From IWC to TAG Heuer – 10 of the best watches under 40mm from our buying guide (Part II) From IWC to TAG Heuer – 10 of the best watches under 40mm from our buying guide (Part II)

From IWC to TAG Heuer – 10 of the best watches under 40mm from our buying guide (Part II)

Zach Blass

In the name of my fellow tiny wristers, or just those who prefer watches closer to classic proportions, I’ve assembled a list of 10 of the best watches under 40mm listed in our NOW buying guide. For a long time the trend has been to scale watches up in size, with releases typically hovering above or equal to 40mm in diameter. But the people have spoken, and we are starting to see the tides change. You saw my first five picks in part one and now it is time to round the list out with part two.

under 40mm

Fears Brunswick Salmon

under 40mm

People are reeling over salmon dials. In the enthusiast community, the colour is all the rage and is one of the most sought-after dial tones by collectors. A lot of the time you have to really stretch your budget to find one that gets the tone right, such as a coveted Patek Philippe 5270P or Cartier Santos 90th anniversary limited edition – both of which are cased in expensive platinum. But have no fear, Fears has entered the salmon fold with the Brunswick Salmon. The 38mm cushion profile is very wearable on the wrist, and the dial shade is the perfect salmon tone. Fears is very transparent about the design process and very open about where components are sourced from. The brand enlisted a horological typographer to revive numerals found in their archives, each of which are diamond polished and then sandblasted before being applied to the dial. The dial itself is the result of galvanic coatings of 18kt rose gold and copper, the vertical brushing hand applied by specialists in Germany. Price: £2625

TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition

under 40mm

The TAG Heuer Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition was a fresh and lively update to the iconic Monaco design. It is typically associated with a blue dial and white registers, but the red introduced in this limited edition really catches the eye and is sure to be a conversation piece on the wrist. Notably, the Monaco watch gained its fame gracing the wrist of Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans. The 39mm square case has a distinct design you will not find from any other brand. Upon its release in 1969 it was lauded as the very first waterproof, automatic chronograph in a square case. While I am showcasing this particular reference we proudly added to our buying guide this year, to be frank you can’t go wrong with any Monaco watch that tickles your fancy. Price: $9950

Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition

under 40mm

With blue being the colour of 2020, it takes a special shade to stand out from the herd. The galvanized glacier blue of the Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition shocks you like a brisk winter wind, a lively blue sure to catch the eye of fellow watch spotters. Plus, as it stands, Glashütte Original does not necessarily have the most name recognition from mainstream buyers, so when you are caught wearing this watch by fellow enthusiasts, you’ll definitely get a knowing nod of approval. The slender 39mm case is under 10mm thick, making this a great watch to embolden your smart casual or even formal wear. And on the technical side, the in-house German movement is every bit as intriguing as the dial of the watch. The strap width is 19mm, but if you can source a variety of straps in the size many would go well with this glacier blue dial. Price: $10,000 (inc. VAT)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire

under 40mm

The quintessential pilot’s brand, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire leverages the iconic aviation design language of the brand. The watch is no-nonsense with a matte black dial and highly legible Arabic numerals. For vintage lovers, IWC has incorporated a well-designed shade of “fauxtina” into the dial that simulates the aging found on older tritium or radium dials. The warm sage hue achieved is beloved by collectors around the world but, as we all know too well, perfectly patinated timepieces can carry a premium. So instead, why not opt for a modern watch with a greater level of reliability, case integrity, and an industry competitive 72 hours of power reserve that evokes all the vintage traits watch buyers love? The 39mm case is 10.9mm thick, and has a utility-driven finish that is predominantly satin-brushed with hairline mirror polished bevels to the lugs – again vintage cues. With a lug width of 20mm, there is a lot of room to play strap monster here as well. Price: $7000

Zenith Defy Midnight

under 40mm

Going back to the topic of blue dials, the gradient dial of the Zenith Defy Midnight reflects the midnight sky and is an absolute standout. The dark blue fades down to a lighter shade, with stars printed on the dial evoking the image of a night sky in a pleasantly artistic manner. While the watch was billed as a “ladies” watch, I think we can all agree that anyone would want to slap this 36mm beaut on their wrist – the only potential matter of contention being the diamonds. It is a rather silly classification because diamonds today are a niche taste by all genders. That being said, the watch is so gorgeous it had me wondering if I needed a little bling in my collection. The integrated bracelet profile is a trending aesthetic nowadays, and Zenith has executed it very well. Price: $15,800

Get your copy of the NOW Watching Buying Guide here