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Different Case Shapes by Extropian

Case shapes
Round case
Square case
Cushion case
Oval case
Tonneau case
Avant garde case
Batavi Watches
Different Case Shapes by Extropian

A watch’s case is, pretty obviously, one of its most important components. It not only protects the movement inside the watch but is one of the main elements of its design. They can be round, square or even, if you’re after something a little more avant garde, asymmetrical!


Round cases have always been the most common shape. And it’s kind of easy to understand why. For many people a round display is simply the clearest and most logical way to display and read the time. Not only that, but the gears and wheels that power the movement of a watch are also round, so they fit most easily into a round shape. 


Batavi Watches Kosmopoliet Gmt Ny Alesund De7d

Batavi Watches - Kosmopoliet GMT ❤️ Extropian adores this stylish, modern take on a classic GMT watch - Cosmopolitan indeed!


Asymmetrical cases look very much like round ones but are slightly wider on the crown side of the case to give extra protection to the crown, stem, and pushers (if it’s a chronograph). Because of this, asymmetrical cases are most commonly found on tool watches.


Oval watches have a long and illustrious history, dating all the way back to 1812 when Abraham-Louis Breguet created the very first wristwatch for the Queen of Naples. However, they’ve always been much less common than round cases. They tend to have a very delicate, ornamental appearance and often come with slender straps


Square cases have dipped in and out of fashion over the past century. Well, fashion’s always been a fickle thing hasn’t it? They had their first burst of popularity in the early 20th Century, especially on slim, elegant dress watches, and a bit of a resurgence in the 70s when a number of watchmakers used them for now-classic sports watches such as the iconic Heuer Monaco. In recent years they’ve undergone something of a revival, especially with brands who like to pay homage to past eras of watchmaking. They’re still much less common than round cases though, making them something to wear if you want to stand out from the crowd!


Emg   Horizon

EMG - Horizon ❤️ There’s nothing square about this cool homage to an iconic ‘60s classic. Extropian approves!

Rectangular (Tank)

A variation on the square shape, the rectangular case was first introduced in 1917 with the iconic Cartier Tank. It was so popular and influential that many people now refer to any rectangular shaped watch as a “Tank”.  Like square cases, they were very popular in the early 20th Century, but are less common today, so a slightly unconventional choice.

Vario Reversible Dual Time Versa Silver Red U3 Mj

Vario - Versa ❤️ Here at Extropian we just love the retro Art-Deco vibes of this stylish Tank watch with its reversible dial.

Square Octagonal

This type of case features four long sides and four shorter ones (at each corner), so while it can be described as a variation on the square shape, if you’re going to be super picky it is  technically an octagon. These watches tend to have square dials, but you can also find regular octagonal cases (with eight equal sides), which look more like round cases and generally feature circular dials. A slightly quirky choice and we like that!

Maen Automatic No Date Manhattan 37 Salmon C3 Nj

Maen - Manhattan ❤️ Check out the great Côtes de Genève dial and integrated bracelet on this octagonal beauty!


The Cushion case is somewhere between a square and a circle, and sometimes charmingly referred to as a “squircle”. It’s basically a square shape with rounded edges and bowed-out sides. The style was first popularized in the 1940s with the Panerai Radiomir and soon became a common feature on many sports and dive watches. It's made a bit of a comeback in recent years though and can now be found on dress watches and other types as well, especially those which want to flaunt a retro look. 

Aquadive Bathysphere 100 Gmt Turquoise 9355

Aquadive - Bathysphere 100 GMT ❤️ Extropian loves this cool Dive/GMT combo. What better choice for a holiday by the ocean!?

Tonneau (Barrel)

“Tonneau” is French for Barrel, so it probably comes as no surprise that the Tonneau case is barrel shaped! It has a rectangular shape with bowed-out edges and rounded corners, so it’s similar to the Cushion shape but taller and longer.

Goodspeed   Sonoma

Goodspeed - Sonoma ❤️ We’re just crazy about the classic vintage looks of this stylish Driver’s Chronograph with a tonneau case!

Avant Garde

Some watchmakers like to throw convention to the wind and create totally Avant-Garde  cases which can take any form imaginable. Famous examples include the Hamilton Ventura or Cartier Crash. But many modern brands are continuing to experiment with bold eye-catching forms and unusual, often asymmetrical design elements. If you’re the arty type these could be the case shapes to go for! 

Seals   Model A

Seals - Model A ❤️ Extopian is blown away by the bold industrial design of this quirky, modernist marvel!


With watch cases there may only  be a relatively small number of basic forms, there’s still a huge range of original designs to explore. Just pick your favorite shape and go for it!

Created the 2023-04-06

Modified the 2024-01-25

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