Watch cases change with the times – in shape, diameter, and even thickness. While shape and diameter get a lot of hype, case thickness has gained a lot of publicity over the past decade or two. Let’s look at both ends of the spectrum; first we’ll look at thick watches and then we’ll discuss thin watches.
If you like them thick and chunky, finding the world’s thickest watch is no easy feat. As is often the case with technology – the goal is usually to maximize tech while minimizing size. Not many watchmakers boast about their gargantuan size.
The thickest watch we’ve found is probably not from a brand you’ve seen before. Little-known Alaska-based watchmaker TimeMachinist produces 3 models and they all have a thickness of a whopping 30mm. Yes – you read that right – 30mm, which converts to 1.181 inches. Those are some thick watches! Men’s watches on the smaller end of the spectrum have a diameter of 30-38mm, so that means that the watch extending from your wrist is almost as thick as those smaller watches are wide. The 1-inch length is the same as the length of a standard paper clip, the diameter of a U.S. quarter, or 3 old-school CD cases stacked on top of each other.
TimeMachinist models include the Innerspace Unlimited, Naval Destroyer, and the Mark 8. The watches feature an industrial (and, honestly, indestructible) appearance. The models house Miyota quartz movements within a double-hull and utilizes a dual-crystal system to keep nearly anything from hitting the dial.
(Photos and information obtained from www.timemachinistwatches.com)
Coming in at second place is the Swiss Military 20,000-feet diver. This thick watch has a height of 28.5mm – and for good reason, as it specializes in withstanding the pressure of deep-sea diving. True to its function, the watch has a helium release valve and an optional rubber extension strap for a diving suit. A fun fact about this watch – its thickness is over ½ its diameter of 46mm. And a second fun fact is that they hold the world record for the deepest automatic movement dive watch.
(Photos and information obtained from www.swiss-military.de)
Have you seen a thicker watch than these TimeMachinist or Swiss Military models before?
Now to the other side of the coin (and not much thicker than a coin, by the way). While implanted timepieces or those on the skin of your wrist still only exist in sci-fi movies, watch companies are working to make the next best thing. The current world record holder for the thinnest watch is Richard Mille. Said record-holding timepiece, the RM UP-01 Ferrari, is a feat of engineering.
At just 1.75mm thick, the RM UP-01 manages to utilize a mechanical movement in that tiny package. Limited to just 150 pieces made, the movement itself clocks in at just 1.18mm thick and includes 23 jewels. And the watch is not just thin – it’s also incredibly light. Titanium components help contribute to a weight of just 30 grams inclusive of the strap.
(Photos and information obtained from www.richardmille.com)
Close runners-up include Bulgari, a watch company that has held the world’s thinnest watch record multiple times in the past decade. Their Octo Finissimo Ultra is just 1.80mm thin. Slightly thicker is the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, at 2mm thin. While both are miraculously thin, each used the case as part of the baseplate to save thickness. Richard Mille, however, completely enclosed the movement within the case.