Keeping up with all the fashion etiquette can be exhausting. It feels like, for every new piece of clothing or accessory, there is some unwritten rule on how, when, and where to wear it. There are also rules about wearing watches and by far the most common question we get from readers is:
Which Hand Should I Wear My Watch On?
The simplest answer is to wear your watch on your non-dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, your non-dominant hand is your left and vice versa. So if you are right-handed, you should wear your wristwatch on your LEFT wrist. Lefties should wear watches on the RIGHT.
*Your dominant hand is the more dexterous one, that you use to do most actions.
There even seems to be rules on how to wear a watch. You probably thought it was just as simple as slapping it on your wrist, but apparently not. Now, if we’re being honest, we’ve started second-guessing ourselves.
Should we wear our watch on the right or left wrist? On the dominant or non-dominate hand? Does it matter if we’re a man or a woman?
Based on the number of Google results that come up for these questions, it would appear there is a chance you’ve wondered about one or two of them yourself.
So, let’s get into it and settle it once and for all.
Right Hand or Left?
The obvious first question is, does the watch go on your right wrist or on your left? Since this is the most basic detail to figure out, you would think that there would be a hard and fast rule. Alas, nothing can be that easy.
Wearing your watch on your non-dominant hand frees you up to see what time it is while you’re doing whatever you’re doing with your dominant hand. No one wants to accidentally dump their drink on their shirt because they wanted to check the time. There, it’s settled. Isn’t it?
Well, not so fast. For one, some people prefer to wear their watch on their dominant hand for purposes of comfort or functionality. If you’ve already got your dominant hand extended to tighten a screw or change the channel, all it takes is the slightest twist of the wrist to see the time.
Most people do seem to prefer wearing their watch on their non-dominant hand, but it’s not exactly a rule. Either way, though, it’s clear that the question involves more than just choosing right or left.
I’m Right-handed, but I Prefer Wearing Watches on My Right.
There is no hard-fast rule about which wrist to wear your watch on, ultimately it’s up to you. Much of it comes down to the practicality and functionality of using the watch. The one biggest inconvenience to wearing your watch on your dominant hand (right if you are right-handed) is being able to use the crown and pushers which we discuss below.
Look at the Watch Crown
If you own a watch currently, there is a good chance it was meant to be worn on your left hand. We know what you’re thinking, didn’t we just say it’s not a hard-set rule on which wrist you wear a watch.
Well, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean the makers of your watch didn’t have a specific wrist in mind when they designed it.
The issue comes down to which side of the watch the crown is located. The crown of the watch is the small, round knob that is used to set the time and, on a mechanical watch, wind the internal spring. The crown is almost always located on the side of the watch, either just beyond the ‘3’ or the ‘9’ on the exterior of the watch face.
Since the crown is meant to be easily manipulated by the opposite hand, you can tell which wrist the watch is designed to sit on depending on whether it is by the 3 or 9.
If it’s the former, the watch was intended for the left wrist, as that makes it easiest for the right hand to turn. If the crown is by the 9, it’s the opposite. Go ahead, test it out real quick, we can wait.
Most watches are designed with the crown on the 3 o’clock position, because most people (90%) are right-handed, and because, as we discussed above, most people prefer to wear their watches on their non-dominant hand.
Luckily, for all you left-handers and non-conformists, you have options.
These days, there are entire stores of products created specifically for left-handed people. There are scissors, notebooks, and, yes, watches designed for all the southpaws in the world. Watches intended to be worn on the right wrist for left-handed users are known as destro watches (“destro” Italian for “right”) and they can be just as stylish and finely crafted as their opposite-side brethren.
Click here to see our list of Best Left-Handed watches.
Most major watchmakers, including Rolex, Heuer, Zenith, and Tudor offer expertly crafted timepieces with the crown alongside the 9. If you’re a left-hander, the luxury watch industry hasn’t left you behind.
Of course, just like picking the right or left wrist based on your dominant hand, there is no law saying you must wear a watch on the wrist for which it was designed.
If you’re interested in more wristwatch etiquette, check out these 5 tips:
Is There a Different Rule for Women?
Okay, so even if there isn’t an absolute rule on right versus left, there is probably still some sort of gender rule. You very well may have heard or read somewhere that men should wear their watches on their right wrist and women on their left.
Truth is, we found no evidence that that was ever a fashion rule about gender and which wrist to wear your watch on. It is true that, up until World War I, wristwatches were thought of as being purely for women, but once soldiers started using field watches on the battlefield, that notion went out the window. In today’s modern world it seems outdated that there would be a different rule for men vs women.
These days, the idea that there would be any kind of gender-specific way to wear a watch feels outdated, anyway. Wear your watch however you would like.
Psychology Of Wearing Watch On Right Or Left?
Some people claim there is some psychological reason for wearing your watch on one wrist over the other.
It’s time to accept it, there is no “right” way to wear a watch. If it’s more comfortable on your left wrist, wear it there, but if you prefer wearing it on your right, do that. No one can tell you that you’re wrong.
If you’re still skeptical and remain convinced that there must be a rule, let us turn to no other than the fashion experts at GQ to put the question to rest once and for all. To quote: “Who cares?”
Click here to read about why some people wear watches upside down.