How to Wear a Watch: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by – Updated on June 17, 2024

The selection of a well-suited watch can be an undertaking that requires knowledge, thoughtfulness, and research. It is not simply a question of which style is the most attractive, but rather a multifaceted decision involving considerations such as the occasion, coordinating metals and leathers, size, and type of watch.

The aim of this comprehensive guide is to assist readers in choosing the perfect watch for any setting. From dress watches suited for more formal events to statement and sports watches for casual occasions, there is something for everyone. Moreover, the article provides advice on properly pairing a watch with other attire, buying from different sources, how to take care of a watch, and the importance of avoiding overly flashy watches.

Ultimately, understanding how to wear a watch is essential for embracing the timeless class associated with enhancing one's wardrobe with the right timepiece.

Short Summary

  • Wearing a watch requires finesse and understanding of the wrist, location, type, and size for achieving a seamless addition to the outfit.
  • It is important to select a watch that fits the formality of the event and complements the attire, as well as matching the color and material of the strap with other accessories.
  • Properly wearing a watch involves selecting the correct size case and ensuring the watch band fits comfortably, as well as regular cleaning and servicing to maintain optimal functioning.

The Basics of Wearing a Watch

How to Wear a Watch: A Comprehensive Guide

Donning a timepiece is an essential accessory that necessitates finesse and basic comprehension to make it seem effortless. When selecting a watch to wear, one should consider the wrist it will be worn on, the specific location on the wrist, and the type of watch.

The most reliable method for determining the correct size of a watch is to measure the circumference of one's wrist. It is recommended to opt for a case diameter of 44mm or 46mm for a wrist measuring 7.5-8 inches.

The key is to make the watch seem like a seamless addition to your outfit, as if it is an innate component of the suit.

Which Wrist To Wear Your Watch On

It is suggested to wear a watch on the wrist opposite the dominant hand for practical considerations, such as facilitating crown adjustment and reducing the risk of damage. Wearing a watch on the non-dominant wrist facilitates convenient manipulation of the crown with the dominant hand and reduces the risk of damage to the timepiece.

It is generally recommended that a slim watch is the most suitable size to be worn with a dress shirt. The watch should be of such a thickness that it can be comfortably tucked beneath the cuff of a dress shirt. The strap should be securely fastened to your wrist when adorning it with a dress shirt.

When wearing a watch with a dress shirt, it is important to ensure that the watch remains in a fixed position and does not spin or slide when the arm is moved.

Where To Wear A Watch On Your Wrist

The ideal location for a watch is at the tip of the protruding bone on the wrist, commonly referred to as the ulna. The watch band should be adjusted so that it is comfortably snug, allowing for one finger to fit between the watch and your wrist.

For the majority of men, a watch size of 38mm to 42mm is generally considered to be the most suitable, especially when paired with a dress watch and a suit. It is recommended that a hint of the watch should be visible when the arms are bent.

Different Types of Watches

Choosing the appropriate watch for different occasions demonstrates a sense of style and an eye for detail. There are a variety of watches that are suitable for different occasions, such as dress watches, dive watches, sports watches, and statement watches.

Dress watches are typically characterized by their simplicity and elegance and often constructed from precious metals such as gold or platinum. On the other hand, dive watches are designed to withstand underwater pressure, featuring water resistance and metal bracelets.

Dress Watches

A dress watch is a timepiece crafted to be worn with formal attire. It is typically characterized by its simplicity, elegance, and subtlety, with a focus on minimalism. Dress watches are usually constructed from precious metals such as gold or platinum and they are almost always accompanied by a leather strap.

When selecting a dress watch, minimalism should be the paramount consideration. Examples of highly regarded dress watches are the IWC Portofino, Frederique Constant Slimline, Cartier Tank, Zenith Elite, and Jaeger-LeCoultre Master.

A dress watch is an appropriate choice for white-tie or black-tie events and business formal occasions. As a rule of thumb, it is not suitable to wear a dress watch for sporting activities or other extremely informal attire.

