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Sometimes bigger isn’t better — at least when it comes to your watch. While chunky watches have their time and place (say, in a music video or as part of a streetwear-inspired look), the best watches should accent rather than overwhelm your outfit. The most fashionable people in the world never have to scream about their style. Instead, they understand that it’s often the little things that can make the largest impression.
For men, most traditional watches measure between 40-45 mm across the case. Anything over that is considered an oversized watch. Slim watches average between 37-39 mm and are becoming increasingly popular as guys start seeing watches as not only an utilitarian accessory but a fashion accessory as well. The best slim watches will have a smaller dial and thinner strap, making your watch as easy to slip on as a bracelet. They’re often more lightweight than regular watches, making them more comfortable to wear over long periods of time. And they’re more versatile to wear too, with the ability to blend in with more outfits and occasions (you try making an XL sports watch work for a black tie wedding).
Slim watches are also great for people with smaller wrists. A large watch will often be too overwhelming on a small wrist, not to mention easy to slip off. A thin watch will look more proportionate, and ultimately, be more comfortable and secure.
A slimmer watch is less conspicuous, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less inspired. We’ve found some popular slim watches for men that are inspired by everything from the U.S. military to Danish design. Without a large case to show off, these watches stand out with more subtle details, like unique fonts and faces, mixed materials, monochromatic colorways and surprising built-in features. They’re all super durable and weather-resistant too.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current watch or add a great thin watch to your rotation, you’ll want to take a look at some of our favorite affordable slim watches. These well-reviewed timepieces are all made by watchmakers with decades of experience in both craftsmanship and technology, delivering good looks, convenient features and reliable performance in a small but mighty package.
1. Michael Kors Slim Runway Watch
Michael Kors describes his slim “Runway” watch as “polished perfection,” and it’s easy to see why. The matte black, stainless steel timepiece features a mineral crystal face, Japanese quartz movement and a classic “sun ray” dial. With a 44mm case, the watch isn’t significantly slimmer than most men’s watches, but the monochromatic design gives it the illusion of something more streamlined.
The watch is water-resistant to 50 meters and customers say the material is lightweight and comfortable. The classic three-link bracelet is easily adjustable by having a jeweler remove links.
The contemporary styling of this watch makes it an easy upgrade or addition to your watch collection. It looks just as good with a suit as it does with a T-shirt and jeans.
PROS: Luxury-looking timepiece at an accessible price point.
CONS: Some say the black-on-black design makes it hard sometimes to see the hands on the dial.
2. Skagen Sundby Titanium and Stainless Steel Mesh Watch
Taking inspiration from the principles of minimalism and traditional Danish design, this Skagen watch is slim and subtle, with a chic gunmetal colorway and a unique construction process that merges titanium with stainless steel.
The watch is made with a titanium case and titanium bezel, with a stainless steel bracelet finished in a mesh design.
The case size measures 37mm, for a slim profile. Features include quartz movement, mineral crystal face and a three-hand analog display and date window. The watch is water-resistant to 100 feet, though it’s not recommended for swimming or showering.
This watch is presented in a simple Skagen gift box for easy gifting.
PROS: A thin, lightweight watch that’s simple, stylish and very comfortable to wear.
CONS: The watch features a luminous dial, though it’s not always easy to see in the dark.
3. Timex Weekender Watch
The handsome Timex Weekender is one of the most popular watches in the market, thanks to its rugged good looks, durable materials and time-honored craftsmanship.
Some of the first Timex watches were designed for military use in WWI, and the same precision and attention to detail continues to this day with the Weekender.
The silver-tone 38mm brass case is surrounded by a scratch-resistant mineral glass, while the leather strap will patina beautifully, getting softer and more comfortable over time. The dial features white digits against a black face, making it super easy to read. Out at night? Timex’s popular “Indiglo” backlight keeps things illuminated. The dial offers the ability to tell both 12 and 24-hour time.
The Weekender is water-resistant up to 100 feet. Splashes of water or rain won’t do any damage, but we don’t recommend swimming or showering with it.
More than a dozen different colors and case/strap combos available.
PROS: The slip-through design of the straps makes it easy to swap out your band for a different material or design.
CONS: Some say the ticking sound of the watch is quite loud.
4. Casio F91W-1 Classic Resin Strap Digital Sport Watch
The classic Casio digital watch is back, with its nostalgic mix of retro styling and utilitarian charm. The 33mm watch features an easy to read digital time and date display, built-in alarm, stopwatch, chronological/measuring modes, and night light.
The watch is water-resistant; the dial and the resin strap will hold up even if accidentally submerged in water.
If you’re looking for a professional timepiece for the office, this won’t be it. But if you’re looking to celebrate your childhood and reclaim a piece of nostalgia, this digital watch can’t be beat.
PROS: Fun, retro design.
CONS: Backlight is dim.