The ‘Big Man, Little Watch’ Trend Taking The NBA By Storm

Big ballers? Not so much.

The ‘Big Man, Little Watch’ Trend Taking The NBA By Storm


NBA players rank as some of the hugest humans on the planet (as well as some of the wealthiest) – yet more and more top players are choosing to wear surprisingly small luxury watches.

If you’re into watches, the NBA is the sport for you. As of the 2022-23 season, the average NBA player’s salary is a whopping US$9.6 million a year, making NBA players some of the best-compensated athletes in the world.

The result? They’ve got plenty of spare change to spend on cool watches. Combine that with a robust culture of showing up to games in outlandish and luxurious fits (there’s a reason we call people who flex really hard ‘ballers’), and you’ve got a watch spotter’s paradise.

When it comes to the kinds of pieces NBA stars favour, usually the bigger and more eye-catching, the better… This is why it was so surprising to see Anthony Davis, one of the NBA’s biggest stars, wearing such a small and discreet watch last week.

Images: Lakers / Audemars Piguet

‘The Brow’ was spotted arriving at round 3 game 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets last week wearing a 37mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with an ice-blue dial (ref. 15550ST.OO.1356ST.08). That’s right – 37mm.

While you can get a Royal Oak in a wide variety of case diameters, the OG has a 39mm case, which by today’s standards is actually on the smaller side (ironically, when the Royal Oak came out in 1972, it was called the ‘Jumbo’, as 39mm was a very big case size back then).

Anyway, that’s all to say that 37mm is surprisingly small… For an average bloke. But Davis isn’t an average bloke. Standing at 2.08m tall and boasting a 2.27m wingspan, Davis is an absolute unit. So why is he wearing such a tiny watch?

WATCH our guide to the best watches of the NBA below.

It’s not because he had to buy a midsize watch in order to please his AD or anything. Davis buys plenty of high-end timepieces, especially from Audemars Piguet. This small watch was a deliberate choice.

Davis isn’t the only big NBA star who likes rocking small watches – hell, he’s not even the only Laker.

LeBron James, who probably has the best and most lavish watch collection in the entire NBA, has also been spotted wearing smaller watches, such as this Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 ‘Coral Red’ (ref. 126000-0007) he bought back in 2020.

RELATED: LeBron James Spotted Wearing One Of A Kind ‘Los Angeles Lakers Edition’ Patek Philippe

Images: Getty / Rolex

It’s an interesting trend. For years, watch case sizes have been getting bigger and bigger. 42mm seems to be the default case size for men’s watches at the moment, and brands that trade in oversized pieces – such as Breitling, IWC Schaffhausen, Panerai and indeed Audemars Piguet with their Royal Oak Offshore and Concept – have never been more popular.

However, we watch journos have been predicting a swing back to smaller case sizes for ages… Maybe the NBA, which has always been a bellwether for fashion trends, might finally kickstart that for good. Here’s hoping.