Dive Watches

Dive watches are timepieces specifically designed for underwater diving, featuring water resistance and the ability to withstand the pressure of being submerged. Examples of renowned dive watches include the Omega Seamaster and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique. The Omega Seamaster boasts a 300m water resistance rating, a helium release valve crown at 10 o'clock, an in-house 8800 calibre movement with co-axial escapement and silicon balance spring, and a METAS certification seal. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique, on the other hand, is renowned as one of the pioneering models of modern diving watches. Moreover, it features a C3 SuperLuminova that ensures visibility in low-light conditions.

When styling dive watches, it is suggested to pair them with timeless white shirts and blue jeans for the Omega Seamaster, and a black leather jacket for the Tudor Fastrider Chrono. Water resistance is of paramount importance in dive watches, as it enables the watch to operate correctly while submerged and guards against water damage to the internal components.

Sports Watches

Sports watches are designed to withstand physical activities, providing features such as timers, alarms, and GPS. The Tudor Fastrider Chrono is a sporting chronograph watch created in collaboration with Ducati, featuring a matte black color with red accents, a tachymeter bezel, and three sub-dials for timing needs.

When styling a sports watch, it is recommended to pair it with athletic apparel or casual attire. For example, the Tudor Fastrider Chrono is recommended to be worn with a black leather jacket.

Wearing a sports watch is an ideal choice for those who are active and stylish. Sports watches are suitable for casual occasions and when engaging in physical activities. As a general rule, the watch size should be proportional to the size of the wearer's wrist. Additionally, it is best to opt for a watch with a metal bracelet rather than a leather strap or fabric band.

For example, the Rolex Submariner is a classic, iconic watch that is suitable for all occasions, while the Omega Seamaster is perfect for those who are looking for a more rugged and durable watch.

Statement Watches

A statement watch is a type of watch that is designed to make a bold fashion statement and is often associated with stylishness. It is appropriate to wear a statement watch under circumstances where one is unafraid to take risks with their fashion choices.

The most effective way to wear a statement watch is to pair it with a subdued ensemble in order to create a harmonious contrast between the watch's boldness and the outfit's simplicity.

An example of a statement watch is the Patek Philippe Nautilus, which is best suited for formal occasions or a leisurely weekend brunch with friends. The Patek Philippe Nautilus is renowned for its distinctive design and is equipped with a self-winding movement featuring 30 jewels and a power reserve of up to 45 hours.

How to Match the Watch with the Rest of the Attire

Coordinating the watch with the rest of the ensemble is essential to guarantee that the watch style establishes the atmosphere of the outfit and does not conflict with the garments.

Selecting a watch to suit the formality of the occasion is key, as dress watches are best suited for formal occasions, while sports watches are more appropriate for casual attire. Dive watches are a versatile option, as they can be worn with both formal and casual ensembles.

Match Your Watch to Your Shoes

Coordinating one's watch with their footwear is essential for creating a unified and polished appearance. The optimal approach is to match the color and material of the belt with the shoes and then select a watch with a strap that matches both the belt and the shoes.

For instance, if you are wearing brown leather shoes and belts, a brown leather strap watch would be an ideal choice. Additionally, it is important to match the metal of the watch's case or band with other accessories, such as a belt buckle, cufflinks, shoe buckle, or ring.

For instance, if you are wearing a silver belt buckle, it is advisable to select a silver watch.

Match Leathers if You Wear a Leather Watch

Coordinating the leather of one's watch strap with their ensemble is essential for achieving a professional and polished look. In general, it is recommended to match the color and type of leather of the watch strap with the leather of the belt and shoes. A full-grain leather watch strap can be matched with the same type of leather as the belt. However, it is important to avoid the mistake of wearing tan shoes with a black leather watch band.

The importance of matching the leather of one's watch strap to their ensemble cannot be overstated, as it is essential for creating a unified and sophisticated aesthetic. Therefore, it is important to select a watch with a strap that matches the color and type of leather of the belt and shoes. Additionally, it is important to take care not to make the mistake of wearing tan shoes with a black leather watch band.

