Should you get a slim or thick watch? This seemingly unimportant element might make "analysis paralysis" worse the more you think about it. Someone with thick wrists would naturally gravitate towards a similarly substantial watch displaying an authoritative presence, while those with slenderer frames may see that a thin watch imparts an air of refinement.

But if you’re torn between two camps, let us help you see the pros of each. For this article, we refer to thin watches as those below 10mm and thick watches are those above 12mm.

Let’s dive right into it!


Why Thin Watches?

Source: NOMOS Glashütte


For the distinguishing wearer, thin timepieces, admired for their minimalism, have a wealth of advantages. They are the perfect partners for everyday use or formal situations thanks to their sleek profiles that wrap around the wrist with unmatched comfort.

The versatility of thin watches shines through as they effortlessly slip under shirt cuffs, allowing you to express your individual style discreetly. From classic dress watches to modern designs, these timepieces seamlessly adapt to any ensemble, enhancing your overall look.

Popular thin watch types are offered by top watchmakers, each of which oozes its own distinct air of luxury. Brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, NOMOS Glashütte, and Piaget are perfect examples of how to make exquisite, slim watches that appeal to watch enthusiasts all over the world.


The Case for Thick Watches

Source: Gear Patrol


Those looking for boldness and durability in their watches are drawn to thick watches by their imposing appearance. They are perfect conversation starters because of their hefty casings and bold dials, which express confidence.

A world of opportunities for expressing personal style are opened up by embracing thick timepieces as fashion accessories. These watches spark conversation by showcasing the wearer's distinctive individuality through their eye-catching designs and minute features.

Popular watch brands like Panerai, Hublot, and Audemars Piguet provide remarkable thick watch models that exhibit superb craftsmanship and audacious aesthetics, making them sought-after additions to any watch collection.


Factors to Consider When Choosing

Wrist Size and Proportion

The way a watch fits on your wrist and how it complements your natural features are greatly influenced by its proportions. Thicker watches can be the perfect option for people with larger wrists because they highlight the boldness and power of the wrist. A hefty watch's substantial presence gives an outfit a balanced appearance and feels natural with larger arms.


Source: Luxury Watches and Fine Jewelry


The smooth elegance of slim timepieces, however, may be favorable to individuals with thinner wrists. A slim watch is a great option for people looking for a more subtle yet fashionable look because it conveys a feeling of smoothness and class on a tiny wrist.

Dress Style

Your preference for dressy or casual attire has a big impact on your decision between thin and thick watches. A slim watch frequently goes well with business suits. The watch's thin design adds a touch of class and sophistication while complementing the formal clothing's refined aesthetics.


Source: Watchmaster


On the other side, a thick watch's strong look may be required for casual or sporting outfits. A thick timepiece's robust and assertive appearance pairs perfectly with a more casual and free-spirited look, making it the ideal accessory for leisure or outdoor activity.

Occasion and Functionality

Think about the intended use and the watch features that fit your way of life. Thin watches are excellent for formal occasions and instantly improve your appearance at work or social gatherings. They are a well-liked option for important occasions and events because of their elegance and ageless charm.


Source: Al Mekshah


Thick watches, on the other hand, excel in outdoor activities or water sports due to their increased toughness and water resistance. A strong and robust timepiece might be a dependable travel companion if you lead an active lifestyle or frequently engage in physical activities. It can resist the stresses of your excursions.

Comfort and Weight

Wearing a watch comfortably is essential to your daily life. Due to their small weight and stylish appearance, thin watches are a comfortable choice for all-day wear. Because of their thin design, they sit on the wrist nicely, minimizing any discomfort or disturbances.


Source: Outdoors Magic


That said, thicker watches might have more features and functions, but they might feel bulkier on the wrist. To achieve a comfortable wearing experience, it's critical to strike the correct balance between additional features and comfort when selecting a watch.


Modding Recommendations

Now that you know how to better choose whether to go for a thin or thick watch, here are some recommendations for you in case you want to build the watch.

For thin watches, we have options for field, tool, and dress-style builds. One of the most popular bundles we have is our NMK912 at a thickness of 9.9mm including the caseback. The case diameter also clocks at just 38mm making this a versatile choice for small watch builds. We also have the NMK937 at around the same case thinness, but sporting a fluted bezel and an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet for a dressier feel.



If you want a thin diver, there’s no better choice than our NMK939 which is inspired by the BB58. It features an ultra slim bezel to shave mm’s off the thickness, and with our slim caseback, you’re looking at just a little over 10mm for a great-looking diver!

And if you favor thick watches, check out our NMK941 GMT Sub case. Total thickness is around 13.5mm once you install the crystal and caseback, with a thicker structure to better accommodate NH34 mods. We also have the NMK930 Nautical case at around 14mm, which aside from its case thickness, also features a crown guard lock to protect the crown from accidental impacts and also improve water resistance.



And if you’re looking for something truly unmissable on the wrist, you can go for our NMK920 Tuna-style case that can measure up to 13.5mm thick with the right combinations. This beast of a case isn’t just thick; it’s proper wide too thanks to its protective shroud.


Wrap Up

The “appropriate” watch thickness is largely a matter of personal taste and fashion sense. The ideal watch should showcase the wearer's individuality, regardless of whether they like quiet sophistication or outrageous expression.

Whether you’re looking to build a conversation starter of a watch or an understated timepiece, be sure to check out our extensive catalog for the perfect parts for your perfect build. We have over 800+ watch modding parts from crystals, to cases, to modding tools, for your watch modding convenience.

Happy modding!

August 01, 2023 — Jeremiah A

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