8 Rules Of The Watch - How, When, & Why To Wear Watches (2024)

In a world where owning and wearing wristwatches is a matter of personal preference rather than necessity, it pays to make sure you’re wearing your choice of timepiece with style. Whether it’s luxury watches, formal occasions, or a casual quartz watch, this guide outlines the must-know tips to elevate your watch and style game.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Wear your watch on the wrist that suits you
  2. 2. Make it fit
  3. 3.Don’t wear the same watch every day
  4. 4. Pair watches with outfits appropriately
  5. 6.Skip the bling
  6. 7. Beware the implications of checking your watch
  7. 8.Admire other people’s watches from a distance
  8. You’ve mastered the 8 Rules…now find your ideal watch!

1. Wear your watch on the wrist that suits you

Most people will default to wearing a watch on their non-dominant wrist. This means that right-handed people will choose to wear the watch on their left wrist, and left-handed people will adorn their right wrist with their timepiece. The reasoning is quite sound, as it means either your dominant right hand or left hand is free to perform important tasks (like writing notes) while your non-dominant hand can simultaneously be used to tell the time without pausing the task at hand.

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This works in principle, but the reality is it’s not a hard and fast rule that you need to abide by. There are many stylish people who enjoy wearing a wristwatch on their dominant hand, and why not? If it works for you and you enjoy it, then go for it. The key is to ensure your watch is comfortable on your wrist – make sure it’s not competing with your wrist bone, and you’ll be able to stay stylish in comfort all day long.

2. Make it fit

Like any other garment or accessory, your watch should fit youproperly in two key ways. The size of the dial should be proportional to your wrist, and the band should fit snugly but comfortably. A loose band looks sloppy, so take it to your jeweler to have it sized to your wrist, or purchase smaller leather straps if this is your preferred material.

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Oversized is Over Done

For the last couple of years, oversized watches have become the norm in men’s style. This popular trend only served one purpose: to scream for attention. An oversized watch dwarfs your wrist, throws off the proportions of your entire outfit, and simply doesn’t “fit” well into a nicely combined outfit.

For a watch enthusiast, those large dials are nothing more than for show. If you want to be taken seriously in the world of horology, stick to watches that fit your wrist.

3.Don’t wear the same watch every day

Even if you only own one nice watch, you shouldn’t wear it every day for several reasons. First, if the watch is a piece that you love, giving the watch a break will make it last longer. Second, one watch is rarely suited to the variety of outfits that you’re likely to wear in a given week. The office, the gym, sporting events, dinners out, and parties all require different clothes and hence different watches. If you wear the same watch daily, chances are that 20-30% of the time it is the wrong watch to be wearing.

Regardless of your budget, if you love wearing a watch, try building up a small collection of reputable watches that suit all the various needs you have during the week, and give your favorite piece the occasional break.

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Watch Rules FAQs

What wrist should a man wear his watch on?

Wear a watch on the wrist that feels most comfortable to you, and suits you best. Although there are default rules to wear your watch on your non-dominant wrist, this is largely only a starting point for most people. Try it out on either wrist, and stick with what works best for you.

What is the etiquette for wearing a watch?

Within the realm of classic style, an elegant dress watch is going to be appreciated by many. The etiquette surrounding the use of a watch will be largely similar to the use of a phone – essentially, make sure you are using it in a non-distracting way that means you can be present with others. Otherwise, it’s best to skip the chunky sport watches and instead go for a smaller, elegant model.

How to properly wear a man’s watch?

How you wear your watch is entirely up to you, although there are some starting pointers to consider. Typically, you’ll want to make sure the watch sits comfortably on your wrist, neither too loose nor too tight. Also, start by trying your watch on whichever is your non-dominant hand, but feel free to switch this to suit you.

Where should a watch sit on a man’s wrist?

Most people will agree that a wristwatch is most comfortable when worn just above the wrist bone to prevent discomfort when moving your hand throughout the day. That being said, you won’t want the watch to be so far up your wrist that you need to roll your sleeves each time you want to check the time!

Can guys wear watches on the right hand?

Whichever hand you choose to wear your watch on is the correct hand for you. Don’t let societal conventions dictate how you’re able to comfortably wear your timepiece.

Is there a rule for wearing watches?

While anyone can wear a watch, there are a few expert tips to make sure you’re wearing it stylishly, as we outline in this guide!