Match Metals if You Wear a Metal Watch

The careful coordination of metals is essential in creating a unified and sophisticated aesthetic. When selecting accessories to accompany a metal watch, it is important to ensure that the metal of the cufflinks, tie clip, or bracelet is the same as that of the watch's case. It is not recommended to pair gold and silver metals together.

The exemption to the regulation is your wedding band, which does not necessitate to be in harmony with your watch. It is not necessary to be overly concerned if the metals do not match, provided that the watch is the only item of jewelry that does not fit.

Light Watch Case with Light Shirt & Vice Versa

Coordinating the watch case with the shirt color is essential for creating a unified and sophisticated appearance. When selecting a light watch case to pair with a light shirt, it is advisable to select a color that will create a harmonious ensemble. For instance, a silver watch case would be an ideal accompaniment to blacks, grays, and blues, while a gold watch case would be well-suited to earth tones and shades of tan and brown.

When wearing a dark shirt, it is advisable to select a watch with a dark or black case in order to create a harmonious ensemble. Additionally, the color of the watch dial should complement the shade of the outfit. For instance, a white dial with a dark suit is a viable option.

What to Avoid When You Wear a Watch

The wearing of a watch is a personal choice, and there are certain guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure that the watch is worn properly. The implications of wearing an oversized watch can be deemed inappropriate and can be uncomfortable to wear.

In addition, it is advisable to abstain from wearing watches that are overly adorned with gemstones as these can detract from a sophisticated appearance.

Lastly, it is essential to demonstrate respect for another person's belongings, and a watch can be a particularly personal item. Therefore, it is best to admire it from afar and inquire about it politely.

Don't Wear Oversized Watches

The potential drawbacks of wearing oversized watches are that it may not be the optimal choice due to potential discomfort when worn, or the fact that they may not be aesthetically compatible with certain ensembles. Oversized watches may not be suitable for formal or dressy attire, or for outfits that are more minimalistic or subdued.

On the other hand, oversized watches remain a viable option when one wishes to make a statement or add a bold accessory to their ensemble. In order to don an oversized watch properly, it is important to ensure that it fits snugly on the wrist and does not move excessively.

Such a watch should be paired with more casual ensembles or those with a great deal of visual appeal, and should be avoided when wearing more formal or simplistic attire.

Avoid Too Flashy Watches

When selecting a watch, it is important to avoid watches that are excessively ostentatious, as adorning a watch that is overly ostentatious can be perceived as attempting too hard or flaunting, which can be met with disapproval in certain contexts.

When selecting a watch that is not overly extravagant, one should take into account the event, opt for timeless designs, and abstain from watches featuring large or numerous diamonds or vivid hues.

It is important to also take into consideration the other accessories that are being worn, as a flashy watch may be too much when paired with other items that are also meant to be eye-catching.

Don't Touch Another Person's Watch

It is generally considered to be a breach of etiquette to touch someone else's watch without their permission, as wristwatches are often delicate and personal items. Therefore, it is advisable to abstain from touching the watch without prior consent.

When admiring another person's watch, it is advisable to admire the watch from a distance and request permission to view it more closely if desired.

If you wish to inspect the watch more closely, it is recommended to request permission before attempting to do so. In this way, the etiquette of the situation is respected and the other person's feelings are taken into consideration.

Simple Rules on How to Wear a Watch Properly

The correct placement of a watch on the wrist is essential for comfort and the unimpeded performance of daily tasks. The face of the watch should be situated just beneath the ulna bone for optimal positioning. This bone is located on the lateral aspect of the wrist. The recommended size for a watch case is between 34mm and 50mm, with larger wrists requiring larger watch faces. It is generally accepted that watch cases larger than 50mm are too large. If the watch face is either too large or too small when worn on the wrist, it can create an imbalance in the overall aesthetic of the outfit.

