefore, we wanted to put together this roundup of the best wristwatches on the market suited for men with slightly small(er) than average wrists.
But we also go a step further…
Instead of just find watches that have modest face sizes, we also dissect the watch crystals, movement mechanisms, and even the width of the band.
Simply put – this easy-to-use guide will serve any man looking to add a quality watch at any price point to their ensemble.
Best Watches For Men With Small Wrists
What makes a great watch? By looking at this Seiko classic men’s timepiece, there are several ways to answer that question.
For starters, this particular model of the watch comes with a very traditional stainless steel linked band. This wrist band is sturdy but can easily be adjusted if it’s too large for the wrist. The second thing about this watch that stands out is how the case, the numbers, and the hands are all colored the same. It creates an incredible pop against the navy blue background of this watch.
Speaking of the case, this 37 mm watch face is appropriate for most wrist sizes.
As for the movement, this watch is considered automatic. It works with the motion of your wrist, so as long as you are moving, this watch should stay on time. It is water-resistant up to 100 ft, which makes it good for swimming with, but not for diving.
Reviewers give this handsome watch high praise, saying that it feels great on their wrist and that it looks phenomenal throughout the day. In addition, the glass covering the face is made of sapphire crystal, so it’s scratch-resistant, keeping it pristine for longer.
While this watch does have “khaki” in the title, there’s really nothing khaki about this watch.
With that being said, it is a very nice casual watch if you like bold colors with contrasting stitching and a cool stainless steel case with large, bright numbers adorning the face. That is just what this watch is; a bold contrast between light and dark, with the dark wristband complementing the light-colored stainless steel case and the numbers around the black face offering incredible visibility even in a darker light.
The hands are also very bright, giving this watch a very sophisticated style.
The case measures up to 38 mm, a very respectable size for a watch like this. The sapphire dial window keeps the watch mostly free of scratches and scuffs, and the date window at 3 o’clock allows you to quickly reference both the date and the time at a glance.
The leather wristband is made from calfskin, a soft, pliable material that will bend and move with you the more you wear it, resulting in a very comfortable watch overall. This watch is also water-resistant up to 330 feet, which allows you to wear it for most water sports, just not for diving or long, extended periods underwater.
This casual watch is great for people who want a simple, easy-to-read timepiece for everyday use. It is a round, 39 mm faced watch that, while it is a little bigger than others, isn’t noticeably so, and it’s very lightweight.
The case itself is made from tough plastic, and the dial window is made from mineral glass which makes this watch incredibly sturdy and scratch-resistant. The band is made from nylon, and while it isn’t the fanciest material on the market, it is very sturdy and should stand up to a lot of wear and tear for a couple of years.
This watch is water-resistant up to 330 feet, which is good for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving or extended underwater wear. The watch face features a small dial for the date, and the watch itself is effortless to read.
Overall, it’s a very simple watch. The biggest issue with this watch is that it is rather expensive for what it is. The nylon strap with the snap buckle isn’t very attractive and has the chance to rub against the wrist if you move a lot. The case is plastic, which, while it is sturdy, does have the chance to break. It’s a nice watch, but perhaps a little pricey for what it is.
Tissot is well known for making handsome watches, with their superior craftsmanship and their gorgeous designs.
This watch is no different, featuring a stainless steel body with a textured band, and the case is much of the same. Elegantly simple but with enough decoration to make the piece pop. The flat black face creates a nice contrast against the silver hands and number markers.
Around the 3 o’clock mark is a date dial.
This watch is only resistant up to 100 feet of water, considerably less than other Tissot’s on the market, but still fairly respectable for this particular kind of watch.
You can wear it while washing your hands or doing other light water activities, but submersion underwater may render the time-keeping device inside the watch useless. This Tissot watch is very affordable for what you get, which is phenomenal for anyone looking for a solid watch to wear casually or as a part of a dressier outfit. Reviewers are incredibly happy with how this watch performs, saying that it looks and feels great on their wrist.
Seiko watches are always in style, whether you want them for casual wear or dressy occasions.
This watch, in particular, is a dress watch, but you could wear it in a casual setting as well. The goldtone is incredibly classy and works well with any outfit.
The whole watch is colored in this gold coloring, from the face to the wristband. This continuity throughout the watch is incredibly pleasing to the eye; many watches employ contrasting colors and varied textures to draw the eyes over the watch, but this piece is elegant as it is handsome, and that is a lot of the charm in this watch.
This watch uses Japanese quartz movement, an ultra-precise method of keeping time that is incredibly popular today.