Is it ok to wear a watch on your dominant hand?

Whether you prefer to wear a watch on your dominant or non-dominant hand is purely your choice. Traditionally, wearing a watch on your non-dominant hand allows you to perform tasks like writing while also checking the date or time, but it’s ultimately down to your personal preferences.

4. Pair watches with outfits appropriately

Just as you wouldn’t sit on the beach in a morning coat, you also don’t want to wear your elegant dress watch while sailing on choppy seas. Try matching the type of watch you wear to the activity you’re involved in each day. If you’re unsure what you’ll be doing, pair it with your choice of clothes; durable sports watches with athletic wear, dress watches with business wear, or a simple Timex Weekender with beach wear.

If you’re invited to a formal event or gathering and the dress code calls for black tie, attitudes have changed about wearing a watch. Historically it is considered impolite to wear a watch, but the rules regarding black tie have softened to accommodate wearing a simple dress watch with a black dial and band if you choose. A pocket watch is an alternative. For the rare white tie event, tradition demands that you do not wear a watch at all.

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Dive Watches with Suits

Just because James Bond does it, doesn’t mean you should. James Bond is fictional a spy who lives a larger-than-life existence that needs him to be ready for anything at any moment. Plus, there’s the marketing tie-in that keeps the Omega firmly on Bond’s wrist! In reality, dive watches are bulky, they don’t fit well under a suit jacket, and simply don’t work with a classically styled formal outfit. leave the dive watch for casual wear and pair a simple dress watch with your suit.

4.a) Wear dark with dark, and light with light

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If you’re out during the day consider a lighter-colored face such as white or cream. However, at night focus on darker dials such as black, grey, or brown. Just like a tuxedo is for evening wear and you wouldn’t wear it to brunch, a dark watch dial should be on your wrist at night, rather than during your 9 am tee time at the country club.

Try to match the metals and the colors of the watch to the rest of the outfit you have on. Note the color of your belt buckles, shoe buckles, rings, collar bars or pins, and cufflinks, and choose a watch in a matching metal. Wear yellow gold with yellow gold, and don’t wear a brown band when you’re wearing a black suit. Focus specifically on the boldest parts of the watch; the color of the strap, the color of metal, and even the color of the dial.

6.Skip the bling

Wearing a diamond-encrusted watch is quite the flex, but is rarely done so by those who wish to be seen as elegant. Like an oversized watch, flashy diamonds and jewels are a cry for attention, and distract from the rest of your outfit by drawing all the attention to one point. Unfortunately, most people will also wonder if it’s real, as the majority of us don’t walk around with ostentatious time-pieces strapped to our wrists.

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If the stones are subtle and enhance the overall features of the watch without being ostentatious, then they can find a place in your watch collection. Just remember to wear them in appropriate settings and don’t buy sporting watches made with tons of gold and jewels, as it runs counter to what is a more casual watch.

Finally, it should go without saying that you should never buy a watch with fake stones. If you can’t afford the real thing, skip stones altogether, as they will only cheapen the overall look and make it painfully obvious that you seek the kind of attention diamonds can bring.

7. Beware the implications of checking your watch

Even though a great watch is one of aman’s ultimate accessories, checking it can have some negative social implications even if that’s exactly the reason you are wearing it!

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If you’re on a date, in a meeting, or at a social event, don’t check your watch visibly in front of other people. Just like it’s rude to check your phone at a movie or restaurant, checking your watch shows that you have other things on your mind; things that take precedence over your present company. Unless you’re still young and have a curfew, the only way you should know what time a date is over is when she says goodnight.

8.Admire other people’s watches from a distance

Just as you would never touch someone else’s wallet, don’t expect to handle a watch that’s not yours. For many men, the watch is the only piece of jewelry they own or wear, and they take great pride in keeping it dust-free, fingerprint-free, and well-polished. It’s perfectly okay to politely ask to see a watch, but don’t expect the wearer to take it off their wrist. If the watch is offered to you, feel free to accept, but try to handle it as little as possible and never place it on a hard surface where it could get scratched.

You’ve mastered the 8 Rules…now find your ideal watch!

The video guide below will help you to determine which watch (or several!) will be your ideal timepiece.

Are there other rules you think we’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

8 Rules Of The Watch - How, When, & Why To Wear Watches (2024)
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