Watch Size – Why It Matters

Ariel Adams, founder of the world’s largest watch site A Blog To Watch, set up his ‘Ask Us Anything’ section due to unprecedented demand from readers asking specific questions about watches and the world of horology. We’ve asked him to expand on some of his most popular questions in this series of articles. First up, he talks about watch size and does it really matter?

“I hate to be that guy who tells other people how to dress. You don’t need me explaining how to tie your shoes or put on your pants, but I may be of service when it comes to choosing a watch. Like most things in life, watches comes in thousands upon thousands of varieties. Not only does a watch consumer have to contend with finding something that matches their taste, but they also need to determine which watches look best on their wrist.

Watch size is a huge issue of debate and frankly I have no idea why. Passionate enthusiasts love to remark on what they feel is the best size, and what sizes are “wrong.” That latter notion is just as judgmental as it sounds. There are no “wrong” watch sizes, but there are sizes that may be ill-suited to your size and demeanor.

STYLE & TASTE

One element of watch size is about style and taste. If you are going for a more youthful or sporty look, then a larger size will often look more appropriate. Alternatively, if you are going for a dressier or more conservative look, then a more medium watch size will be preferable.

I am going to venture to suggest that men should not wear small watches. I’ll go into more detail about what small is below, but heed my words. Small watches are worn by women. No, not all women wear small watches, but as a man, if you wear a small watch it is going to look feminine, or perhaps like you are wearing a child’s watch. If that is the look you are going for then so be it, but it is wise to know how you are coming across to others.

OK, so we’ve established that given today’s dress standards men are seen as most proper when wearing a large or medium watch. I’ll never use the term “oversize” as it is imprecise and meaningless when it comes to items you’d actually wear. An oversize watch is literally too large to fit on your wrist. In that case, I suggest that you don’t wear it at all. If you merely wear a large watch, then you look good. Got it?

SIZE RULES

OK, now here is the rule. Watches should ideally extend on as much of your wrist as possible without going over it. Think of your wrist like a plate. You want to fill it up without letting food spill over. So a large watch is one where the face extends to the edge of your wrist but does not actually extend past the edge of your wrist. It is a matter of personal taste how large you wish to go, but be mindful not to extend past your wrist.

On the flip side you have smaller, medium-sized watches that take up less of your wrist. There isn’t a rule per se, but you want the watch to take up at least three quarters of your wrist. Less than that and you are getting into feminine territory.

Sometimes a watch that sits taller on your wrist will appear wide, and sometimes a very thin watch will appear smaller. Size as measured by diameter is not the only criteria to consider, but it is the main figure people look at. How does all this translate into averages? Well, most men look good in a watch that is sized from between 40-44mm wide. These sizes for most men are in the medium to large range. Though depending on the design of the watch, 48mm wide or more can be suitable. If you are a man with small wrist then a 36mm wide watch may work in some circumstances, but I’d be very hesitant about going under 38mm wide when it comes to a men’s watch. So play around with sizes and remember what I’ve told you.”

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