How Should A Watch Fit?

It might seem like a basic question, but a lot of new watch lovers aren’t always sure how to properly wear a watch. Perhaps more important are those people who incorrectly wear a watch and don’t even know it. This issue is perhaps the most important when it comes to choosing the right watch size for one’s wrist.

So how should a watch fit? The first thing to say is that watches are not designed to be worn loosely. Watch bracelets should be professionally sized, and straps should be worn snugly and securely. If your watch bracelet or straps is too tight too loose, then it might be advisable to consider changing the strap or bracelet to something more comfortable.

The first thing to do when considering the size of a watch is to ask yourself if you’ll be primarily wearing it with or without sleeves. Watches worn with sleeves tend to look better smaller on the wrist while watches worn without sleeves typically look better in large diameters. A good rule is that watches worn with sleeves tend to look best in the 39-41 mm diameters, and watches worn without sleeves can be as large as your wrist can accommodate.


Vintage Omega Constellation
Watches worn with sleeves tend to look best in the 39-41 mm diameters.


While fashion and style preferences can dictate a lot about one’s taste, it is generally a good idea to ensure that a watch’s lugs do not extend past the edges of your wrist. In other words, no matter how large a watch is, it looks best when all of it is actually on your wrist. While some watches can get away with it, for the most part a timepiece will look best when all of it is actually on your wrist – and not sticking out. Many watch brands offer “lug-to-lug” tallness measurements for their timepieces, which you can use in comparison to the width of your wrist to ensure you don’t choose timepieces that are too large. With that said, given how vastly watch case shapes can vary, the only true test of how a watch will fit is by actually wearing it.

Zenith Pilot Type 20
It is generally a good idea to ensure that a watch’s lugs do not extend past the edges of your wrist.


Watch bracelets are often the most beautiful way to wear a watch, but depending on the bracelet it can be difficult to find one with a perfect fit. More and more high-quality bracelets today offer the ability to “micro-adjust” them in millimeter steps for comfort, but bracelets are still the most risky means of getting a perfect fit. Watch straps offer more size options and given that many are slightly flexible or elastic it is easy to get a snug fit. Watches should never be loose or sliding around while being worn. Perhaps the most comfortable strap material is rubber. Flexible and water resistant, even some high-end animal skin straps use rubber as a liner. Rubber, as well as other synthetic materials such as nylon, are also some of the best options in warm, humid climates or sports where moisture and sweat are typically introduced to the watch wearing experience.

Nomos Tangente Automatik
Watches should never be loose or sliding around while being worn.


All images credit aBlog To Watch.



Ariel AdamsAriel Adams – United States
Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back – combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things “well-made” on In addition to running the world’s highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World’s Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.

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