Ideal for men that wear watches all day or use their hands a lot throughout the day. It is water-resistant to 100 feet which makes it good for splashes, brief immersion, or rain, but it is inadvisable to swim or keep the watch underwater for long periods of time.
Bulova is well known for making extraordinary watches at very affordable prices. This quartz-powered watch, in particular has a wide, white face adorned with rose gold around the case. Rose gold markers around the face serve as numeral positions, and the slim hands are made of the same material. This coloring ties very well into the brown and tan hues of the wristband, giving this piece a feeling of completeness.
On the side of the face is the date dial, allowing you to keep track of the date and time. You will never be unprepared with a watch like this.
This is a 37 mm wide watch, so it’s a little bigger than some of the other watches on the market, but it’s not so big that it’s bulky.
In fact, this watch has a very slim profile that works well with many different outfits. However, it isn’t very water-resistant, but can withstand a few splashes of water or rainfall without breaking. Submerging this in water for extended periods of time will cause the watch to malfunction, so if you are swimming, take care to remove the watch.
Casio sports watches are great little devices to have.
They help you keep track of the time, but they also have a slew of other features for anyone who is even slightly athletic. For instance, this model of watch has a digital stopwatch accurate to 1/100ths of a second, an hourly time signal, an auto calendar, as well as a display showing the day and the date. It’s very easy to use, easy to read, and fits comfortably on the wrist.
The watch looks extremely classy as well, with a stainless steel band and stainless steel case. The rectangular display allows for everything to fit on the screen very easily as well.
Buyers love the fit of this watch, saying that it’s the perfect size for what they need it for. It’s neither big nor bulky and allows them to do what they need to do with ease.
Casio is a familiar brand, and many people have owned one at some point or another. However, the most memorable thing about any Casio is the way the digital watches light up. The backlighting on this watch is phenomenal and allows you to easily read the display in low light conditions.
Additionally, this watch is water-resistant, good for showering, swimming, but not diving.
This watch is a fairly simple member of the Casio family.
It features a plain black band segmented equally around the wrist, a plain black case that encompasses a black face, and gold number markers with gold hands to give the watch some pop. Unfortunately, this watch does not have a date dial or any way of keeping track of the calendar, but not every watch needs such a feature.
This watch is water-resistant, allowing you to get it wet and submerge it briefly. It isn’t recommended that you dive with it, but it should be suitable for other parts of your day.
Buyers of this watch commend its simplistic style and overall functionality. Casio is known for making watches on all ends of the spectrum, and while this watch, in particular, is definitely inexpensive, it doesn’t compromise its quality.
The biggest complaint that people have with this watch is that it is very small. The case sits at around 35 millimeters, so it is fairly small for a men’s watch, but it’s not feminine at all. As far as downsides to this watch, the small size is the only major one that buyers have a problem with.
Red is widely considered a “power color” around the world, which is why red sport or muscle cars are so popular.
They say to the world, “Look at me, look at what I’m capable of.” This Ferrari watch has bright red accents against a bold black background, the perfect combination of powerful accent and bold yet simplistic design.
The face is designed to look like the speed gauge of a vehicle, which makes sense as Ferrari makes cars. So at the top of the watch, where the 12 o’clock marker would be, is the Ferrari symbol. The wristband is rubber and textured to look like tire treads. It’s a very sleek and cool-looking accessory.
The case measures 38.1 mm across, a fairly respectable size for watches of this type. Not too big and not too small, just perfect for most wrist sizes.
The watch uses quartz movement to keep ticking, a popular choice in watches today. In addition, the mineral crystal glass protecting the face is scratch-resistant, meaning it is durable through everyday wear and tear. It’s also water-resistant to 100 ft; in other words, it can handle splashes from washing your hands or rainwater, but submersion in water (such as showering or swimming) may hurt the watch.
If you’re looking for a name-brand watch that is equally functional as it is stylish, this 37mm Guess men’s watch is the perfect watch for you. This watch features a simple face design, with a diamond each at the 12 and 6 o’clock markers.
The recognizable GUESS logo is printed on the face as well, so you know you’re getting a genuine product. The hands are a cool silver color, and while there are no numbers printed on the face, it is still very easy to tell the time.
The band is a woven design, making this more a casual watch than a dressy one, but you can still wear it to any occasion if you wish.
The watch is ion-plated stainless steel, giving it that cool black look. The mineral crystal glass is incredibly durable and will resist scratches and scuffs through everyday use. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most water-resistant watch on the market, only able to withstand 165 feet of water.
