October 3, 2022

The pursuit of creating ultra-thin watches is decades old, but the effort has heated up in modern times. Richard Mille, for example, is at the forefront with the current thinnest mechanical watch in the world, measuring an impossible 1.75mm thick, made all the more impressive by the fact that its construction is somewhat conventional in that its 1.18mm-thick movement is housed within an actual case rather than being built into it. That movement-as-a-case strategy had been used by Bulgari in its 1.8mm-thick Octo Finissimo Ultra, which claimed the world’s thinnest watch title just a few months before Mille’s RM UP-01 Ferrari stole its crown. Prior to RM entering the fray, Bulgari had been trading records with rival Piaget for years.

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 than those record-holders, still retain the svelte design and packaging that make ultra-thin watchmaking so appealing while remaining realistically wearable. You’ll find a variety of them in this guide.

  • Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds

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What Defines a Thin Watch?

Truly, there is no universally-accepted definition of what a “thin watch” is. For some wearers, a thin watch is simply one that feels comfortable on the wrist. For others, it’s a timepiece that easily slides under a tight-fitting dress shirt cuff. But generally speaking, anything clocking in with an overall case thickness (including the crystal) in single-digit millimeters is considered pretty thin. For the purposes of this guide, we went a little further and set our cut-off at 9mm.

We also chose to limit our options to mechanical watches only, and did not include any quartz watches. As a general rule of thumb, quartz watches are thinner than their mechanical counterparts, as their battery-powered movements lack the complex system of springs and gears that power hand-winding and automatic watches. Given this lack of moving parts inside, there’s no real challenge to making a thin quartz watch — the technology is inherently slim, and quartz watches thicker than 10mm are usually unnecessarily beefy. So, to better appreciate the engineering that goes into making an ultra-thin mechanical watch, we have focused solely on that space in this guide.

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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.

  • Movement: ETA 2892-A2 automatic
  • Thickness: 8.45mm
  • Diameter: 40mm


    Mido Baroncelli Heritage Gent

    Like Hamilton, Mido is an affordable, Swiss-made subsidiary of the Swatch Group — albeit a lesser-known one. And for under a grand, its Heritage Baroncelli offers up a ton of value. Clocking in at just 7.3mm, this is low-key one of the thinnest automatic watches on the market, and it manages to sneak in several high-end features to boot, including a heat-treated blued seconds hand, a sapphire caseback showing off the decorated movement, and a dauphine handset with a striking contrasting finish.

    • Movement: ETA 2892-A2 automatic
    • Thickness: 7.3mm
    • Diameter: 39mm


      Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug

      The Junghans Meister Driver’s svelte case was made possible by the slim, hand-winding Peseux 7001 movement. Though thin watches will be styled dressily, this one is heavily Art Deco design, a nod to the speedometers Junghans made back in the early 20th century.

      • Movement: ETA/Peseux 7001 hand-winding
      • Thickness: 7.3mm
      • Diameter: 37.7mm


        Nomos Tetra Neomatik 39

        At just 7.3mm thick, Nomos’s dressy, square Tetra is incredibly thin for any timepiece, let alone an automatic. That’s thanks to Nomos’s in-house DUW 3001 caliber, a super-flat movement that’s only 3.2mm thick. The clean, Bauhaus-inspired dial design and delicate lugs are the perfect accouterments to the Tetra’s minimal proportions.

        • Movement: Nomos DUW 3001 automatic
        • Thickness: 7.3mm
        • Width: 33mm
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          Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds

          The Master Ultra Thin is about as timeless as you could imagine, featuring a date-free shimmering silver dial, dauphine hands and a small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock. The 896/1 automatic movement inside is under 4mm, and it’s based on a tried-and-true movement design Jaeger has been making for decades.

          • Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre 896/1 automatic
          • Thickness: 7.58mm
          • Diameter: 38.5mm

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            Chopard L.U.C XP

            Chopard’s watches generally tend to skew more classical, but the XP is a decidedly modern take on the ultra-thin dress watch. The clean dial is finished with vertical brushing, giving it the look of raw metal, while the numerals and hands have been treated in an eye-popping blue. (A cashmere strap is also a unique addition). The scant 7.2mm case houses an in-house automatic movement from the brand that comes in at just 3.3mm thanks to a micro-rotor design.

            • Movement: L.U.C 96.53-L automatic
            • Thickness: 7.2mm
            • Diameter: 40mm

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              Bulgari Octo Finissimo Watch

              The Bulgari Octo Finissimo is one of the most distinctive watches out there — and also just crazy-thin. The in-house movement itself is just 2.23mm, and the watch’s thin bracelet offers a look quite unlike anything else, with a striking angular design that is surprisingly comfortable on the wrist. The Octo Finissimo comes in an expanding range of versions from those with stainless steel or titanium cases to a ceramic model, as well as those with solid or skeletonized dials. There’s also of course the formerly-world’s-thinnest Ultra model, which was a limited edition that is no longer in stock (hence its absence from this guide).

              • Movement: BVL 138 automatic
              • Thickness: 6.4mm
              • Diameter: 40mm
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                Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin

                The classic shape of the Royal Oak is iconic, and its sleek lines are even more enticing in ultra-thin guise. While the ultra-thin variants have existed in the greater Royal Oak lineup for some time, this year the brand released it in a mix of platinum and titanium. That may seem like an odd duo, but the rugged, brushed look of the titanium mixed with the polished look of the platinum bezel and end links offer up a unique take on two-tone design.

                • Movement: Audemars Piguet 2121 automatic
                • Thickness: 8.1mm
                • Diameter: 39mm

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                  Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept

                  This previous world record-holder may now rank third after the latest efforts from Bulgari and Richard Mille, but it’s still an incredible feat of engineering. At 2mm thick, the watch’s size difference between its usurpers is negligible, and if we’re honest, we think it’s the most aesthetically pleasing and most wearable of the trio thanks to its (relatively) easy-to-read dial and luxury dress watch looks.

                  • Movement: Piaget 900P-UC hand-winding
                  • Thickness: 2mm
                  • Diameter: 41mm

                    Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari

                    Here it is: the thinnest mechanical watch in the world, and most likely the thinnest watch you could ever want. Clocking in at an almost unfathomable 1.75mm thick, Richard Mille’s ultra-high-end collaboration with Ferrari is an unorthodox and sporty timepiece, built to be a daily-wearer capable of withstanding over 5,000 Gs of acceleration. In addition to being crazy thin and durable, the watch is also extremely light, thanks to its case, mainplate, bridges and even balance wheel all being made of titanium.

                    • Movement: RMUP-01 hand-winding
                    • Thickness: 1.75mm
                    • Diameter: 51mm