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"I love it - it looks so small!" Said no one, ever.

  1. mydeafcat Mar 22, 2021

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    Well, except perhaps for spy cameras, sports cars and other technological advancements, but never when referring to something displayed on the body. Get your minds out of the gutter, kids - I'm referring to 34mm watch cases.

    Notwithstanding my never being much of a Rolex admirer, my interest in vintage Air-Kings has been ignited. Thank you, @JwRosenthal. When it comes to Rolex, I like the understated. But I don't like them 'undersized.'

    Yesterday, I popped into a local AD to see what a 34mm looked like on my 7.25" wrist. Maybe it was the fact I was wearing my 2254, but when I tried on a 34mm OP (closest model size they had), it looked positively dainty. I thought for sure it must've been a 28 or 31. The sales person assured me it was a 34mm. I was crestfallen.

    Now, today I'm wearing a 34mm Certina Blue Ribbon and yes it's a completely different dial and case to an AK or OP. But still...I didn't realize 34mm Rolex's wear that small. On me, that is.

    Sadly, it appears I will have to pass on the 2 linen-dialed 5500 Air Kings I had my eye on. Any suggestions that won't set me back a ton of shekels?
     
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  2. JwRosenthal Mar 22, 2021

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    The 34mm Rolexes have prominent bezels and the dials measure 29mm I believe (from memory)- which is probably what you are seeing as opposed to something like a Seamaster that is all dial with a slim bezel.
    1C7D7878-5240-40CA-83CB-F588169CFA47.jpeg

    That said, are the case proportions thicker on the new 34mm Rolexes than the older ones- ala Maxi-case? A thick honkin case would totally make the 34 wear smaller.

    The smaller proportions of the older Rolex cases make them wear larger than their size implies IMO
    11256CB3-7EE5-40E5-A831-2FFF67FDAD93.jpeg
     
  3. JwRosenthal Mar 22, 2021

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    Oh- and I’m also a firm believer in the need to adjust to small- you can’t just swap from a 42mm to a 34 and think it will look normal. After a few hours it feels normal, after a week your Speedy will feel like an anchor.
     
  4. mydeafcat Mar 22, 2021

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    Watch it, Pal! I love my anchors. :D
     
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  5. SkunkPrince Mar 22, 2021

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    Indeed. The Deville Prestige I have is a hair under 35mm but it wears smaller. So that will take time to get used to, once it's back from service.

    Interestingly, my WWI-era watches are about that size but for some reason I don't perceive them that small.
     
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  6. Spruce Sunburst dial fan Mar 22, 2021

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    Hi @mydeafcat,

    34mm watches are so unobtrusive that it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing one.

    I was tempted by both Air Kings and Precisions but decided that I didn’t want to have anything that valuable on my wrist.

    I know it’s not what you’re really looking for but I opted for the poor man’s version, the Omega 166.010 or the very poor man’s Seiko 6602.8050.

    822BE1F0-47FA-4B67-8B31-813B6C19EEBE.jpeg 261CFA15-B69E-4EC2-92D5-F63E71662465.jpeg

    (I added the photos as an afterthought)
     
    Edited Mar 22, 2021
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  7. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Mar 22, 2021

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    I have quite a number of 34mm -36mm watches that I happily wear on my 195mm wrist. Its the case and wrist presence. I have to agree. Smaller oyster cases look like crap on my wrist too.
     
    Edited Mar 22, 2021
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  8. JwRosenthal Mar 22, 2021

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    I was thinking the .010 Seamaster would be close in form but it’s larger if I recall. Some of the Seiko Sportmatic models from the late 60’s were “knock-off’s” of the 34m Oyster style case so you could probably grab one of those for a hundred or two and see if you like the way it wears (then just give it away if you don’t).
    If you really want to try the style without shelling out $3k, get a Tudor Oyster Prince from the 60’s/70’s. They are the same case as the 5500 series and 1/3 the price and are always in demand, so if you don’t like it, you can just flip it for what you have into it- they rarely ever lose money unless you buy a total dog.
     
