Last Updated:  January 3rd, 2021

10 Best 38 mm Watches for Small Wrists

Historically, men’s watches have featured cases less than 40 mm in diameter,  from WWI trench watches to iconic luxury watches like the 1950s Rolex Oyster. And although fashion is cyclical in nature, the pendulum appears to be stuck on big, bold watches for men with case sizes of 45 mm or more not uncommon.  They tend to be bulky and often have loads of functions. However, if you’re a guy with a small wrist, you may have noticed that a watch with a big case and dial makes your hands and arms look childish. The solution? A watch with a 38 mm or less case. 

So what is considered small for a man’s wrist? If you can wrap a US paper currency around your wrist at the bone, your wrist size is smaller than 6.5 inches (17 cm) in diameter. A case size of 38 mm or less will fit you better proportionately. In general, these watches will also have a smaller lug to lug measurement. Watches with smaller cases are usually thinner too, which is good news for collectors. It takes more advanced skills to craft the movement for a thin watch.

Our Top Picks

In addition to a smaller and thinner case, look for a watch with fewer embellishments like a large crown or pushers and a band style that pairs well with a smaller wrist. Since watches for men with small wrists are harder to find these days, we’re here to help with our list of the 10 best 38 mm or less watches for slim wrists. It includes a variety of brands, styles, features, and prices. And when the fashion pendulum swings again, you’ll be in step with the times. 

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Hamilton Men's H70455733 Khaki Field Watch
Hamilton H70455733 Khaki Field Watch
  • automatic movement
  • self-winding
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Seiko SKX013K2 Black Dial Automatic Divers Midsize Watch
Best High-End Watch
Seiko SKX013K2 Dive Watch
  • automatic movement
  • 21-jewel
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Junghans Max Bill Automatic Mens Watch - 38mm Analog White Face Classic Watch with Luminous Hands and Date - Stainless Steel Black Leather Band Luxury Watch for Men Made in Germany 027/4700.00
Junghans Max Bill Automatic Men's Watch
  • automatic movement
  • analog display
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Daniel Wellington Classic Cornwall Watch, Black NATO Band
Daniel Wellington Classic Cornwall Watch
  • minimalist design
  • quartz movement
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Seiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Green Canvas
Seiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
  • military-inspired
  • analog dial
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Marathon Swiss Made Military Issue Milspec Diver's Quartz Medium Watch with Tritium Illumination (36mm, Rubber Strap) WW194027
Marathon Military Medium Divers Watch
  • medium dive watch
  • designed for SAR missions
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Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular, 38mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band
Apple Series 3 Fitness Tracker Watch
  • LED digital display
  • fitness tracking
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Timex Men's TW2R62400 Easy Reader 38mm Gray/Blue Leather Strap Watch
Best Budget Watch
Timex Easy Reader Mens Watch
  • analog display
  • quartz movement
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Nixon Men's A3771887 Sentry 38 Stainless Steel Watch With Leather Band
Best Mid-Range
Nixon A377 Sentry Men's Watch
  • minimalist style
  • analog dial
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Daniel Wellington Dapper St Mawes Watch, 34mm
Daniel Wellington Dapper St Mawes Watch
  • made in Sweden
  • Japanese quartz movement
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Hamilton H70455733 Khaki Field Watch

Hamilton Men's H70455733 Khaki Field Watch

The Hamilton Men’s H70455733 Khaki Field Men’s Watch is sized perfectly for the slimmer wrist with a case size of 38 mm and a thickness of 11 mm. The black logo dial has an analog display with white luminescent hands and Arabic numeral indices. The needle-style second hand is delicately tipped in red.

The Khaki Field Watch is powered by an automatic self-winding movement, so it is a little thicker and not ideal for a small wrist. It has a stationary stainless steel bezel. It features a dual time display and a date window at 3 o’clock. The dial window is sapphire crystal. It’s complemented by a black calfskin band with contrasting white stitching.

This Hamilton men’s model pairs well with everything from casual to formal wear. It’s water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet) and safe for surface water sports but not diving.

Specifications

  • automatic movement
  • self-winding
  • dual time display
  • analog display
  • sapphire crystal
  • stainless steel case
  • stationary bezel
  • calfskin band
  • water-resistance: 100 meters
  • case size: 38 mm
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Best High-End Watch

Seiko SKX013K2 Dive Watch

Seiko SKX013K2 Black Dial Automatic Divers Midsize Watch

Dive and tactile watches are generally much larger than the Seiko SKX013K2 is. This mid-sized dive watch has a case diameter of 37 mm and a thickness of 11.5 mm, so is great for smaller wrists. Powered by 21-jewel automatic movement, the round black analog dial features white luminescent hands and geometric indices. A day/date display is at 3 o’clock, and the dial cover is Hardlex, Seiko’s scratch-resistant mineral.

