We all know the feeling. You’ve just found a new watch online – perhaps on this very site – that hits every single aesthetic sweet spot you’ve ever asked for. You’re starting to get the itch that only – only – this watch can fulfill. And then the watch’s diameter finally registers in your brain. It’s either too big or too small, but you know it’s not the right fit, and any interest you had in the watch has quickly evaporated.
If that sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. We all have differently sized wrists, and what might be the consummate watch diameter on one person could be a disaster on another. It’s unfortunate that no matter how much you might like the look and history of a watch, if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit – making a watch you might adore in every other aspect a complete nonstarter. Thankfully, some brands have the foresight and manufacturing capabilities to produce their most popular designs, with slight aesthetic variations, in proper mid-size proportions, so that every person has the opportunity to own the watch they want.
In today’s update to the HODINKEE Shop, we’re introducing four different OMEGA watches from the Speedmaster and Seamaster families that all feature diameters 40mm and under. And these aren’t Lilliputian watches, not by any stretch of the imagination. They simply strike the ideal balance in size, taking a watch that might have once had a formidable presence on your wrist into decidedly friendlier territory.
OMEGA Seamaster Railmaster Co‑Axial Master Chronometer 40mm
The Railmaster is a bit of an anomaly in OMEGA’s contemporary Seamaster collection, and that might just be why we like it so much. The Railmaster actually dates all the way back to 1957, when it made its debut right alongside the original Seamaster and Speedmaster. However, unlike its mid-century siblings, the Railmaster never quite caught on – it was discontinued in 1963, a short six years after it was born. The watch laid mostly dormant for decades before OMEGA officially brought it back in 2018 as a production watch with its own sub-collection in the greater Seamaster family.
While the Railmaster doesn’t have the bona fides of a lunar expedition, like the Speedmaster, or a history on the big screen, like the Seamaster Diver 300M, it does offer a pretty compelling connection between OMEGA’s past and present. When the watch was originally released in 1957, it offered would-be purchasers a nearly unparalleled level of anti-magnetism, thanks to the presence of a soft-iron inner case that acted as a Faraday Cage. At the time, the watch was marketed toward those who worked closest to strong electric currents that might impact a watch’s accuracy, including scientists and railroad workers.
While it may have had niche appeal in the 1950s, the desire for anti-magnetic wristwatches has never been higher than it is today, which is why OMEGA has returned to the field in force over the past decade. The brand’s commitment to this very topic has resulted in movements like the one found in the Railmaster, Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber 8806, which is tested to endure magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss without ill effect. You won’t find a production watch from any other brand today that boasts those kinds of numbers.
The contemporary Railmaster is a testament to OMEGA’s technical ingenuity over the past 60-plus years. It’s also one of the best daily wear options in OMEGA’s catalog today, placing the firm’s state-of-the-art movement technology in a thinner and more wearable case than nearly any other Speedmaster or Seamaster. The watch is also just plain good-looking, with a vertically brushed black dial, a fully matte case, a railroad minute track, and a lollipop-style seconds hand. Finally, the Railmaster offers a price tag that, in our opinion, puts it in close competition with the Seamaster Diver 300M as one of the best values in Swiss watchmaking around $ 5,000.
OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph 38mm
Here we have a smaller, automatic version of the classic Speedmaster, a watch that OMEGA quietly added to its core line-up in 2017. It has become the go-to option for any person looking for a watch that retains the look of the Speedmaster Professional, but in smaller proportions and with automatic winding. In many ways, it’s a direct descendant to the Speedmaster “Reduced,” a highly successful series of sub-40mm, automatic Speedmasters that OMEGA produced for around 30 years, from roughly 1988 to the late 2000s. Now, OMEGA doesn’t refer to this watch – or any watch for that matter – as “Reduced” today, but it is the closest watch to it in current production and will offer the same overall benefits in style and size.
While it’s true that OMEGA now offers automatic movements in a wide number of Speedmasters, this wasn’t always the case, and the appeal of an automatic Speedmaster with a smaller diameter has never gone away. In comparison to the conventional manually wound Speedmaster Professional, today’s Speedmaster 38mm shares an outer tachymeter bezel, a black dial with a sunken triple register layout, and pump pushers. It is, however, smaller in size, features automatic winding, and includes a date window at six o’clock. While older Speedmaster “Reduced” models featured a modular movement, the one used in the current Speedmaster 38mm is caliber 3330, a fully integrated chronograph movement with a column wheel, a silicon balance spring, and OMEGA’s famed co-axial escapement.
This is truly a Speedmaster meant for daily wear. Whether you’re on the lookout for your first Speedmaster, but the 42mm-and-above diameter of other models is putting you off, or you’re a current Speedmaster owner looking for a complementary, more low-profile addition to the collection, the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph 38mm might just be the watch for you.
OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm
We’ve said it plenty of times before, but we’ll repeat it here for good measure. The Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Chronometer is, in our opinion, one of the most underrated watches in OMEGA’s current catalog. As part of the greater Seamaster range, the Aqua Terra was designed to bridge the gap between the sporty and dive-oriented nature of the Seamaster Diver 300M with a daily-wear option in stainless steel that could function equally well on land as it could at sea. Proof of that concept is visible no further than in the watch’s name, which brings together both aqua and terra, Latin for water and land.
Despite the long history of the OMEGA Seamaster collection, the Aqua Terra is a timepiece that has its roots planted firmly in the 21st century. It was born in 2002 and has received a number of updates over its 15-plus years, resulting in the current version you see here. The modern Aqua Terra is tested to 150 meters of water resistance and offers a defined sense of style thanks to the dial’s horizontal lining meant to recall the teak paneling found on decks of luxury ocean liners.
Looks aren’t everything, and performance was key in the development of the Aqua Terra. Take, for example, the fact that in 2013, the Aqua Terra was selected as the first timepiece at OMEGA to have a movement resistant to magnetism up to 15,000 Gauss, meaning it’s more than suitable for any magnets you encounter in your day-to-day life. The automatic caliber 8800 inside the Aqua Terra’s stainless steel case is also a METAS-certified Master Chronometer. As always with OMEGA, user-friendliness is of the utmost importance, and nowhere is that more present than in the Aqua Terra, which has a conical, easy-to-grip crown that screws down. A date window is placed, unobtrusively, at six o’clock in a color-matched aperture.
This is an everyday sports watch in stainless steel at a competitive price point that you won’t have to wait in line for. Even if you’re well aware of the Aqua Terra, we believe it’s the kind of watch that deserves a second look, as we’ve found it grows on you the more time you spend with it. While the HODINKEE Shop has offered the standard 41mm version of the Aqua Terra for a while, we’re now adding two versions of the watch in 38mm. One features an attractive blue dial and bracelet, and the other comes with a matte white dial on a grey rubber strap.
Find A Watch For Any Wrist In The HODINKEE Shop
Watches, like wrists, come in all shapes and sizes, and the HODINKEE Shop is proud to offer a diverse selection of watches suitable for all watch enthusiasts and collectors. We’d also like to take this moment to remind you of a unique feature we’ve built in the official HODINKEE app (compatible with iOS and Android devices) called Actual Size, that allows you to hold your phone to your wrist to determine how a watch will look in real-time. Check it out, and our entire OMEGA collection, today in the HODINKEE Shop.