Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (2024)

My name is John, and I suffer from Dainty Wrist Syndrome.

The plague of the creative class, DWS involves the dwindling of the wrist muscles such that the afflicted can fit into those impossibly small cuff sizes on a dress shirt. (Victims are also known have impossibly smooth, uncalloused hands.) In all honesty, I’m not quite that bad off — I can open almost any jar without help — but I do still register (just barely) on the DWS spectrum. And when I saw that the Apple Watch came in two sizes, one with a 38-mm face and the other with a 42-mm face, I panicked and couldn’t help but wonder: Would I be less of a man if I bought a smaller Apple Watch?

There have been many articles written about how to figure out which watch size is right for you (my favorite is this neat dollar bill-folding trick), but none help you deal with the side-eye you’ll get after buying the wrong one. So I texted my best friend, an investment banker who inherited a love of watches from his grandfather, a former watch repairman. Surely, he would surely set me straight. “Hold on. Eating a sandwich,” he replied. A few bites later, he explained that he works with people who wear $10,000 watches as a statement piece, so I should go big or go home.

But one thing people don’t realize about the smaller-sized Apple Watch is that it’s already quite sizable. According to Matt Bain, Miami Beach, Fla.-based antique watch dealer, the standard size of a men’s watch today, on the smaller side, is approximately 36 mm.

“Men are wearing watches all the way up to 48 mm, 48 being very large,” he says. “I think the perfect size watch for a man today is probably about a 40-mm watch.”

Which, of course, is right in the middle of Apple’s sizing, and as such, is no help at all.

In Bain’s expert opinion, the smaller Apple Watch should work perfectly fine for a man of my slenderness. In fact, when it comes to Apple’s watch, he seems to regard its face size like that of a touchscreen phone — it’s all about utility and being able to see and interact with the display.

“I have the smaller iPhone … other people don’t even care. I think on the wrist, it’s the same thing,” he says. “Thirty-eight millimeters is still a large watch — it’s not a small watch, and I don’t consider it to be a woman’s one.”

For its part, Apple claims their watches are unisex, but their bands certainly have target markets in mind. For example, the Leather Loop band, which looks rugged yet refined, will only fit the 42-mm Apple Watch. And the Modern Buckle, with its elegant, subtle styling, is only available on the 38-mm version. So, if, like me, you want a smaller watch face with the more burly leather strap, you’re out of luck, and likewise if you want a larger watch face with a demure leather band.

11 Amazing Features of the Apple Watch

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (1)

The Apple Watch is the company's' first entirely new product category since the original iPad. It's a huge gamble for Apple and a test of the still-nascent wearable market.

Stephen Lam—Reuters/Corbis

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (2)

The Watch is the most customizable and varied product Apple has likely ever launched. It'll come in three editions made of different metals and be available with multiple snap-in wrist bands. Prices start at $349.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (3)

The Watch has a touch interface that can sense the difference between a light touch and hard press. But it also has a "digital crown" that allows users to quickly scroll through lists without obscuring the screen.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (4)

The Watch must be paired with an iPhone for many of its functions. The device piggybacks on the phone's data and GPS connections to pipe in directions or incoming voice calls and text messages, for instance.

Stephen Lam—Reuters

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (5)

The Watch, like Apple's other iDevices, will have various independent apps. Examples include a Tesla app that shows the status of your electric car when it's charging and a Starwood app that lets the Watch act as your room key.

Stephen Lam—Reuters

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (6)

Apple's fitness app, one of the device's main selling points, tracks runs, walks and bike rides.

Stephen Lam—Reuters

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (7)

The Watch also can track your heart rate (while resting, while active) throughout the day thanks to these light sensors on the back.

Koichi Mitsui—AFLO/Corbis

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (8)

It also has Apple Pay, the company's digital payments platform. Swipe the Watch in front of a compatible kiosk and it will make an automatic online payment.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (9)

CEO Tim Cook has said the Watch will last about a day before it needs to be recharged. So far, battery life has been the biggest downside of most wearables. The Watch recharges through the magnetic system shown here.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (10)

The Watch will come with many customizable bands that slip on and click in place at the top and bottom of the device's body.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (11)

It also comes in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm, to fit on different size wrists.