  9. Scarecrow Boat 5000 Candles in the Wind Mar 22, 2021

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    As someone that regularly wears between a 39-42mm, it took a bit of time to get used to a 34mm. It was a shock at first and felt small the first time I put it on. However, a couple hours later it felt right at home and I enjoyed it. I ended up giving it to my dad after he fell in love with it and he wears it almost daily. Here was a pic of it on my 7" wrist
    1033902-f9a0107ee3006280cf4ac5696bdb07b6.jpg
     
  10. Spruce Sunburst dial fan Mar 22, 2021

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    If I’d been going to get a Rolex, (see above) that would be the one
     
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  11. padders Oooo subtitles! Mar 22, 2021

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    I don't normally like smaller stuff but make an exception for this, it wears bigger than the 34mm quoted size suggests.

    IMG_6688.jpeg
     
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  12. Spruce Sunburst dial fan Mar 22, 2021

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    Or that ......
     
  13. Scarecrow Boat 5000 Candles in the Wind Mar 22, 2021

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    This champagne dial and the black dial in @JwRosenthal's are my favorite. I would 100% own this (or both) again. And, in my opinion, they wear better and have a bigger presence on a bracelet.
     
  14. PaulC77 Mar 22, 2021

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    Completely agree with (possibly) the majority of posters here... 34mm feels small to start with but give it a day, a week, more and it’s right at home. I wear them on straps, bracelets and NATO’s. They all feels. Little dainty at first but after a while I find them easier and nicer to wear than most watches. I’m 6’3” and a 19.5cm wrist, so not a small guy.
    And a photo to spruce it up, why not? A 34mm zenith manual and a 34mm Rolex pre-explorer
    C161D8F2-BAC0-4804-917A-9CBB47030EA3.jpeg B638E1DA-A6FB-41F4-874C-A21CBD067CDD.jpeg
     
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  15. airansun Seasons will pass you by Mar 22, 2021

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    My small wrists love 1002s. It’s compensation for all the two ton, 49mm watches I can’t wear.

    6FEDB80A-1EFD-43D6-946B-D8BCD222B094.jpeg EBA039D9-652F-44DE-A4DE-CE01AEF37519.jpeg
     
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  16. JwRosenthal Mar 22, 2021

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    Ok, I just looked up the 34mm AT and the case proportions are totally different than an Oyster. This think looks like a marshmallow!

    39E34871-BC2E-4122-9E04-0F2735C64845.jpeg A7D56021-4B4A-426B-9F14-E7945E73E7D1.jpeg
     
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  17. neilfrancis Mar 22, 2021

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    And as was once wisely pointed out to me... the thing about going after smaller cases (on watches) is that they are often (still) sharper cases. Plenty of evidence for that, above.
     
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  18. mydeafcat Mar 22, 2021

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    Thanks so much, everyone. Great insights, images and considerations. I agree with @JwRosenthal the newer-cased model may have skewed my perception a wee bit. @Scarecrow Boat, that is a sweet old piece you have (or had) there! @Spruce - I also concur: my 34mm 1960's Omegas (and the Certina I have on today) are likewise really comfortable and I forget I have them on. They belie their 34mm sizing. I'm really glad I went to the AD yesterday as it slowed down my headlong rush into this Rolex thing (I really need to refocus back to my C-Case hunt). Still, I'll have to venture out and explore some local vintage and pawn shops to try on the real deal just to make sure. I'll leave the house with less disparate-sized watch next time.
     
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  19. JwRosenthal Mar 22, 2021

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    And wear long sleeves when you try them on. Yes, on wide open real-estate arms, they can look smallish- but peeking out from under a cuff- perfection.
     
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  20. Borosilikat Mar 22, 2021

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    I agree with this completely, I used to wear larger 42mm watches and have slowly gravitated towards smaller pieces over recent times and it's a gradual process.
     
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