When it comes to watchmaking, a minimalist style has always been something to aim for. Simultaneously, watches have also become more complicated with advancements in technology. Brands now have to squish more and new features into a single timepiece whilst keeping it lightweight and comfortable to wear. As such, designers are rediscovering space. This demand for minimalist style has borne the arrival of ultra thin watches onto the market.
We’ve been demanding this elegance since the 1960s when the trend first came about. However, it disappeared in the noughties and has just now made a comeback. This trend has been seen in brands such as Bvlgari and Piaget, to name two.
The idea of ultra thin watches isn’t a new one, but it has been made iconic by Piaget when it released the Altiplano. In the late 1950s, Piaget released the Calibre 9P, which was the slimmest mechanical movement and subsequently fitted inside the thinnest watch the world had ever seen.
A 2mm hand-wound movement could be found inside, giving rise to watches no thicker than 4mm. Without any digital technology inside, the Calibre 9P is still one heck of a timepiece.
This pursuit of developing ultra thin watches isn’t new, but the efforts brands have been putting in has really ramped up over the last few years. Audemars Piguet released their perpetual calendar watch containing complex movements that totalled 6.3mm.
As a reaction, Bvlgari broke not one, but three world records with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic. At the time, this was the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon watch.
They’re great examples of how innovative watchmakers can cram so much into such a slim timepiece. Believe it or not, there’s no universal definition of what an ultra thin watch is; however, every watch here measures under 9mm for this list.
So without further ado, here’s our list of the 11 best ultra thin watches for men.
Meister Driver Handaufzug
The Junghans Meister Driver is likened to the Christopher Ward C5. It has a slimline case which contains a hand-wound Peseux 7001 movement. What’s more, it has an Art Deco design and even tips its hat to the original speedometers made by Junghans back in the 1900s.
This watch is 7.3mm thick with a diameter of 37.7mm.
Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin
The Royal Oak has an iconic look. It has svelte lines and an ultra thin form. Whilst there are plenty of Royal Oak ultra thin watch variants in the range, the brand recently released a platinum-titanium mixed version for a truly lightweight experience. Whilst you may think this is a strange combination, the contrast between durable titanium and polished platinum creates a unique two-tone effect that’s irresistible.
This watch contains a 2121 automatic movement. It’s 8.1mm thick with a 39mm diameter.
C5 Malvern 595
Coming in at less than 6mm thickness, the C5 Malvern 595 from Christopher Ward is one of the contenders for ultra thin watch under $1,000. Despite its slimline nature, it has the opulent finish you’d expect from a high-end dress watch. This includes a domed opaline dial, protected by a double-curved sapphire crystal face with transparent case backing.
Inside you’ll find a hand-wound Peseux 7001 movement. It’s 5.95mm thick with 39mm diameter.
Released at the tail end of 2017, the Altiplano 910P lived a short life as Bvlgari’s thinnest automatic watch. That was until they released the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic less than 6 months later. Regardless, the Piaget is a fine watch with perfect engineering that doesn’t come with a Bvlgari price tag.
Piaget made this watch so flat using a peripheral rotor. Additionally, they integrated a baseline of the movement into the case design, to save space.
Inside you’ll find a Piaget 910P movement. The watch is 4.3mm thick (thin) and 41mm in diameter.
The Tetra Neomatik is thin even for an ultra thin watch, nevermind an automatic. This is due to the in-house DUW 3001 calibre. This is a slim movement of only 3.2mm in thickness. It has an uncluttered dial with subtle lugs on a watch that has beautifully minimalist proportions.
Inside you’ll find an automatic Nomos DUW 3001 movement. The watch is 7.3mm thick and only 33mm in width.
Master Ultra Thin
The Master Ultra Thin watch is a timeless timepiece that features a glistening silver dial, dauphine hands and a slight sub-dial at the six o’clock position. The movement is only 4mm and is based on a well-tried Jager movement that has been around for decades.
Inside you’ll find the Jaeger-LeCoultre 896/1 automatic movement. The watch is only 7.58mm thick and 38.5mm in width.
As a brand, Chopard likes to bend the traditional rules, but as design goes, the XP is a simple, modern, ultra thin watch for dress occasions. The dial is clear and uncluttered with subtle verticle brushing. This gives it a raw steel look, and on top of this, the numerals are a bold blue. If you need additional luxury, and why not, you can get a cashmere wristband.
Inside is an automatic LU Chopard 96.53-L movement. The watch is 7.2mm thick and 40mm in width.
Drive de Cartier
Extra Flat Steel
The Drive de Cartier was released in 2017 too, but it could only be purchased in gold. In 2018, a stainless steel version was released, and the price dropped to under $6k. It kept the rounded square case original thinness.
Inside, you’ll find a hand-wound Piaget 430P with Cartier branding. The watch is 6.6mm thick and 39mm in diameter.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo is a famous timepiece for being stylish, but also being the thinnest of ultra thin watches, coming in at a slight 3.95mm. It contains an in-house movement is only 2.23mm. The range itself keeps expanding, with new ceramic, titanium and stainless steel versions being added in 2019. Plus, there’s an extraordinary skeleton dial version to boot. The bracelet has a unique angular look which is totally unlike anything else you’ll see. Thankfully, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear.
Inside is an automatic Bvlgari 138 movement. The watch is 3.95mm thick and 42mm in width.
Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955
When it first came to market in 2010, the Historiques Ultra-Fine ‘55 took the top spot as the thinnest mechanical timepiece globally at 4.13mm. Somehow, other watches have come along with even smaller proportions, but that doesn’t shake how beautiful the Historiques is, and as such, it will remain a timeless timepiece. The hand-wound in-house calibre is an impossibly thin 1.3mm. It’s called 1955 after its year of release.
Jazzmaster Thinline Auto
Finally, we get to another one of the best ultra thin watches for men that also comes in at less than $1,000. Most of these watches use a hand-wound movement to reduce the thickness, but somehow the Jazzmaster contains offers automatic winding and still only measures 8.5mm in height.
The Thinline comes in a few different colours which all shimmer in the sunlight. You can further opt for different dial colours, which also glitter. Old school lugs complete the look.
Inside is an automatic ETA 2892-A2 movement. It’s 8.45mm thick and 40mm in width.
These are the best ultra thin watches for men in 2021 and some are surprisingly cost-accessible at under $1,000.
If you’re looking for watches for men and the brands we’ve mentioned here are within your budget, why not check out our article on the best Swiss watches for men, here.
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