Ah, left-handers. Your burden is heavy, living in a world made for righties.
Scissors, notebooks, doors, etc….left-handed people have to deal with life’s everyday nuisances, including watches. Generally, you wear a wristwatch on your non-dominant hand. This keeps it from getting in the way, it gets battered a little less often, and it just feels “right” for most of us. And, it allows for optimal access to the crown (and pushers, if it’s a chronograph), which usually sits on the right side of the case.
Why is that?
For one, the majority of the population is right-handed, and it’s become commonplace to assume a watch should be on your left wrist—even if you’re left-handed. Likewise, most watches are designed with the crown to the right. It seems to be indicative of one norm creating its own standard; movement layout and dial design also favor a right-sided crown. You might think this goes back to the time of handheld stopwatches, with the pusher on the right to take advantage of the right-handed thumb’s strength and reactivity, but you’d be wrong. A quick search shows stopwatches with pushers on either side.
Regardless of the right-sided crown’s ubiquity in watch design, it’s by no means universal. There are plenty of dive watches and chronographs with crown and pushers on the left side, even if they aren’t necessarily left-handed watches. So southpaws take comfort, you’re not forgotten.
In the market specifically for a left-handed watch? You have some options.
Panerai produces a line of ‘Destro’ models that are meant for lefties, referring to the fact that the watches are meant for the right (“destro” in Italian) wrist. It’s a call-back to Panerai’s history with military divers—generally, the left wrist was used for other diving equipment.
Likewise, TAG Heuer’s Calibre 11 Monaco features the crown on the left—another throwback to the original Monaco. The original Calibre 11 movement wasn’t fully integrated. Instead, it was a regular movement with a chronograph module on top. Space limitations dictated that the base movement had to be turned around—hence, crown on the left, pushers on the right. The Monaco’s Steve McQueen fame made it the quintessential racing watch, and many other sports watches have copied its distinctive layout over the years.
If you’re a leftie, the watch landscape isn’t totally hopeless. And nobody says you can’t wear watches with a right-sided crown. Sure, you might get some odd looks if you wear a watch on your right hand, but what does it really matter? You have to do what feels right for you. Or left. We’re done with the wordplay for now.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 14, 2013. It has since been updated for relevance and clarity.