What Side do Men Wear Watches (& Why)
September 30, 2021
If you've ever wondered which side you wear your watch on, we applaud you: it's not such a common question, and it does reveal a greater sensitivity than the norm. The reason is that a watch is not only used to look at the time, but it's also worn to convey our identity as an individual - and the wrist to which we wear it is also part of this aspect, which seems secondary but isn't.
So, let's take a look at why you should wear your watch on one arm or the other - and in some cases, both!
What wrist should a man wear a watch on?
Are you right-handed or left-handed? Or ambidextrous? The "traditional" way of wearing a watch has always been with the less dominant hand, and this is for a straightforward reason: a watch that you wear on the arm you use most tends to weigh and bump into things around you, precisely because you move it more than the other, that you keep "in reserve."
Moreover, you should remember that the timepiece has a definite weight - and in some cases, it weighs a lot, as it happens in the bulkiest diver watches. Excessive weight of the watch makes us fatigue our arms more, especially doing repetitive jobs such as writing at the computer, which could have adverse effects on our health, giving rise to the famous carpal tunnel syndrome that creates so many problems for those who suffer from it.
This is the reason why most people tend to wear their watch on their left wrist. But let's remember that many people use their left arm instead of the right: left-handed people. A 2020 study, based on the analysis of more than 2 million individuals, estimated the prevalence of left-handedness in the population at 10.6%, primarily men than women - and celebrating their day on August 13. These people, for obvious reasons, typically do the opposite and wear their watches on the right, on the wrist of their less dominant hand, which brings us to another problem.
Left-handed watches: the position of the crown
Traditionally, wristwatches are derived from pocket watches, specifically from a particular type of pocket watch called savonnette. Instead of having the crown at twelve o'clock, these timepieces had it at three o'clock. In addition, they typically mounted a spring-loaded cover that protected the dial and opened with a push of a button - and this cover had a hinge at nine o'clock.
For this reason, modern wristwatches carry the crown at three o'clock, which is the most comfortable position if you wear a watch on your left wrist. With regular arm movements, the crown doesn't bother you pointing against your skin. But if you wear the watch on the opposite wrist, the problem arises.
The crown, by its very nature protruding and knurled, scratches against the skin, producing annoying redness - so several watchmakers decided to provide a unique service to their customers and offered left-handed watches, where the movement was mounted precisely the opposite way round, with the crown mounted at nine o'clock instead of three o'clock: after all, this is not a particularly difficult modification, given that all that is needed is to rotate the movement 180 degrees and apply a dial and, if necessary, the date rings, which are specially made.
Psychology of wearing watch in right hand
There are several theories regarding the psychological reasons for wearing a watch on one arm rather than the other, and they are often correlated with the two universes of the brain - the creative and the rational, thus suggesting that those who wear their watches by choice on the right arm are more creative than those who wear them on the left.
Although there are plausible reasons, perhaps it is just trying to rationalize an aspect of choice - or style - that belongs to human free will, and therefore, is connected to one's individuality. But let's not forget that there are some excellent reasons, even if less evident, that lead people to wear their watches on the right arm, even though theoretically it would be more uncomfortable, some of them quite original - such as the one of a watch lover who started wearing his timepieces on the right arm because his girlfriend did the same, and did not want to scratch them while holding hands!
Who wears watch on the right hand?
Whoever wears a watch on the right wrist typically has good reasons for doing so. The first one is the most obvious: a left-handed person wearing it there for convenience because if they wore it on the other wrist, it would become uncomfortable.
The second could be for a quirk: wearing a watch on the right hand is undoubtedly a distinctive sign that puts the wearer a bit out of the norm, and therefore, the expression of a personal style message.
The third reason is related precisely to physical problems. For example, some people suffer from tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome in one arm, and therefore, in order not to fatigue it, they prefer to wear the watch on the opposite.
But there is also a fourth category: those who want to consult their watch discreetly. There are situations - such as business meetings - where every single gesture counts, and even looking at the watch can send an unwanted message, such as anxiety or impatience. In this case, wearing the timepiece on your arm where people least expect it to be can help you read the time without sending negative messages to your interlocutors - especially if you are wearing watches upside down, that is, with the dial towards the inside of the wrist.
And let's not forget that there are people who wear watches on both wrists simultaneously! Indeed, this is not a very common case. Still, undoubtedly it happens - we often see celebrities who have a somewhat extravagant lifestyle, among which one of the most famous is former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who came to wear even three watches at the same time.
However, we have to remember that many ordinary people can do this for a specific reason. For example, some people need to wear a smartwatch or device for work issues or monitor their physical condition. Still, they also love mechanical watches, so they wear both at the same time, even if on different wrists.
Famous people who wear watches on right side
There is a large group of celebrities who have been immortalized on famous shots wearing watches on the right wrist. Among the many, we can remember the socialite David Beckham, the famous former soccer player and sex symbol, husband of the former Spice Girl Victoria; actors of great fame such as John Cleese, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Bruce Willis, and Sacha Baron Cohen; an iconic director such as Spike Lee; musicians, singers, and rappers including Eminem; professional sportsmen such as tennis player Rafa Nadal, who worked with Richard Mille to design a watch that can withstand incredible stresses; a very famous politician and watch enthusiast such as the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Without forgetting the world's most infamous terrorist: Osama Bin Laden.
Didn't you see any female characters in this shortlist? Then, you can refer to Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, and NBC anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie.
Also, there is a list of celebrities who wear watches on both wrists at the same time. Aside from the aforementioned Buzz Aldrin, the list includes names such as musicians Justin Bieber, Drake, and Billie Eilish, actors such as Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp, and even Che Guevara. Not to forget the late Lady Diana.
Why ladies wear watch in right hand?
Speaking about ladies, many of them wear their watches on the right wrist, perhaps more than men do. The reason is intuitable: traditionally, women's watches were smaller (and had a less accurate watch movement) than men's and represented more of a style accessory than a real functional object. They were treated more as ornaments. Therefore, since many more women are right-handed rather than left-handed, they tended to wear on their left wrist not watches but other jewelry such as bracelets and chains, which could scratch the watch.
That's why many women, to avoid this problem, started wearing watches on their right wrist instead of their left, even being right-handed. And even if the size of women's watches has increased with time - nowadays, many women wear watches traditionally considered as "men's" in shape and size - they still wear them on the right side for this exact reason.
An interesting curiosity: traditional Chinese medicine is based on the presence of energy centers that must be left free to flow, and therefore not blocked by objects and ornaments. Two of these energy points are on our wrists: on the right for women and on the left for men. So, it suggests us that women should wear their watches on the left wrist, while men should wear them on the right wrist. If this is true, then we really should rethink everything about how we wear our watches!
Although it may seem like a futile topic, wearing a watch on one wrist rather than the other can say a lot about your personality - beyond the fact of being left-handed or right-handed. Above all, it leads us to think that certain choices, which may seem merely aesthetic, might be motivated by more important and often unknown reasons.
And realizing this makes us more attentive and more participatory, and possibly, respectful of what other people do when they wear an object in a way or another.