Optical Illusion??
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  1. #1
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    Optical Illusion??

    Okay, I have a question I hope y'all can help me with about determining the size of a watch, or rather, how that watch is going to wear on my wrist. FYI, I have about an 8" wrist.

    I like purchasing most of my watches online and seem to struggle when accurately judging the size of a watch, and how's it going to look/wear, other than the obvious stated measurements of the watch. I know it sounds crazy, but I have purchased watches that measure 42mm, and they wear like a 44mm. I've purchased 44mm watches that wear like a 40mm (dial) or less, and I've purchased a 45mm watch that turned out to be larger than I thought it would. It seems as if the bezel has something to do with it, but not always.

    Is there a rule of thumb one could go by to get a better idea of how a particular size watch might wear short of trying it on? Which really isn't all that viable of a solution when purchasing online.

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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    One of the best articles I've read on the subject.

    https://theslenderwrist.com/watch-size-guide/

    Obviously, the external dimensions matter, but so do dial/crystal size and diameter of the indices.
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    Quote Originally Posted by MX793 View Post
    One of the best articles I've read on the subject.

    https://theslenderwrist.com/watch-size-guide/

    Obviously, the external dimensions matter, but so do dial/crystal size and diameter of the indices.
    Excellent article! It answered many of my questions.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    The height and the lug-to-lug matter as well as the diameter and the bezel thickness/type. There's a lot that goes into your subjective judgment and that is the ultimate criteria anyway. I have a couple 43mm divers that I swing on my flat 7.5" wrist with Popeye forearms. But I can also wear a 30mm rectangular piece and a 36mm dress watch.

    You can wear most anything out there with your wrist size, from a 46mm Breitling or 45mm Panerai on down to a 36mm Datejust if you want. Find the watch that you think looks best on you and take its measurements, then adjust up or down for the type of watch you want (e.g. sport, dress, etc.).
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTX View Post
    Is there a rule of thumb one could go by to get a better idea of how a particular size watch might wear short of trying it on?
    Numbers never explain the shape or looks. Two better options:

    1. Buy from an online seller with a good return policy and try it on. That's what the return policy is made for.
    2. Find a frontal picture of the watch, size it correctly in any software you like, and print it out in 100% size. Glue it on some layers of thick cardboard to give it some depth, cut it out and try it on.


    Edit: just to illustrate that the second method actually works, I quickly made a paper model of the watch I'm wearing today. Doesn't look like the real thing, but for getting an impression of the actual size, it's good enough.


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    Watch dimension specs mean nothing on an individual, line by line basis. They have to be considered as a whole to understand how a watch is going to look and wear on wrist. Once you get the hang of it, you could tell if a watch is going to wear well by just looking at a comprehensive list of dimensions that involve dial, bezel, case, crystal, etc diameters, even color, and not even need a picture.

    The number one thing to consider is: how wide is the actual colored area of the watch design? You can have a 44mm case watch, but if the bezel only extends out to 40mm, it's going to be visually smaller than 44mm. Case in point: the Doxa 300 has a 42mm case and a 38mm wide bezel. The Sinn 104 had a 41mm case and a 41mm bezel. Which watch looks bigger? The 41mm Sinn, not the 42mm Doxa.

    If the bezel is steel colored, the apparent size reduces even further. My Seiko Tuna has a 46mm case but a very small 30ish mm dial surrounded by a steel bezel. The steel bezel doesn't contribute much to the visual size on wrist, so in fact the watch doesn't look much bigger than my 42mm SKX.

    If the watch has a light or white colored dial, things change a bit since white/silver will blend into the silver case, making the entire thing appear as one unit.

    If the watch has no bezel, the same principle applies, but with a twist: all dial watches tend to look bigger than bezeled watches. This is because there is no bezel to break up the expanse of a large dial that had to fill the more of the case size.

    Lug to lug is important, but you must also consider the lug shape. A steinhart 39mm has awfully straight lugs that make the watch wear more clumsily than a much larger watch with curved, sloped lugs.

    Just a few points out of many to consider when considering a watch purchase. The best way of course is to try before you buy, but that isn't always possible, so you'll have to learn how to read and interpret dimensions ad a whole.

    (Also, don't use wrist shot photos as reference, they are terrible at conveying size due to camera lens compression and distortion).
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    Quote Originally Posted by jmai View Post
    (Also, don't use wrist shot photos as reference, they are terrible at conveying size due to camera lens compression and distortion).
    The main problem is distance to the wrist, not lens compression or distortion.


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    Same watch, same camera, same day, but different distances:


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    Improper distance between wrist and camera is why most wrist shots are useless for size estimations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffritz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jmai View Post
    (Also, don't use wrist shot photos as reference, they are terrible at conveying size due to camera lens compression and distortion).
    The main problem is distance to the wrist, not lens compression or distortion

    Same watch, same camera, same day, but different distances:

    Improper distance between wrist and camera is why most wrist shots are useless for size estimations.
    Compression and distortion is related to distance and focal length. We're in agreement in concept, just not in the technicalities (which we can talk endlessly about, but that would derail the thread).
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    That article is really well thought through. But I still feel like you should never buy a watch without trying it on. There are too many variables and it needs to feel right.
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    Re: Optical Illusion??

    Quote Originally Posted by lo_scrivano View Post
    That article is really well thought through. But I still feel like you should never buy a watch without trying it on. There are too many variables and it needs to feel right.
    Not necessarily possible in many instances. If there are no ADs near you or you are buying a hard-to-find vintage piece via the Internet (eBay, etc), you may be forced to buy sight unseen. If I limited myself only to buying watches I could try on first, I'd be limited to Citizen, Bulova, Movado, US market Seiko, Tag, Victorinox, Casio, Timex, and fashion brands that the department stores carry.
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