Monica Davey—EPA

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (12)

Higher-end models of the watch could cost several thousands of dollars.

Stephen Lam—Reuters

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (13)

Apple is significantly expanding it's product reach.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (14)

And there's one more thing...

David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (15)

It tells the time.

Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP

Still torn, I decided to get a woman’s opinion. I’ve known Andrea Lavinthal, PEOPLE Magazine’s style and beauty director, since college. It turns out she’s a watch aficionado herself, owning a small collection of treasured timepieces.

“When they say unisex for a watch, in my opinion, that means typically a woman can wear a men’s watch,” Lavinthal says. “But it almost never means a man can wear a woman’s watch.”

Funny enough, Lavinthal does make an odd exception to this rule. In contrast to my best friend’s assertion that I should go big to show off, Lavinthal thinks I should brag by going small. According to her, guys tend to size up more than is necessary on everything from cars to clothes.

“They size up in their clothing forever until they either meet a woman who gives them a makeover, or they find a really good sales person, tailor, or friend with better style who they randomly start trusting,” she says. “It almost takes an intervention to get a guy to wear the proper size clothing.”

These man-childs apparently wear large and extra-large sized clothing, when they really should be sporting mediums. “Wearing the bigger size makes you look like a little person wearing a big t-shirt,” says Lavinthal. “The medium is going to fit you and actually make you look bigger.”

And likewise, when it comes to this smart watch — which is still an awkward fashion piece, despite Apple’s design prowess — wearing the proper size is likely to make it less clunky. Heck, if you wear the right size, it might even look like a watch, and not a wrist-top computer.

So I put the question to Lavinthal, point blank: If I bought a smaller Apple Watch, would she think I was less of a man? “No,” she responds. “I would say you’re cheaper.” And this is true: the smaller-sized Apple Sport Watch rings in at $50 less than the larger model. A watch that fits and almost enough extra cash to buy one of these lovely Nomad Apple Watch Stands? That is a stigma I can live with.

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Sure, let's delve into the concepts touched upon in this article about choosing the right size for an Apple Watch and the related perspectives on masculinity, fashion, and technology.

  1. Dainty Wrist Syndrome (DWS): This humorous term refers to a perceived issue where someone's wrist muscles have dwindled, making it easier for them to fit into smaller cuff sizes on dress shirts. While not a medically recognized condition, it's used here to describe individuals with slender wrists who might face challenges in finding the right-sized watch.

  2. Apple Watch Sizes (38-mm and 42-mm): The article discusses the dilemma of choosing between the two sizes available for the Apple Watch, raising concerns about masculinity based on the chosen size. It references opinions from various experts, including a watch dealer and a style director, to address this concern.

  3. Expert Opinions on Watch Size: It quotes Matt Bain, a watch dealer, who suggests that the perfect size for a men's watch today is around 40 mm, falling between the two sizes offered by Apple. He emphasizes that the size should be practical and allows for easy display interaction.

  4. Utility and Design of Apple Watch: The article discusses how Apple's watch bands cater to specific market segments, attributing ruggedness and refinement to different sizes and designs. It touches upon the variety of features offered by the Apple Watch, from customizable bands to fitness tracking and Apple Pay.

  5. Perspectives on Masculinity and Fashion: The article explores contrasting views regarding the perception of masculinity associated with choosing a smaller or larger watch size. It contrasts the investment banker's advice to "go big or go home" to Andrea Lavinthal's perspective that proper sizing matters more than flaunting a larger size for the sake of masculinity.

  6. Technology and Features of the Apple Watch: It outlines the various features of the Apple Watch, including its touch interface, compatibility with the iPhone, fitness tracking capabilities, heart rate monitoring, Apple Pay, battery life, and customization options with interchangeable bands.

Each aspect of this article brings together notions of style, technology, market segmentation, and societal perceptions of masculinity, providing a comprehensive view of the considerations involved in selecting the right-sized Apple Watch and how it reflects personal style and perception.

Am I Less Manly for Buying a Small Apple Watch? (2024)
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