After a long absence from anything other than a perfunctory interest in timepieces I, Rip Von Winkle-like, awake to discover that some wristwatches have grown larger and heavier than many pocket watches.
When did this happen?
When last I checked making wrist watches smaller was a a goal. In the 1960s, in the case of women's watches, it may have gotten a bit overboard: they were shriveling up to the point of being unreadable (based on my fallible memory).
A Waltham / Ball railroad pocket watch from the 19th century in size 18 was approximately 45mm in diameter.
Over the weekend I saw an advert for a Swiss assembled wrist watch a full 52mm in diameter, 17mm thick (over 5/8"). It had a crown cover secured by a chain in the manner of a biker wallet. All these things were being presented as features rather than shortcomings and it appeared to be enjoying brisk sales.
When did this happen? Does it happen a lot?
It doesn't take a great deal of imagination on my part to conjecture some legitimate reasons for the thing:
. Ease of readability, legibility: it had an abundance of those attributes.
. Fashion: Inexplicable but understandable.
. Water resistance: possibly superior to a smaller example (?).
. The desire to be noticed.
...and some facetious speculation:
. Use as an impact weapon on aircraft - an equivalent sized guardrail nut duct taped to one's wrist wouldn't make it past security.
. Weight training - strap one on each wrist and go jogging.
. The general 21st century population suffers from morbid obesity more than when Rolex and others settled on ~ 42mm.
. The band / strap can serve double duty as a dog collar.
...and one cynical:
. Does it really require Swiss craftsmanship, or indeed craftsmanship at all, to assemble such gigantic pieces? Is it a method whereby one can claim Swiss craftsmanship yet simultaneously allow for assembly by the ham-fisted?
I'm not bagging on gigantic wrist watches (I actually would admit to wanting to own one) but am I correct in assuming they're much easier and cheaper to put together?
Which actually takes more craftsmanship: a Malaysian 38mm automatic or a Swiss quartz 52mm chrono?