Leaving cheap sexual innuendoes and clichés aside, size matters. But not the way you might think, especially in the watch world. In a society obsessed with sizes, big is not better here. People want bigger penises, bigger breast, bigger burgers, bigger planes, bigger cars... except mobile phones that go smaller. If you are not big then you are nothing. At least that is what they want you to think. Never have people, men and women alike, been so concerned with the size of their genitals. Breast and penis enlargement procedures keep spiraling upwards. The same trend seems to be emerging with watches today. Manufacturers have struck a gold mine with the recent oversize madness and are offering the same'ol stuff just much larger. People spend more money than ever on watches and many unscrupulous manufacturers make them bigger, not only in size but also in price. Even respectable houses like Patek that "swore" never to make larger watches, and claimed that it was only a short lived trend, has succumbed to the call of larger watches and bigger money. Everybody does it. There is nothing wrong with that if the market demands it. However, don't be fooled, there are different ways to make the transition. Many manufacturers fall into the temptation to raise prices by increasing sizes and not making better watches. As far as I know the only manufacturer that has or had a policy regarding that is A. Lange & Söhne. Their idea is that what dictates the size of the case is the size of the movement. In other words... if you want a 44 mm case than you need a movement that will completely fill the case. Although I am not sure this is true anymore.
Historically the point of making pocket watches (and today wrist watches) was to make what was once very large, portable and small. The truth is that the smaller and thiner the better, and thus more exclusive and expensive. It is obvious that it takes much more skill to make a small watch rather than a large clock. Until not so long ago watches have always been small and thin. It is only ten years ago (with the birth of the OffShore and the rediscovery of the Panerai) that oversize watches have started to be fashionable at all. Yes, they have been around forever yet that does not mean that they where popular then. In fact they are very rare and today they get good prices at auctions around the world. There is nothing wrong with large watches, if they have a purpose that is. If you weight 300 pounds and your wrist is the size two-by-four then you are in luck. Never has there been so many 46 mm and larger sizes available. Personally I believe that it looks as silly, if not more, to wear a too large watch than a too small watch. Everybody has a size range, find yours. But beware, it is very difficult to go "smaller" once you get used to "bigger". I have set myself a personal limit, and have had many temptations to go bigger since then. Staying within this boundary allows me to go back and wear smaller watches from time to time. There are some fantastic small watches out there so make sure you don't discard them by going "too big".
Yes, SMALLER IS BETTER. Most of the times smaller is much more expensive. Although there is nothing wrong with big if there is a reason for a larger case. Some have a purpose but unfortunately many don't. Increasing the size of a watch by 2, 4 or 6 mm for aesthetic reasons does not justify an increase of several thousands of dollars/euros for the same movement/watch. A depth rating of 1,000 meters, a large and very complicated movement, antimagnetic protection, etc... is a good reason for it. There are several large watches that I respect for several of the cited reasons. The Porsche "Indicator", Lange "31-days", Jaeger's "Master Grand Reveil"... are some of the large watches that have a good reason to be large. The other side of the coin? Well the Cartier "Santos 100", U-boat, the ever growing "Biretros" by Genta and some I dare not mention in this Blog (to keep it clean).
I suspect that this year's Geneva and Basel shows could be horrifying to that respect. Something tells me that we should prepare for some real juggernauts coming our way this year.