Good enough for washing your hands or being out in the rain, but swimming, snorkeling, and diving are not recommended.
This incredibly militaristic-looking watch is perfect for men looking for something more heavy-duty than the standard watches sold in jewelry stores.
In fact, this is one of the standard-issue watches given to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. With this in mind, it is an incredibly sturdy watch that can stand up to almost everything you throw at it. The face has a clean, well-written design, with marks both on the inside and around the case for ease of reading. The hands are silver, and it is clear where they are around the watch.
For low light conditions, the watch lights up, and the numbers glow in complete darkness. Very handy if you tend to work late in the night.
Tritium gas tubes help illuminate this watch and are good for up to 25 years of use. The watch is Swiss-made, using only the best materials for the job.
The watch was designed with Search and Rescue in mind, so it has to stand up to all sorts of abuse. This watch does require a battery, but there is a handy indicator built into the watch to let you know when a battery change is needed. Overall, this is an incredibly useful watch to own and is sure to last you through several years of use.
This Nixon watch features a stainless-steel case with silver hour markers and a black, contrasting face that makes this piece really pop. The hands are expertly crafted into a hollow-looking shape, a unique twist on standard watch hands. The mineral dial window is clear, giving the watch a nice shine from the front, and is additionally fairly scratch-resistant from wear and tear.
The Japanese quartz motion keeps this watch going, meaning that it is incredibly accurate for as long as the battery is healthy. What is really striking about this watch is the calfskin leather band, which is thick enough to hold its shape but soft enough to not feel restricting.
It’s also a very nice, deep red color that looks incredibly attractive next to the case.
Buyers love how handsome this watch is. It’s light, despite the band being rather thick, but it doesn’t feel cheap. This Nixon watch is incredibly inexpensive for being a popular brand, making it accessible for anyone to get their hands on.
Customers also say that the leather doesn’t take long to break in, which is ideal for maximum comfort. Overall, it’s a great little watch to own for casual or dress wear.
This watch by Seiko features an interesting take on how watches are set up. The face of this watch has second markers along the outside of the face, taking precedence over the hour markers present on the face’s inner circle.
The hands are very well designed and give this watch some lovely contrast. The hands against the black background also make the watch easy to read at first glance, which is a plus for exceptionally busy people.
The case reads 37 mm across and is plain stainless steel which doesn’t detract from the watch at all. The band is made from canvas, a great material for longevity, but it isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing about this watch.
Besides the strap, this is an incredibly functional watch. The watch features automatic movement, luminosity, and a sweeping second hand to minimize distracting noise in an otherwise quiet environment.
There is also a date dial that can be programmed in either English or Spanish, depending on the user’s preference. Overall, a great-looking watch that is well worth the price you pay for it.
Timex watches haven’t changed too much over the years; they still feature a simple, easy-to-use design and the kind of reliability you would expect in a brand-name digital watch.
The T5E901 Ironman Watch features Timex’s classic look with superior reliability, all in a neat little package. This watch features an easy-to-read digital display surrounded by a sleek resin case for durability and simplicity. While it isn’t made of expensive materials like titanium or stainless steel, you may find that this watch is competitively durable for everyday wear.
Like most Timex digital watches, the Ironman features Timex’s signature Indiglo backlighting to allow you to read it in the dark. This watch also has a countdown timer and an alarm programmed inside, and both are easily customizable using the buttons present on the side of the case.
For runners and marathoners, this watch also has a sports stopwatch that can record and memorize up to 30 laps. If running isn’t your cup of tea, this watch is also water-resistant up to 330 feet, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
With a case diameter of 38 mm, this watch is a perfect fit for the active man in you.
Simple, elegant, and does more than you ask of it; these are the traits that any good watch should have. This timepiece by Withings combines the functionality of a regular watch with the advanced function of an activity and a sleep tracker built right in.
This watch is phenomenally simple in design but is exceptionally functional. The activity and sleep tracker are incredibly advanced. However, it does require that you keep the watch on your person to reap the full benefit of this watch.
The sleep tracker monitors both light and deep sleep and has a functional gentle alarm to wake you up with a small vibration in the morning. This watch also tracks calories burned, miles ran, and steps taken, along with other fitness features. If you are active, this watch is ideal for keeping on you at all times.
The strap is designed to not slip and slide, and there are customizable options that you can choose from to make this piece distinctly yours. The watch is incredibly sleek, very well designed, and has gotten a lot of positive feedback from buyers regarding the usefulness of the product.
