We know that taking the plunge on that first watch takes a lot of research and thought. There’s always price to consider and, of course, style. However, the most important thing is that you know how to wear a watch properly. Maybe you’re in the market for a new watch or maybe you just bought your first one. Here, we’ll address some of the common questions from prospective and new watch owners.

How Should My Watch Fit?

When it comes to watches, size matters, and you want to make sure your watch is the proper fit. This includes not only the watch case but also the bracelet or strap. Your watch wears too tight if it’s leaving imprints on your skin, and it’s too loose if you can fit several fingers under the band and it slides around on your wrist. Instead, your watch should be tight enough that it stays in place, with just a bit of room to move so that your wrist can breathe. If you find that your watch bracelet is either too big or too small, you can take it to a local watchmaker where they can remove or add links to give your watch the proper fit.

How to Wear a Watch

This is too loose. The watch will slide around on your arm in a distracting way.


How to Wear a Watch

This is too tight. The strap will bite into your skin and give your wrist no room to breathe.


How to Wear a Watch

This is just right.

As far as placement on the wrist, you don’t want to wear your watch too low. Typically, you should wear it at the tip of the ulna (the bone on your wrist that sticks out). If you try keeping your watch on top of or above that bone, you’ll likely experience a bit of discomfort. Still not sure what size watch/bracelet/strap you need before you buy? Check out our handy watch sizing guide and watch our video on how to choose a case size for you.

What Wrist Should I Wear My Watch On?

Most people typically wear their watch on the hand opposite their dominant hand. This means if you’re right-handed, you wear your watch on your left wrist. Most watchmakers design watches for the left wrist since a majority of people are right-handed. Notice that watch crowns are generally on the right side of the case. For right-handed folks, this makes it easier to wind the crown or use the chronograph pushers on the go. However, if you’re a lefty, you’re not completely out of luck. You can look at some watches that cater to southpaws.

Should I Wear My Watch Inside or Outside of the Cuff?

When standing with your arms down by your side, your sleeve or cuff should mostly cover your watch. However, when your arm is bent, your watch should peek out of your shirt cuff. Most importantly, don’t wear your watch on top of your cuff – don’t be that guy!

How to Wear a Watch

This is how you wear a watch with shirt cuffs.

When Should I Wear My Watch?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of watch you own. For instance, dress watches lend themselves to formal occasions, as the name suggests. Traditionally, a dress watch has a white dial, gold case, and a leather strap. It’s also more modestly sized and minimally styled – the Patek Philippe Calatrava is a perfect example. However, the versatility of sport models has increased and the definition of a “dress watch” has expanded. As a result, dress watches are no longer de rigueur for nicer occasions.

How to Wear a Watch

A nice watch really pulls together a formal outfit. Pictured: IWC PortugueseMost watches fall into the “everyday” category. Dive watches, pilot watches – you name it. Most watch styles are fitting for the office or a night on the town. When it comes to sport watches, the bracelet or strap will often determine exactly how casual your watch looks (i.e. a rubber strap is going to be a lot more casual that a metal bracelet).

Obviously, there are no written rules on how to wear a watch. However, there are definitely those that are “understood”. Hopefully, this answers all of your questions on how to wear a watch. However, if you still feel unsure, shoot us a line in the comments!


Editor’s Note: This article was updated in June of 2019 to offer more advice.

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