Which Hand Does a Watch Go On? (And What It Says About You)

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Does a watch go on your right or left hand? What’s the psychology behind that, and is the rule different for men and women? When do you wear a watch on the inside of your wrist?

We’ve been asked all these questions before, so we figured we’d try to answer these in one article to put them to rest.

Let’s get started!

Article: Which Hand Does a Watch Go On? Image shows man with watch on left wrist

So Which Hand Does a Watch Go On?

So the TL;DR; version is this: most people wear their watches on their non-dominant hand (so worn on the left if you’re right-handed). Most people are right-handed, so (surprise!) most watches are designed on that assumption. However – you can wear them any way you like!

That out of the way, there are a lot of other points here….

Most Watches Are Designed for the Left Hand

What does that mean?

Even older-style, classic analog watches make the assumption that people may want to make changes (adjust the time or date say) while wearing the watch.

Accordingly – the bezel (thats the bit that pulls out to wind or adjust an analog watch) is typically placed on the right side of the watch. That means its easy to access with your right hand.

Rolex Bezel

(if you have an analog watch, and usually wear it on the left hand, try switching it to the right hand and adjusting with your left – it’s surprisingly awkward to do this.)

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Modern watches, say runner’s watches with lots of buttons, or touch screens like the Apple watch, also make this assumption. There’s usually a main button to select options, then scroll or select menu items with another – and the layout of the buttons reflects right-handedness.

So What Happens If You’re Left Handed?

There’s a lot of things that are a pain when you’re left-handed in a right-handed world! Those range from inconvenient to downright dangerous…

Fortunately – some designers do in fact offer watches with the bezel on the left. These are perhaps confusingly referred to as “left hand watches” even though they are designed for the right wrist!

Remember:

  • “Right hand” watches: bezel on the right
  • “Left hand” watches: bezel on the left

Got that? OK, cool.

What’s the Psychology of Wearing a Watch On the Right Hand?

We see this a lot.

It comes up in those forums (you know the ones we mean …) where random folk will confidently assert that wearing a particular color is a “power color” and positioning your hands in a steeple pose on a negotiating table will cause your opponents to wither and give you everything you want.

In those forums the usual statement goes something like “wearing a watch on the non-standard hand is a sign of confidence and power.”

It’s for guys who own the room when they walk in – no namby-pamby standard watch-wearing for them! After all, tough-talking rebels make up their own rules!

(This is usually accompanied by a picture of someone like Vladimir Putin wearing a watch on his right wrist.)

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Ahem.

This is, to put it as politely as I can, bs.

The long and short of this is – there is no serious suggestion that selecting one wrist vs the other signifies anything at all!

Our take: these posts are written by people who want to make up a “rule” that implies they themselves are more powerful, good looking, etc than they really are ….

Man look at watch on right wrist
We decided not to show a picture of Vladimir Putin. You’re welcome.

Wearing a Watch On Your Right Hand If You Are Right Handed

You can of course, totally do this if you like the look. Most people don’t though, for two reasons:

  • As we said earlier, you will find it hard to adjust the watch while wearing it, and will find yourself removing the watch, altering the time with your right hand, then putting it back
  • A watch on your dominant hand can get in the way of other activities – think about sports for instance. Hitting a ball with a racquet is hard enough if you’re as spatially-challenged as me, now add the weight of a chunky Rolex to that hand (I can dream, can’t I?).

Is the Rule Different for Men and Women?

There is no rule, so no.

OK, to add a little more thought to that – the same type of person who posts that wearing a watch on your right hand is a sign of having masculinity to burn will then turn around and write something that says “women often wear watches on their right hand to symbolize their femininity.”

Or something.

Enough already. Wear them whichever side you like.

One last question – moving on from the whole left/right debate:

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Why Do People Wear Watches on the Inside of The Wrist?

There are a lot of reasons why people in some professions tend to wear a watch with the face on the inside of the wrist. You’ll likely not do this if you’re typing at a keyboard all day – the watch face would be against the desk and uncomfortable.

But if you work with hands, or spend a lot of time outside, that’s a different story:

  • If you’re actively working with your hands, you can glance at the inside of your wrist without having to “twist” the wrist so far to see the face
  • If the sun is bright, the underside of your wrist is in shade, making it easier to see the face without glare

For practical purposes, some professions naturally lend themselves to this style of wearing a watch – think people in the military, pilots, nurses…

Of course, it’s also a style choice for some people too. Ultimately – you can choose how you want to wear your watch based on your own preferences – its not a rule, it’s a choice!

Before You Go…

OK, hopefully that actually cleared a few things up, and wasn’t just me ranting. Watches are of course one of the key pieces of jewelry for men. But there are other accessories too .. read our next article for more on styling men’s accessories – the right way!

Men’s Accessories – The Guide to Getting them Right!

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