The silvertone stainless steel case has a matching bracelet-style band with a deployment safety clasp. The stainless steel bezel has a black top ring with white markings. As a dive watch, it’s water-resistant to 200 meters (660 feet).

Specifications

  • automatic movement
  • 21-jewel
  • analog display
  • Hardlex mineral dial
  • stainless steel case
  • stainless steel bracelet & bezel
  • day/date display
  • water resistance: 200 meters
  • case size: 37 mm
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Junghans Max Bill Automatic Men's Watch

Junghans Max Bill Automatic Mens Watch - 38mm Analog White Face Classic Watch with Luminous Hands and Date - Stainless Steel Black Leather Band Luxury Watch for Men Made in Germany 027/4700.00

If you’re looking for a men’s watch for a small wrist to wear with formal attire, the Junghans Max Bill Automatic Watch is the answer. Made in Germany, this luxury men’s watch has a case size of 38 mm stainless and a thickness of 10 mm. The white luminous analog dial is simple and stylish with slender stick indices, sleek silver hands tipped in neon green, and an inner circle of small Arabic numerals.

The Junghans Max Bill has a hard plastic dial cover and a stainless steel stationary bezel. The band is soft black genuine leather. The Max Bill is powered by an automatic movement and is self-winding. It has a water resistance of 30 meters (99 feet) and is safe from splashes but not intended for bathing or swimming.

Specifications

  • automatic movement
  • analog display
  • self-winding
  • stainless steel case
  • hard plastic dial cover
  • leather band
  • stationary bezel
  • water resistance: 30 meters
  • case size: 38 mm
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Daniel Wellington Classic Cornwall Watch

Daniel Wellington Classic Cornwall Watch, Black NATO Band

Designed in Sweden, the Daniel Wellington Classic Cornwall Watch showcases the Scandinavian minimalist style. Wear it on special occasions or as an everyday timepiece. The 36 mm stainless steel case features rose gold double plating and an ultra-slim profile with a 6 mm thickness. You can adjust the black Italian leather band for a better fit on a slim wrist. The band is interchangeable with others in the Daniel Wellington collection.

Powered by Japanese quartz movement, the round black analog dial has minimalist hands and indices in rose gold. The stationary bezel is stainless steel. The case has a screw-down crown and the dial window is hard mineral glass to resist scratches. It’s water-resistant to 30 meters (99 feet) and safe from splashes but not swimming.

Specifications

  • minimalist design
  • quartz movement
  • analog dial
  • stainless steel case
  • rose gold double plating
  • hard mineral dial window
  • stationary bezel
  • leather interchangeable band
  • wear resistance: 30 meters
  • case size: 36 mm
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Seiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch

Seiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Green Canvas

The Seiko 5 Automatic Watch for men has a look inspired by the military. The army analog green dial has a bold busy look while the dimensions of the stainless steel case are only 37 mm in diameter and 11 mm in thickness. Luminescent hands and automatic movement keep the time on an inner circle of Arabic numerals with minute numerals and indices around the outer dial. The seconds hand is tipped in red.

The Seiko 5 comes with a matching army green nylon band with buckle closure. The dial cover is Seiko’s signature Hardlex mineral to resist scrapes and scratches. The stationary bezel is stainless steel. The day and date are displayed at 3 o’clock. It’s water-resistant to 30 meters (99 feet).

 

Specifications

  • military-inspired
  • analog dial
  • automatic movement
  • Hardlex mineral crystal
  • stainless steel case
  • stationary bezel
  • nylon band
  • day/date display
  • water resistance: 30 meters
  • case size: 37 mm
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Marathon Military Medium Divers Watch

Marathon Swiss Made Military Issue Milspec Diver's Quartz Medium Watch with Tritium Illumination (36mm, Rubber Strap) WW194027

The Marathon Military Medium Divers Watch is a high-end timepiece that is comfortable on smaller wrists. Marathon military watches are handmade in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland in accordance with US government specifications and issued and worn by troops in the Middle East. It was designed especially for Search and Rescue (SAR) missions.

Powered by 3-jewel Swiss quartz movement, the recessed black analog dial is protected by a 3 mm-thick sapphire crystal. The dial features white Arabic numerals along with bronze indices and hands. Military time is displayed on the inner dial. Tiny tritium gas tubes self-illuminate for up to 25 years. An end-of-life indicator alerts the time to change the battery.