Watch Crystals Overview
When it comes to selecting the type of crystal or window for your next wristwatch, you will notice that the crystals typically come in a few different varieties (ranked in descending order of quality):
- Plexiglass / Acrylic
Here are a few highlights on each one of the crystals:
Sapphire: Sapphire crystal is one of the hardest minerals on earth (with only diamond being higher on the Mohs Hardness Scale).
Simply put, sapphire is the Rolls Royce when it comes to watch crystals. Its incredible hardness makes it extraordinarily difficult to scratch – which makes it perfect for everyday wear and tear.
However, you shouldn’t put this to the test.
Even though sapphire is scratch-resistant, the face could become blemished if it’s hit against a surface incredibly hard.
Another catch with sapphire has to do with its impact resistance.
According to watch enthusiasts that hang out in popular forums like watchuseek, they generally agree that sapphire does tend to show blemishes when impacted by a foreign object.
While this may sound undesirable, it’s important to note that this is in extreme conditions and likely not applicable for 99% of men out there who don’t find themselves in precarious situations daily.
With the high-end quality you get when picking up a sapphire crystal window for your next wristwatch, don’t expect a modest price tag.
In fact, most of the sapphire crystal watches we rounded up for this article had a price tag north of $300.
Mineral: The second best watch crystal available for wristwatches is mineral. Essentially a glass composition, mineral is susceptible to scratching; however, like glass, it is pretty inexpensive.
This surface is great for those men out there that still want a watch that can withstand daily abuses without scuffing as easily as plexiglass or acrylic composition.
While a mineral crystal watch isn’t likely to be a family heirloom, this crystal does make it easy for men to add a variety of watches for different occasions (i.e., dress, sport, daily, etc.) at a much lower price point.
Plexiglass / Acrylic: While some watchmakers may market their watch as having a Plexiglas (this is just a brand name like Kleenex is for facial tissues) or acrylic watch face, both of these materials are derived from acrylic and have similar properties (hence their grouping here).
Acrylic is used on watches due to its incredibly low price point.
Watches like the sub $10 Casio MQ24-1E, while stylish, rely on this inexpensive material for their watches.
As we eluded to in previous sections, don’t expect acrylic to last you for years as this material is both susceptible to impacts and scratches rather easily.
However, if you are looking for a cheap novelty watch or one that you can wear daily to the office or on the weekends, then it will be fine enough to get the job done.
Other: Rarely will you see some manufactures develop their own proprietary watch crystal.
Most notably, you will find that many Seiko watches rely on Hardlex. Which, according to Seiko, is considered to be a hardened grade of mineral glass.
If you find a watch crystal that isn’t Sapphire, Mineral, or Acrylic, we recommend contacting the manufacturer to find out more about the composition.
The Movement Of Time
Many wristwatches on the market fall into two categories when it comes to movement:
So how do these two differ?
The most obvious difference between these two movement mechanisms is how they are powered (or lack thereof).
Quartz: Quartz-based watches (typically Japanese or Swiss) rely on a battery to keep time moving. Therefore, depending on the wristwatch type you decide to purchase, you may need to bring it into a jeweler to have the battery changed professionally, or you can do it yourself (most grocery stores or drug stores carry watch batteries behind the counter).
Automatic: Many men, including myself, find automatic watches extraordinarily convenient. While typically commanding a higher price tag, this wristwatch movement type doesn’t rely on a battery to keep time.
Instead, automatic watches simply rely on the movement of your body to keep it self-wound.
The downfall of this, of course, can be if you don’t wear a watch regularly (i.e., dress watch).
Therefore, what we like to recommend to men is that they pick up an accompanying watch winder. These keep your watch(es) wound between wearings – plus they put your watch on display! This is also incredibly convenient should you have more than one automatic watch in your collection.
Note: If you plan on only owning one automatic watch and are planning to wear it daily, you can skip on purchasing a watch winder.
Is A Sub-40mm Watch Case The Right Size For Your Wrist?
In our product roundup, we selected popular watches on the market that have a watch case (face) that is under diameter of 40mm.
As we eluded to in the opening, overly large watch faces can look gaudy and just downright bad.
Buying Online Is Hard – Especially When Trying To Figure The Best Watch For Small Wrists
The last thing you want after hitting the ‘Buy Now’ button is to make a trip to your local Post Office to send the watch back because it is too large.
Therefore, to make things a bit easier, we went ahead and created a printable PDF to see how a 38mm watch face would look on your wrist.
Of course, many online retailers have pretty lenient return policies, so don’t be afraid to use them should you not be completely satisfied with your purchase – after all, what good is a watch if it’s just sitting in your dresser collecting dust?
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.