Slim is in

Like the siren’s song, watchmakers were lured by the temptation of XXL. Bigger, thicker, more imposing, watches were put on a diet of bodybuilding hormones. Not so today, as classic-sized timepieces mark their return.

Piaget already gave a taste of things to come with last year‘s Altiplano 900P, yet another demonstration of the expertise behind the brand’s impressive string of records for ultra-thin movements. In this latest exploit, Piaget skimmed its watch down to a thickness of 3.65mm including the case. A Swiss replica watches uk with such a slim profile could easily have expanded outwards on the wrist, and the off-centre dial and visible gears indeed give the impression of a watch that takes up a respectable amount of wrist real estate. In reality, the Altiplano 900P has a 38mm diameter. And while Piaget presents it as a model that will appeal equally to men and women, not so very long ago it would have been filed under women’s watches without a second thought. This year, Piaget exercises similar restraint with its hand-wound Altiplano Chronograph which, at 4.65mm high, sets another record for thinness in its category. Its 41mm diameter revives a size that was commonplace in the 1950s but totally out of phase with the recent wave of “big is beautiful” watches.

There have been a number of sightings in the horological skies these past few years of watches that truly push the envelope in terms of size. The success encountered by the likes of the Luminor by Panerai, Excalibur by Roger Dubuis or Master Compressor by Jaeger-LeCoultre has largely demonstrated that wrist appeal is directly related to the number of millimetres on offer. Such man-sizing went hand-in-hand with the seemingly unstoppable growth that drove the Swiss watch industry onwards and upwards. Built to conquer, watches were expected to think big; this was a time of superlatives, even excess, as a way to mark one’s territory.

Horological workout

As doubt creeps in as to the real prospects for growth in 2015, given the sudden surge in the Swiss franc and the downturn in certain key markets, watchmakers appear to be turning their back on XXL. A welcome show of restraint in these uncertain times; a more introspective approach to wearing a watch; a return to the more classical canons… Whatever the explanation, the facts are plain to see: men’s Rolex replica watches have been put on a diet and are flaunting their new slim figures at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. The hand-wound Saxonia 8 Days from A. Lange & Söhne has shrunk from 37mm to 35mm. Baume & Mercier is reviving its 1996 Classima in a 40mm version for men. Similar downsizing can be observed with the new Clé watch by Cartier, while Jaeger-LeCoultre is proposing its Master Calendar with meteorite dial in a 39mm diameter. This is also the size of Parmigiani’s Tonda 1950 Skeleton, with just 2 millimetres more for the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time or the self-winding Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet.

No need to go on. Watches that would have had sand kicked in their face not so long ago are now paragons of virtue. Ideal dimensions, irresistible elegance, comfort on the wrist, timeless appeal… the trend is almost ubiquitous among brands. best Swiss replica watches uk are shedding their excess millimetres. A horological workout that is also an exercise in style.