The correct fitting of the watch band is also essential to ensure that the watch is comfortable to wear and remains securely in place on the arm. The most effective way to ascertain the size of a watch band is to insert one finger between your wrist and the band, allowing for a slight squeeze. With these simple tips in mind, you can ensure that your watch is properly worn and looks great with any outfit.

How to Take Care Of a Watch

Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule for a watch is essential in order to prevent the accumulation of dirt and grime, which can have a detrimental effect on the watch's accuracy and overall condition. It is advised to clean a watch using a soft cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Soap should be avoided, as it can cause damage to the watch.

The most suitable approach for preserving a watch is to keep it in a cool, dry environment, avoiding direct exposure to sunlight and humidity. Additionally, a watch box or pouch can provide additional protection from scratches and other forms of damage.

Periodic servicing of a watch is critical to ensure its accuracy and optimal functioning, as well as to prevent more serious issues from arising. The servicing of a watch typically involves the cleaning and lubrication of the movement, the substitution of worn or damaged components, and the assessment of the watch's accuracy.

Best Places to Buy a Watch

Watches can be acquired from various sources, including online retailers, department stores, and specialized watch retailers. Each of these sources has its own advantages and disadvantages.

When searching for a reliable store to purchase a watch, online stores such as Amazon, Jomashop, Crown & Caliber, and eBay are all viable options. These stores offer an extensive selection of watches, competitive prices, and the convenience of shopping from the comfort of one's home.

Department stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's are great for those seeking to view a watch in person prior to purchase. However, these stores may have a more restricted selection and higher costs.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a watch that is suitable for the event demonstrates good taste and respect for the situation. After determining the type of watch that best suits the occasion, it is important to coordinate the watch with the rest of the outfit. It is recommended to match the hue of the watch strap with the color of one's shoes or belt, and to match the metal of the watch with the metal of other accessories.

Furthermore, it is beneficial to avoid exposing the watch to extreme temperatures, moisture, and magnetic fields. Cleaning the watch regularly with a soft cloth and abstaining from using harsh chemicals can also help to maintain its optimal functioning. Having the watch serviced by a professional every few years is also advisable.


As the saying goes, "the devil is in the details." This could not be more true when it comes to wearing a watch: to pull off the perfect look, the details must be finely tuned. Knowing the wrist, location and type of watch to use are the primary keys in unlocking an empowering and stylish addition to any outfit. With that, there are additional touches to pay attention to such as matching a leather watch strap with your belt and shoes, and avoiding oversized watches.

The most important tip for selecting a watch is to ensure that it is functional, comfortable, and fashionable. Make sure to clean and maintain your watch regularly and buy from reliable stores in order to ensure its accuracy and protect its integrity. Above all, use common sense when selecting a watch, respect the valuable timepiece on your arm, and have fun!

With the correct know-how on how to wear a watch, you can now effectively take control of your look with precision and confidence - and make your own statement with style.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should a watch sit on your wrist?

It is generally recommended that your watch should sit comfortably but snugly on your wrist. Make sure it is not too tight, and that you can fit one or two fingers between the strap and your skin for optimal comfort.

Ensure that the face of the watch is positioned perfectly in line with your wrist for an aesthetically pleasing look.

Where am I supposed to wear a watch?

Generally speaking, you should wear your watch on your non-dominant hand. Keep it firmly positioned above the wrist bone so that the face is visible when your hands are at your sides.

Make sure that the cuffs of your shirt do not cover the watch entirely when you are wearing long sleeves.

Is it OK to wear watch on right hand?

In general, it is perfectly acceptable to wear a watch on either the right or left wrist. Your choice may be based on which hand is dominant, practical considerations such as having additional items on one wrist, or simply an aesthetic preference.

Ultimately, what matters most is finding the option that works best and feels most comfortable for you.

Where should a man wear wrist watch?

As a general rule, men should wear their wristwatch on the non-dominant wrist. A watch should be worn with the face situated below the elbow, which helps to ensure that it does not get damaged and keeps movement unimpaired.

Wearing a watch on the right wrist is therefore recommended for right-handed individuals and the left wrist for left-handed people.