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Discussion Starter #1
I have a friend who really likes the smaller look of my vintage watches - most of them less than 33mm. The Big Watch Trend has kind of left him in the dust, since he's only a little over 5' tall. His current watch is a Timex quartz, which he finds annoyingly large at 37mm and over 1 cm thick.

Even though he likes the idea of a mechanical watch, I am warning him off of vintage, since he just bought a house, and needs an expensive hobby like he needs a hole in the head.

I looked at Seiko ladies' automatics, but they're all 27mm or under, which might be a little too small. The Seiko Men's watches all over 37mm, which is too big.

Anyone know of a current production, affordable mechanical watch in the 30-35mm range?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you explored the Seiko 5 range? There are many, many watches in the Seiko 5 line, many of them quite small.
That's exactly the line I was looking at, and they all seemed to be about the same size as his Timex. The prices are really great, though, and I've heard very little against them.
 

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That's exactly the line I was looking at, and they all seemed to be about the same size as his Timex. The prices are really great, though, and I've heard very little against them.
Hmmm. In that case you may need to look elsewhere. I do think that many of the Seiko 5s wear pretty small, but if you need even smaller, maybe go check out some of the Orient designs. Look at the "executive" line. Some of the tank shaped watches they carry are pretty small IIRC...
 

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I know how your friend feels.
I started off this obsession through vintage, so I prefer my watches to be more reasonably sized that most of what I see produced currently.

My recommendation for you would be the Tissot PR50 automatic.
It is 36mm, but it feels just right on the wrist.



You can usually find the quartz version at most department stores if your friend wants to check them out.
And you can pick up the automatic online at pretty reasonable prices for a Swiss auto.

Tissot
 

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What's your price range? If you can get up to around $400 you can pick up one of the current Hamilton Ventura reissues. I have one and it's quite small on the wrist. Super attractive too:

EDIT: Oh, wait. You said automatic. Never mind.
 

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This one is 35mm without crown. The bracelet is somewhat cheap (I plan to replace it with a solid President style bracelet), but better than what I've gotten with a Seiko 5.

orient espionage 1.jpg
 

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I also suggest the Tissot PR50. I own one and it wears even smaller than its 36mm diameter would suggest because of its small 42mm lug to lug length, small height, small dial, and light weight.
 

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For new watches, you could looks at PMWF's "Sales Corner". They are mainly watches made for the Asian market, and they tend to be smaller.

There are loads of sizes of Sandoz HK, including 31mm Explorer styles:
(sapphire + solid bracelet for $250 shipped to US)
($160)

This Octo is one of the cheapest ETA movement autos you will find, and it is 36mm, but will wear smaller because of the big bezel:

This one is only 34mm:


Borel 36mm:

And Enicar, with a Swiss ETA (brass colored ETA movements are assembled in Asia), sapphire and solid links:

I'm not clear on what is so expensive about vintage; you can pick up a lot of vintage watches on ebay for under $40, even if it needs to be serviced, you are still talking about less than $160 (maybe less if servicing is cheaper where you are). I picked up a nearly perfect 1960's manual wind Enicar a few weeks back that is running great.
 
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I also like the Seiko Rikki Watanabe watches, but at 36mm, they were too small to make my current wish list:
 

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This is what I'm sporting tonite... it's on an aftermarket band which arrived from eBay this afternoon. It's not my primary watch, but it gets a lot a use and has stood up to rigorous conditions with out a problem. It's size makes it perfect for a smaller framed fellow like myself and these (or Seiko 5s which are very similar) have a great price tag if you shop around a bit. Also, they have a number of different styles. I really couldn't recommend a watch in this line enough. Lots of bang for the buck.

IMG_1317_RS.JPG IMG_1314_RS.JPG

jtk
 

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That Enicar is totally cool!

Back to the Seiko 5...

I have this one, and it wears REALLY small on my reasonably small wrists (6.5 or so.) I really think the OP should go try on some small Seiko 5s and see how they wear. The raw measurements often don't tell the whole story.
 

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I have an Orient auto that comes in at 34mm without the crown and 10mm thick in the middle (it tapers down to the bracelet).
Not a bad little watch. Here it is on my 7 1/4 wrist:
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great suggestions, folks! I'll pass them on to him. In particular, I'll suggest he check out the Orient and Seiko 5 lines.

Regarding why I'm steering him away from vintage - I figured for his first mechanical, he should get something that works out of the box and doesn't need service for years. And because I often depend on his particular skills at work, I don't want to recommend a watch that ends up disappointing him!

Then again, he's willing to spend hours tinkering with a temperamental Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter, so he might just have the right mindset for vintage!
 

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Vintage is a crap shoot. For one thing, you need to figure the cost of an initial service into the buy-in price. It's never a good idea to buy vintage and not have a service performed, even if the previous owner says he/she had it serviced recently. For another, you're more likely to get a vintage watch that has issues than one that doesn't, even after having it serviced. It's a simple function of the wear associated with age. I think you're right to encourage him to go with a new auto first and then move into vintage pieces at a later date.
 

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it's totally up to you, but I picked this one from WOW last sunday, $77.00 50mm Dia 20mm bracelet, again totally up to you 21 jewels auto. I liked the design yes some do have comments about Invicta on WUS but wahtever it appealed to me. It was a good deal normally they are about 120-140.00 so for $77.00 it was a bargin:



 

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These Orients aren't big and they run beautifully. Great detailing, available in lots of colurs, very nicely built and inexpensive :-!. Around $60 if I recall correctly but the movement is very dependable and accurate.





I put 'em on a NATO but they come with a very serviceable bracelet...

 
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