'Chunky', 'masculine', and 'bold' have been the watch words for ladies' watches the past two years, with some sizes going up to an eyebrow-raising 42mm. This year, however, watchmakers seem to have made an about-turn and dainty watches reminiscent of styles from the 1940s have made a strong showing at both the Baselworld and Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) fairs this year.

Beyond the aesthetics, small timepieces also present a technical challenge for watchmakers — the smaller the case, the more difficult it is to design a movement that could fit into it, which explains why the majority of these timepieces are driven by quartz. Within this list, Blancpain is the only brand to boast a petite timepiece housing an automatic movement.

Slim d'Hermes
As its name indicates, the Slim d'Hermes collection is a family of rather petite timepieces. The smallest model for the ladies this year measures just 25mm and comes in rose gold or steel variations with or without diamonds on the bezel.

Slim d'Hermes

Chanel Premiere Beige Gold
The dimensions for the smallest model of Chanel's Premiere Beige Gold measures 16 x 22mm but even the large is only 20 x 28mm. The 18 carat beige gold case is adorned with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Chanel Premiere Beige Gold

Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram
Only two years old, but this collection has already gone through a slight makeover, flaunting a new, svelte size of just 21mm. The most extravagant model of the lot is the Tambour Monogram Bijou Riviere, fully set with 575 diamonds on its dial, case, bezel and strap.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram

Blancpain Ultra-slim Ladybird
Blancpain launched this 21.50mm timepiece in 1956 and to this day, it holds the record for the world's smallest automatic movement. The model shown here has a mother-of-pearl dial set with rubies and diamonds.

Blancpain Ultra-slim Ladybird

Longines Symphonette
This elegant collection is a new addition to Longines' selection for the ladies. Available in four sizes, XS to L, the smallest model measures 16 x 25mm and is set with 56 diamonds. 

Longines Symphonette