I have a 170mm wrist. Please help me decide between a 38mm and 42mm watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Winter Charm, Jul 22, 2015.


Which watch looks better on my hands?

  1. 38mm

  2. 42mm

  1. Winter Charm macrumors 6502a

    Winter Charm

    Jul 31, 2008
    Hey, everyone. First of all, I'd like to say I really appreciate the help, and any comments you might have for me.

    So I bought the stainless steel Apple Watch, in 38mm, with a milanese loop, and I love everything about it, except at times I think it's a bit small. I have large hands, and a 170mm wrist, with a 53mm wrist surface.

    I've attached some pictures of me wearing the 38mm with milanese, and 42mm with milanese, side by side. Please tell me which one you think looks better.

    Here's an image of each one with a classic buckle, 38mm is on the left, 42mm on the right:
    IMG_0714.JPG IMG_0713.JPG

    And finally, an image of the 42mm with leather loop:
  2. Itsedstech macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    38mm goes fine with your wrist, but 42mm looks better with your hand size. id say 42
  3. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Looks are subjective, but my (male) wrist is 195mm and the 38mm is fine for me. Had it for a couple of months and wouldn't change it for anything. My next watch will be the same size, whenever that time rolls around.

    To me, wearables should be unobtrusive and inoffensive. Smaller is ALWAYS better in my book (provided the screen is legible).

    The $50 saving is gravy.
  4. sean000 macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    I voted 38mm because I have a 170mm wrist size and that is what I chose :)

    Seriously though... Go with the 42mm if it's comfortable. I tried both sizes on in the store, took a walk, then tried them again. I just couldn't get the 42 comfortable on my wrist for some reason. I kept fiddling with the strap and it never felt right. I think either size looked perfectly nice on my wrist though. 170mm is right there in the middle where you could go either way. The 38mm just felt right to me, and my fingers have no trouble hitting the targets. Maybe I would have gotten used to the 42mm. Maybe not. I'm kind of with Arran on the idea of small and unobtrusive. On the other hand the 42mm is still small compared to many watches. If it feels good on your wrist, get the 42.
  5. vanz macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    170mm wrist here and I chose the 38mm with milanese loop. I have my iPhone 6 plus when I need a larger screen.
  6. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Hard to tell, because the pictures are all at different angles / distances. When looking at the picture of the two watches side by side, I think the 38 looks better, but the last picture of the 42 with leather loop looks nice too. However, I don't know if that is because of the band, or because of the angle at which the picture was taken.
  7. Winter Charm thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Winter Charm

    Jul 31, 2008
    I guess that this is the right answer... I'll have to go back and try them all again, and see what fits better :) Thank you!

    And thank you to everyone who voted. I'll go the Apple store this sunday, and you guys will all be the first to know which way I went :)
  8. telefono macrumors 6502


    Dec 17, 2007
    I have 170mm wrist size and the 38mm looked OK but bought the 42mm because it also looks great especially having the larger screen size.
  9. sean000 macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    It's tough, but I bet with one more visit you will work it out. Ask them to let you try different straps too. I found that the 42 was a bit more comfortable on me with the leather loop vs the sport band. And for the two-piece bands it's a good idea to try both lengths. Either will fit a 170mm wrist, but each will feel slightly different.

  10. schmidt65 macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2010
    I have virtually exactly the same wrist sizes, and I had a 38mm but ended up selling it and going for the 42mm. Pictures always make the watches appear bigger.

    I also have the classic buckle and blue leather loop as above (as well as a link bracelet), and they all look great with the 42mm.
  11. sinophilia macrumors regular


    May 7, 2008
    I was going for the 38mm (160mm skinny wrist) but thankfully I changed my mind just before ordering, the 42mm looks perfectly fine! Definitely worth the extra money for the larger display and battery, and some bands are only available for the 42mm. I'm used to large watches though, never liked the tiny "lady" models.
  12. schmidt65 macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2010
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I think the choice is yours. Why ask stranger which looks best?
  14. papbot macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2015
    My wife has the 38 and I have the 42. Her wrists are only slightly smaller than mine. The 38 looks appropriate on her wrist but I think the 42 would not have looked odd. However appearance should not be the deciding issue unless you are very petite, and even many women, especially models wear very large watches. The fact is the 42 is easier to manipulate and read text on the screen. It, and I'm going by my 42 and my wife's 38, has a much better battery life. At the end of the day with similar usage she is frequently below 20% battery while I'm almost never below 40%.

    Again unless you have very small wrists, to the point that a 42 would look stupid, it's a no brainer. The 42 is a better choice. However I know there will be people that really want the smallest device on their wrist or just really prefer that look. I tried to talk my wife into the 42 but she really thought the 38 looked more appropriate and she's very happy with it even though she frequently has to place it back on the charger during the day while I frequently can go a second day without doing so.

    And if you read some of the ridiculous posts on here, apparently even having to charge the watch once a day is a terrible ordeal for some.
  15. robdeb macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2015
    I like the 38mm better, it is less 'large big black thing' on your wrist. Although my wrist is 175mm (small), I like (as said before, this is your decision) the smaller one. But friends of mine, about the same wrist size, wear the 42mm and it also look good, but more prominent on your wrist.

    battery difference is (in my opinion) nonsense, not 20% (sometimes, on a slow day, my watch doesn't make it till the 70% on a full day, but sometimes it drops till 30%). @papbot wife is properly using the watch more often, or looks at the screen more often. The battery is smaller in the 38mm, but also the most consuming part (screen) is smaller. Should be around 5% difference, not enough not to charge every night..

    Just make your choose, either one is a good one :)
  16. StophMac24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2007
    My wrist is slightly smaller than yours and I own a 42mm. Looks a lot better than the 38mm IMO. I would go 42mm
  17. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    I have a 160mm wrist and chose the 42mm. However it really depends on the band you choose. If you're going with the sport or loop, it looks bigger because the bands go outward and then around your wrist. The Milanese or leather buckle goes straight down and around so it looks smaller.
  18. c55 macrumors regular


    May 3, 2015
    I have the same wrist size as you Winter Charm but I went with the 42mm. I think I could have gone either way and would have been happy, but I come from a 42mm Pebble watch so it just felt natural to me. One thing that did worry me was the 38mm's battery life vs. the 42mm. I've had mine for a month now and I realize that the 38mm's battery life would be fine. I regularly end the day with 50% or better. The only problem you may have with the smaller screen is tapping on apps or notifications, I know that was somewhat of a problem for me. They are tiny on the 38mm and since you have big hands that could be an issue. Or maybe not, just something to keep in mind.

    I really don't know what to vote because they both look great on your wrist. Because they both look great, I would start thinking more about which one is more functional. Which one is easier to use. I'd say try out the 38mm for a while and return it for a 42mm if you aren't happy. Apple has really stepped up the game when it comes to returns/exchanges with the Watch, so it shouldn't be a big deal.
  19. solo118 macrumors 65816

    May 16, 2011
    I have a smaller wrist, and prefer the 42mm watch. I do not like large watches, but the 38 felt way too small
  20. hokiemas macrumors member

    May 26, 2015
    My wrist is 170mm and I have the 42. I tried on my wife's 38mm and it felt too small. The 42 in no way feels too big for my arm IMO.

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