When we received the Bambino Small Seconds for review earlier this month, we also got the 36mm Bambino. This is a model that got us honestly curious, as there are certainly many Bambino fans out there who insist the original's 40.5mm width is too large for them, and argue that a truly classic dress watch size is between 36 – 38mm.
The 36mm Bambino (36.4 to be precise) seems to be the perfect answer for these claims. Retaining the classic Bambino DNA – domed crystal, lovely dial and all – the smaller version lies right in the goldilocks zone for the more conservative of watch buyers. Or is it…?
The 36mm watch was originally introduced by most retailers as a "ladies version" of the Bambino. It's easy to see how its design really does speak to female customers, or at least bears a lot of resemblance to classic ladies watches: the smaller dial dictated by the case size has less open space and a more compact arrangement of details, like the applied logo, gold toned markers and hands, which against the sunburst effect of dial (more pearlescent here than in most other current Bambinos, it seems) create more of a jewel-like impression.
All this does not necessarily mean it cannot work as a unisex, or men's watch, as well. It's all in the details – and more than that, in the eyes of the beholder.
The version we received – ref. - RA-AC0010S – comes attached to a leather strap – and it must be said right away that this almost instantly puts it the wife's jewelry box. The strap is narrow (17mm at the lugs) and tapers to around 13-14mm at the buckle. We let a couple of guys at the office take a look at it and they immediately associated the strap as belonging on a woman's watch.
On the wrist – particularly one larger than 7" – it really did feel a little petite, although much of that came from the combined appearance of the strap and jewel-like impression, and not so much the case size itself.
Now, keep in mind Orient more recently introduced the 36mm Bambino on a bracelet. And that actually does make a difference in its appearance. Take for instance this piece, ref. RA-AC0009S. A little less gold, a little more steel, and it does look more like a unisex watch.
So, in conclusion, here's what we can say about the 36.4mm Bambino:
· It is indeed a lovely watch for women.
· It will not work for men with wrists over 6.5"
· Even at under 6.5", consider replacing the strap with a non-tapering one.
· Or, at under 6.5", consider the versions that come on bracelet – however that would render them a little less classically dressy.
The blog would like to thank Orient – Epson Europe for providing us this 36mm Bambino for review.