Roughly ten years ago, there were too many Big Watches out there, far outpacing the number of Big Wrists, and we were all at risk of becoming consumers of clown-sized timekeeping devices that could be read from space. But now that the invading horde of monster watches is no longer on our doorstep, we can look at them in a different light. It’s hypocritical, we know, but when we see some guy or gal rocking a Panerai that more closely resembles a hunk of deep-sea treasure than a nilla wafer, we can’t help but think, damn, that’s kinda cool, isn’t it?
It wasn’t that Big Watches were evil — it’s that the average watch becoming a Big Watch was a bad trend. Nowadays, however, watches have seemed to come back down to earth, and we’re no longer in danger of Big Watches taking over. Now, they simply have their place in brands’ catalogs, available for those who want them, which is the way it should be.
Below are some of our favorite Big Watches, both from brands who specialize in them, and from the watch world’s major players.
Divex Offshore 500
You don’t have to be a millionaire to afford a monster-sized professional-level dive watch. Divex makes professional dive equipment, and their Offshore 500 is powered by a Japanese quartz movement and has a big-toothed bezel for good measure.
Movement: Japanese Quartz
Even when Nixon watches aren’t big, they look it, thanks to oversized numerals and oversized design touches. Well, the Regulus, the brand’s new tough digital watch, is a square 46mm beast with loads of functionality, like dual time, dual chronographs, three alarms, and an LED backlight. For a $150 beater, that’s tough to beat.
Movement: Nixon digital
Lum-Tec Combat Field X3
Lum-Tec, an American-based company, has been assembling all its watches in America for a long time, but doesn’t have the same name recognition as say, Shinola. They make awesome field watches, though, including the Combat Field X3, which is 44mm, but wears much larger thanks to its very loud coin-edged bezel.
Movement: Sellita SW200
Seiko SNJ025 “Solar Arnie”
When Arnold Schwarzennegger got to da choppa, he could tell he was on time thanks to his Seiko H558, a 45mm beast. Seiko recently announced this modern update, nicknamed the “Solar Arnie,” since it’s powered by the sun. And it’s only gotten bigger.
Movement: Seiko H851 digital solar powered
Alpina AlpinerX 2019
Alpina launched the AlpinerX hybrid smartwatch on Kickstarter in 2018. The 2019 versions use the most popular colorway combinations from the customizable Kickstarter options, and still have a fiberglass case, digital readout with analog hands, plus tracking for sleep, heart rate, altitude, temperature, UV and more.
Casio G-Shock MT-G B1000RB
Yes, the ridiculous model names for G-Shocks (and other watches) are hard to parse and don’t mean much. Just know that the RB in this watch stands for “rainbow.” That’s right: to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Metal Twisted line, they created a G-Shock made of colorful ionized steel. And at over 55mm, it’s loud enough that everyone will notice it.
Movement: G-Shock solar-powered quartz
Shinola Runwell 47
An automatic version of its popular Runwell series watch, the Runwell Automatic has classic looks, but is housed in an enormous 45mm case. Available in black, blue or white, it also comes in a 39.5mm size for smaller humans.
Movement: Sellita SW200-1 automatic
Gorilla Watch was created by Octavio Garcia and Lukas Gopp, two designers with experience at Omega, AP, and IWC between them. Their new microbrand makes watches like the Mirage, with candy colors and campy, modern designs. They also don’t design for small wrists, with large diameters and monster crown guards.
Movement: Miyota 90S5
Seiko Prospex Marinemaster “Tuna Can”
The SBDX013 is the descendent of the legendary Seiko “Tuna Can,” the ultimate professional’s dive watch. The original was made in 1975 at the request of professional divers — Seiko’s solution involved a monster of a watch, complete with a titanium shroud that indeed made it look like a can of the chicken of the sea. Today the SBDX013 can go 1000m down. And it’s a realy big fish.
Movement: Seiko 8L35 automatic
Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF
The German brand flies below the radar, and so does the EZM 10 TESTAF, its first watch to be tested to the Technical Standard for Pilot’s Watches (TESTAF). It’s massive size is offset by a titanium case
Movement: Modified Valjoux 7750
Vortic Chicago Railroad 019
Vortic was one of the first microbrands to build custom case housings for vintage pocket watch movements. It’s brilliant business, really — celebrate heritage, get a piece of watchmaking art, and keep the construction and assembly in the US. It also requires some damn big watch cases. The Chicago Railroad 019 is one of Vortic’s pre-made watches, housing a 1920s Elgin movement in a 51mm case.
Movement: Vintage manually wound Elgin railroad
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue”
Want a massive watch that does multiple things well at once? Omega’s Big Blue is a ceramic-case leviathan that’s both a dive watch and a GMT. Add a blue-and-orange colorway and you’ve got a do-it-all, get-noticed watch.
Movement: Omega 8906
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch
Big Pilot’s watch, indeed. At 46.5mm, it’s got plenty of space on the dial for a power reserve sub-dial and date window. The line is a longtime favorite of a certain guitarist whose last name is “Mayer.”
Movement: IWC 52110
Halda Space Discovery
A monster in two modules, this watch was created specifically for use on the shuttle Discovery. The digital Space module has a G-force sensor and particle counter; the mechanical module is for wearing to dinner back on terra firma.
Movement: Halda digital; H1929-SA “new old stock”
What the hell do they need 51mm of diameter for? It’s driven by a quartz movement, anyway. Oh, what’s that, you say? It has a dual-frequency distress beacon that you can turn on if you need help? Oh, gotcha. 51mm. Not bad.
Movement: Breitling 76 quartz
Ressence Type 5
Ressence continues to produce a line of watches that completely unique, thanks to an oil-filled case that makes it appear as if the dial is printed on the crystal itself. Part of that design involves being large and in charge; the Type 5 is 46mm. If you’re buying something this cool, you’ll want to show it off, anyway.
Movement: ROCS 5 powered by a custom ETA 2824-2
Panerai Submersible Chrono PAM00983
This special edition Panerai Submersible was dropped at SIHH 2019. It’s 47mm, with a titanium case blacked out with DLC and a blue-and-black dial. It’s also got a special gimmick: owners can use it to time a dive with freediving world champion Guillame Nery, in the form of a trip that comes with the watch. Get noticed and have a story to tell — the ideal big-watch duo.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
The Royal Oak’s octagonal design is the stuff of watch legend. But even the “Jumbo” versions are a relatively small 41mm. That’s where the Offshore, an oversized chronograph, comes in. But hell — even those are just 44mm. To get to the big boy size here, you’ve got to go loud, with this insane, openworked dial tourbillon chronograph. May we recommend it in pink gold?
Movement: AP 2947
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater
Lange is legendary in the watchmaking world for, among other things, fitting an insane amount of horological mastery inside relatively reasonable case sizes. The one exception is their Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, which includes a massive bridge on the dial, plus a time readout in the digital style (“8:52”) — it also crams in a minute repeater, which chimes out the time with the press of a button. At over 44mm in diameter and 14.1mm thick, it’s a big, beautiful chunk of horology.
Panerai Luminor Daylight Slytech
“But it’s only 44mm!” you yell. Yes. But Sylvester Stallone commissioned the special edition — simply a white-dialed Luminor with the words “Daylight” and “Slytech” on the dial — after wearing one during his epic action movie “Daylight.” That, my friends, is big.
Movement: Unitas 6497