How to Wear a Watch

Written By: Vahid Moradi

Whether you are a first-time watch wearer or a long-time watch enthusiast, wearing a watch the right way is an important part of being a watch wearer.

It may seem redundant and foolish to hear the phrase "how to wear a watch," but the reality is that there is a great deal of nuance to donning a fine timepiece. While the name "wristwatch" certainly doesn't leave much room for debate, the fact remains that there is far more to wearing a watch than just strapping it onto your wrist.

But whether you're wearing a formal watch or a sports watch, there still is a right way to wear it. To properly wear a watch, it must be the correct fit, the proper size, and the right feel. Is the watch you've purchased for formal wear like a dress watch or more casual wear like a sports watch? These issues have specific guidelines that this guide will help you address to determine once and for all how to wear a watch.


If you are new to wearing a watch, understanding how tight should a watch be may seem ambiguous. After all, shouldn't personal preference play into how tight or loose the watch is?

While it is your watch and your wrist, there is a certain tension a watch band should have while draped around your wrist. You are certainly entitled to wear the watch however you want but ensuring that the right watch fits properly is a necessary first step to a long and happy relationship with your new watch.

For new watch owners, how large and loose or small and tight your watch band is might seem like a personal preference. While there is certainly an aspect of personal taste that goes into how you wear your watch, there is also a standard method of operation to ensure your watch lays correctly on your wrist. Additionally, there is an easy way to gauge whether your watch is too loose, too tight, or just right.

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Here's a quick fit test to help you determine how to wear one no matter the watch style. First, to determine whether your watch is the correct fit, secure the watch to the wrist of your non-dominant hand. Next, flip your wrist so that the watch faces the ground and the underside of your wrist is facing up. Slide the index finger of your opposite hand in between the watch and your wrist.

You should be able to successfully slide the finger underneath the watch band. Still, you should not be able to slide it from one edge of your wrist to another. If you cannot slide your finger underneath the band, the watch is too tight. Similarly, if you can move your index finger around once it's in between the band and your wrist, it is too loose.


If your watch is the correct fit, it should remain relatively stable on your wrist without moving too far up or down your wrist. A properly fitting watch should slide no further than ½ an inch in either direction up or down your wrist.

If your watch is too big, you may be considering taking matters into your own hands. If you don't feel comfortable, bring it to your local jeweler or watchmaker, and they can fix it in a matter of minutes!


Ultimately which arm you choose to wear your watch on is completely dependent on preference. Still, the tendency to use the non-dominant hand is a tried and true method for keeping your watch in excellent condition. The purpose of wearing your watch on your non-dominant hand (right wrist or left wrist) is for the sake of preventing unnecessary scratches, scuffs, and dings. If you're right-handed, you'd wear it on your left wrist, and if you're left-handed, you'd wear it on your right wrist.

Most individuals are far more active with their dominant hand than they are with their non-dominant hand, meaning if you wear your watch on the dominant hand, there are more opportunities for damaging your watch. Small tasks, from pumping gas to reaching for a pen, can pose a potential threat to your watch, and most of these trivial tasks are done mindlessly with the dominant hand. Meanwhile, the nondominant hand stays largely out of the fray for most trivial day-to-day tasks.

The classic example of why the non-dominant hand should be used for wearing a watch goes something as follows: Assume you have your watch strapped to your dominant hand and you are enjoying your morning cup of coffee. Now just after you take a sip, you go to check the time on your watch. All of a sudden, you have a lap full of coffee, and it doesn't matter what your watch says because you have to deal with coffee pants, and you are now late!

The moral of the story is that there are many tasks that we use our dominant hand for in a variety of motions and gestures that we don't think about. Wearing your watch on the non-dominant hand helps ensure that your watch does not impede your daily life and vice versa.


One of the unfortunate pitfalls of dress watches is that not every watch is going to fit every person. This type of fit has nothing to do with the watchband. Rather it has everything to do with the size of the watch face. Watches are not uniform in size, not even close! Even within a particular brand, some models are much larger or smaller than others.

When purchasing a watch, it is important to be analytical and a little critical about how a watch looks on your wrist. Types of watches that are too big can look tacky and clunky, creating an unwelcome clash. Likewise, a watch that is too small can make your wrists and forearms look too large.

You don't want your body to overpower the watch, and you don't want the watch to be the only thing people notice. A watch needs to compliment the person wearing it, not detract.


Your watch style matters. It's important to realize that the watch you choose to wear should also match the occasion. For example, for more formal occasions, you might choose to wear a luxury watch with a leather strap that matches the leather in your shoes. Or, in a work setting, you might opt for some type of dress watch with a strap that matches your outfit to make yourself look more professional.

The same goes for less casual occasions, like a hike, for example. In this instance, you might try to wear a sports watch that tracks certain movements and is designed for the outdoor elements. Matching a formal or casual watch style to your activity is one of the important things to remember when it comes to wearing a. watch properly.

That said, there is no required dress code when it comes to American or Italian watches. Just go for a wristwatch that you like, and that's all that matters! 


Now that you know how to wear a watch, it's time to add some personal style. While the rules laid out above are generally accepted practices, there is no hard and fast rule for how something must be done. There is no watch police to take you away if your wearing watch is a little too big or if your brand is a little too loose. These are simple tips you can follow, but whether you choose to wear a leather band to your hike or a sports watch strap to the office, it's all about how you style it.

It is important to remember that dress watches are statement pieces. A good formal watch is as much a fashion statement and accessory as it is a functional piece of your ensemble. Therefore, you must understand that while certain rules and guidelines for wearing a casual watch do exist, they can also be ignored if you so choose.

Wearing a wrist watch is a classic form of self-expression which tells the world that you are hyper-aware of time. Choosing how to express that message has everything to do with the automatic watch you wear and whether or not you wear it well. Whether you are looking for the best watches under $5,000, a used Patek Philippe watch, or used Breitling watches, we have an extensive selection of luxury watch options for you. To find your dream watch, visit a CJ Charles retail store or shop high end luxury watches online!


Written By: Vahid Morai

Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.



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