The surgical grade stainless steel case is 36 mm in diameter and 13 mm thick and won’t overpower a slender wrist. The black wristband is vulcanized rubber. The stainless steel unidirectional bezel is marked with white Arabic numerals. It’s water-resistant to 300 meters (1000 feet) and safe for deep-sea diving.

Specifications

  • medium dive watch
  • designed for SAR missions
  • Swiss made
  • quartz movement
  • analog dial
  • military time
  • self-illuminating
  • stainless steel case
  • rubber wrist band
  • unidirectional bezel
  • water-resistant to 300 meters
  • case size: 36 mm
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Apple Series 3 Fitness Tracker Watch

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular, 38mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band

The Apple Series 3 proves that a fitness tracker watch can come in a smaller package. The 38-mm silvertone aluminum case is lightweight at 34.9 grams. Connect with GPS + cellular to take advantage of the Apple Store’s great fitness apps. You can also store music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

The Apple 3 has an S3 chip with a dual-core processor and features Apple’s Retina LED digital display to display time, weather, and data. Functions include a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor. Get notifications for high/low heart rate and irregular heart rhythms. The crown is digital. It comes with a white sports band and a magnetic charging cable. It’s water-resistant to 50 meters (165 feet) and safe for shallow surface swimming.

Specifications

  • LED digital display
  • fitness tracking
  • GPS + cellular
  • digital crown
  • aluminum case
  • white sports band
  • water resistance: 50 meters
  • case size: 38 mm
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Best Budget Watch

Timex Easy Reader Mens Watch

Timex Men's TW2R62400 Easy Reader 38mm Gray/Blue Leather Strap Watch

The Timex Easy Reader Watch for men is a sensible timepiece with a classic sporty look that won’t overwhelm the slim wrist. It pairs well with casual attire. The 38 mm brass case has a thickness of only 8.8 mm. The bright blue analog dial is powered by quartz movement and features large white Arabic numerals, minute indices, and white hands. The sweeping needle-style seconds hand is red.

The Easy Reader features Timex’s signature Indiglo backlight for easy reading in the dark. The date is displayed at the 3 o’clock position, and the dial cover is hard scratch-resistant mineral. The stationary bezel is brass.

The Easy Reader is complemented by a gray leather band with gray stitching and blue accents. It’s water-resistant to 30 meters (99 feet) to withstand splashes and brief immersion but not swimming.

 

Specifications

  • analog display
  • quartz movement
  • date display
  • brass case
  • brass stationary bezel
  • mineral dial cover
  • Indiglo backlight
  • leather band
  • water resistance: 30 meters
  • case size: 38 mm
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Best Mid-Range

Nixon A377 Sentry Men's Watch

Nixon Men's A3771887 Sentry 38 Stainless Steel Watch With Leather Band

The Nixon A377 Sentry Watch for men features a classic minimalist style and a 38 mm stainless steel case for the slim wrist. The black analog dial is powered by Miyota quartz movement and features silver stainless steel hour indices, minute indices, a needle-style seconds hands, and skeleton hour and minute hands. The dial window is hard mineral to resist scratches.

The Sentry has a fixed stainless steel bezel and comes with an interchangeable croc-embossed brown calfskin band with a stainless steel buckle. The style pairs well with both casual and business attire. It’s water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet).

Specifications

  • minimalist style
  • analog dial
  • mineral dial window
  • quartz movement
  • stainless steel case
  • stainless steel fixed bezel
  • calfskin band
  • water resistance: 100 mm
  • case size: 38 mm
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Daniel Wellington Dapper St Mawes Watch

Daniel Wellington Dapper St Mawes Watch, 34mm

An eggshell white analog dial with classic black Roman numerals for every hour gives the Daniel Wellington St Mawes Watch a look that is stylishly timeless for the slim wrist. It can be worn by men or women. Made in Sweden, it’s powered by Japanese quartz movement with dainty blue minimalist hands. The date is displayed at 6 o’clock, and the dial cover is a scratch-resistant mineral crystal.

The stainless steel case has a diameter of 34 mm and a thickness of only 7 mm. The stainless steel bezel is stationary. It’s complemented by a light brown brushed leather interchangeable band with brown stitching. It’s water-resistant to 30 meters (99 feet) and resists splashes and brief immersions.

Specifications

  • made in Sweden
  • Japanese quartz movement
  • analog dial
  • mineral crystal
  • Roman numerals
  • stainless steel case
  • interchangeable leather band
  • stainless steel stationary bezel
  • water resistance: 100 meters
  • case size: 34 mm
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