Is there a perfect size for a watch? I have slightly bigger than average hands with proportionately large wrists, so in the beginning of my watch journey I always thought I needed a watch on the larger side. My first watch was 45mm and it seemed to be a perfect match, and I couldn't imagine going much smaller than that. Having now had the opportunity to wear many different watches, I'm OK with admitting that thinking I couldn't go smaller than 45 was an immature opinion.
Watches are probably bigger now than ever before, but I think we may be on the verge of a downsize among what are considered classic wearables. Just this week at Basel we've seen the release (or reissue) of several smaller watches, such as the Tudor Black Bay 36, among others. Even so, If you would have told me a month ago that I would be wearing a 36mm watch everyday and absolutely loving it, I probably would have disagreed. But I have to say...after wearing this new Limited Edition 1963 Seagull D304 Chronograph from the Seagull Watch Store, I'm feeling love for smaller watches.
The 1963 Seagull Chronograph (or Project 304 as it is known in China, which I encourage you to read about in Li Wei's fascinating historical piece found here) is perhaps one of the most iconic and recognizable watches ever to come from China. As Li Wei stated, "Because the 304's production quantity was so small, and because it was a daily-wear watch, original pieces are not easily found today. The Seagull watch factory and watch enthusiasts have been duplicating this watch in a variety of versions in recent years, attempting to satisfy the desires of 304 enthusiasts."
Remakes have been in varying sizes, from 38mm, matching the original, up to 42mm for another version. This version provides a smaller option at 36.7mm. But in all reality, it wears a bit larger with the crown and double pushers taken into consideration.
Also different from other remakes, this version goes minimal on color with a cool sleek silver sunburst dial and non-contrasting sub-dials. The only real splash of color on the dial is the red chronograph hand. The sub-dial at 3 o'clock is for the 30 minute chronograph register, and on the opposite side is the seconds hand. The strap is super comfy, and the dark green stitching reminds you of the military connection in a subtle way.
The case back features a bold raised blue and red version of the Chinese Air Force emblem along with the Chinese characters 中国空军第一只航空表复刻版 meaning China's First Aviation Watch Reissue. It comes in a nice leather case and includes a sort of nato-ish style elastic strap with a compass attached.
As mentioned before, I've really enjoyed wearing this watch. I dressed it up and dressed it down; the tasteful dial is well balanced and versatile. I definitely think it's a cool watch to have, especially considering the historical importance. It comes with a 1 year warranty, and is available now on sale for $350. Visit the online shop here.