Is Your Watch Too Fat? Sizing Up Hollywood's Latest Timepiece Trend (Guest Column)
Andrew Weitz, a talent agent turned executive-style consultant, weighs in on the latest fad: smaller watches for men and bigger ones for women.
This story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Over a decade ago, I noticed a male colleague of mine at Endeavor (now WME) wearing a 44mm diameter Audemars Piguet. Then it seemed everyone — friends, associates, athletes and celebrities — was sporting large-faced timepieces. The look was flashy, confident and an uber-masculine way to signal status and spending power. I fell in love with a 42mm stainless-steel Breitling Chronometre, my first large-faced luxury timepiece. Over time, the trend went extreme. Arnold Schwarzenegger sported an outrageous 53mm U-Boat — not quite beer-can diameter, but getting there.
Perhaps it's just the fashion pendulum swinging back again, or men's style maturing overall, but a lot of guys in Hollywood now are wearing smaller watches. I was at dinner recently with a few industry friends (agents, attorneys, executives) and all of the gentlemen were wearing expensive watches, but they weren't chunky. They ranged from a Bremont to a Patek to a Rolex Milgauss — all elegant at 38mm to 40mm. As stylist Miles Siggins, who dresses Ryan Seacrest, tells me, "There is a definite trend to smaller, thinner cases, like the Zenith Ultra Thin, that started a year or so ago."
Meanwhile, some of the brands associated with oversizing are downsizing. You now can get 40mm and 42mm from Panerai. The majority of Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshores went from 44mm to 42mm last year. And Breitlings that were once a whopping 48mm are offered at a (still husky) 44mm. "The watch industry is now trying to find a happy medium around 40mm to 42mm. Some manufacturers are even offering the same watch in different sizes," says watch collector and Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick, who, even at 6-foot-4, prefers elegant 37mm to 39mm watches by F.P. Journe and Patek Philippe. (Some watches that I currently love in the 38mm to 40mm range are a Vacheron Constantin, an IWC Chronograph and the rose-gold Panerai Radiomir.)
At the same time, Swiss makers are releasing women's watches bigger than some of the men's styles. At the Baselworld watch fair in March, Tag Heuer debuted a special-edition Carrera (with British supermodel Cara Delevingne) black-on-black watch that measures 41mm across. Both Parmigiani and Tissot brought out 42mm women's watches. "The boyfriend jean has become ubiquitous ... why not steal the boyfriend's watch, too?" says stylist Jeanne Yang (whose client list includes Christian Bale). "For women, there's a certain masculine, cool, powerful look to it."
Don't get me wrong: Large-faced watches for guys are not going away. Watch devotees always will own at least one large-faced watch and one smaller timepiece. Large watches look great for when you are active and not wearing a dress shirt. The only rule is that a watch shouldn't be so big that the lugs stick out past your wrist. While a mega 48mm Hublot might look great on Michael Strahan, for the rest of us with smaller wrists, it won't. As a style consultant, if there is one piece of advice I can impart, it's that wearing a watch is like wearing clothes. Don't let your timepiece wear you; you wear the timepiece.