The pursuit of creating ultra-thin watches is decades old, but it seems as though the effort to produce impossibly slim watches has been heating up in recent years. Audemars Piguet, for example, debuted a perpetual calendar watch — one of the most complex movements around — at this year’s SIHH that came in at just 6.3mm. At the same show, Piaget blew minds with its 2mm hand-winding watch, the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. Subsequently, at Baselworld, Bulgari broke threeworld records with the Bulgari Octo Finnisimo Tourbillon Automatic, which is simultaneously the world’s thinnest tourbillon and automatic watch (and, as such, the thinnest automatic tourbillon).
But the former two watches are merely concepts while the latter costs six figures. While they’re fun examples of how much watchmaking can be crammed in a small space, this super slim philosophy has been applied to a greater number of watches that, while a bit thicker, still retain the svelte design and packaging that make ultra-thin watchmaking so appealing while remaining realistically wearable. While there’s no set definition of what makes a watch “ultra-thin,” these ten mechanical timepieces come in at under 9mm in height. Some are even a fraction of that.
Christopher Ward C5 Malvern 595
At just under 6mm thick, Christopher Ward’s C5 Malvern 595 is one of the thinnest watches you can buy under a grand. Despite its diminutive size, though, it still features all the finishings you’d expect from a top-notch dress watch, like a domed, opaline dial, double-curved sapphire crystal and a transparent case back.
Movement: ETA/Peseux 7001 hand-winding
Hamilton Jazzmaster Thinline Auto
Most super-slim watches under a grand rely on a hand-winding movement to keep the overall case thickness down, but the Hamilton Jazzmaster manages to pack automatic winding and still come in at just under 8.5mm in height and $1,000 in price. The Jazzmaster Thinline is available in a handful of different dial colors, each with shimmering sunray finishing, and pairs its slim case with a set of old-school sculpted lugs.