Small, Understated Watches Are The Future. Here’s Why.

Mido Commander Shade
Mido Commander Shade Courtesy Image

In the American watch world, bigger is usually regarded as better. Most popular watches today have a diameter around 42 millimeters, ranging well into the 50-millimeter range—a size so massive it’ll eclipse even the biggest man’s wrist. But there’s a change on the horizon. This year’s Baselworld watch show saw more and more brands returning to case sizes in the 30-millimeter range, which were more common in the 1950s and ’60s. Mido is one brand that hasn’t changed its classic take on watches since its inception in 1918.

“Americans typically like bigger, thicker, sportier watches,” says Mido CEO Franz Linder. “We’re known for slim, sophisticated watches, and as a brand we believe in being consistent to be successful.”

To commemorate its 100th anniversary, the Swiss watchmaker released the special edition Commander Shade, a 37-millimeter automatic watch that’s a revival of its classic Commander shape from 1979. The smoky, gradient dial and architectural hour markers are a nod to the original ’70s design, while the understated stainless steel case, domed crystal, and day/date compliation are all reminiscent of 1950s designs—combining the best vintage elements into one sleek watch.

13 of the Most Stylish Watches You Can Own Under $250

The relatively small design isn’t just aesthetically pleasing—it’s practical too. Its slim profile—just 10.45 millimeters thick—fits nicely under any dress shirt, but still looks great on its own with short sleeves. Also, the sporty, adjustable stainless steel mesh bracelet won’t absorb sweat and smell like many leather straps can.

All these features are underscored by the fact that this is a killer, automatic watch—meaning it’s powered by the movement of your wrist—that sells for under $1,000. That by itself is a rarity.

So, if you’re still strapping a dinner plate-sized watch to your wrist, consider a more subtle take. This special edition, automatic model isn’t a bad place to start.

Mido Commander Shade [$870, us.shopmido.com]