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How To Wear A Watch – Definitive Tips Guide 2024

Looking for an updated 2024 guide on How To Wear A Watch the proper way so you can avoid possible mishaps?

then keep reading.

Watches come in different shapes, sizes, and styles, and guess what?

They can either be worn as a functional accessory for telling time or a stylish piece of jewelry for women and men with pristine taste and style.

Even though you’re allowed to wear a timepiece in just about any setting or occasion, there are some salient etiquettes to choosing the perfect wristwatch.

In today’s guide, we will focus on how to wear a watch properly, how you can match a watch to your outfit as well as how to choose the perfect watch for a variety of settings and occasions.

So if you’re interested in learning a thing or two about watch-wearing etiquettes, you’re more than welcome to read today’s guide.

Watch wearing etiquettes: What you should know

When it comes to watch wearing etiquettes, many watch lovers get it wrong.

Sure, you may be wearing an iconic watch that gets you all the attention you have always wanted, but are you wearing it correctly?

Read on for some tips on wearing your wristwatch correctly.

Avoid wearing watches with faces that are too big

We get it, you like to be noticed, so it sometimes makes sense to go for watches with big faces.

While most men’s watches have an average size of 34mm to 50mm, there are some timepieces that are a lot bigger than this.

As a rule of thumb, always go for watches that measure between 34mm to 40mm as they make for a comfortable wearing experience.

Anything larger than 50mm is a no-no and may end up weighing down your wrists.

Choosing the wrist you’d like to wear your timepiece

There have been many misconceptions about the right wrist to wear a watch.

While some people believe that women should wear their timepiece on the left wrist while men should do the exact opposite, these are just social rules and not general rules for wearing watches.

At the end of the day, you want to wear your watch on the wrist to feel more comfortable.

As a rule of thumb, always wear your watch on the non-dominant hand, which is typically a wrist that won’t get in the way of your movements.

Wear your timepiece beside your ulna (wrist bone)

When wearing your wristwatch, you want to ensure that the face of the watch sits just next to your wrist bone.

Wearing it this way will ensure that your watch feels comfortable.

Also, when standing, you want to make sure your watch isn’t visible beneath your cuffs.

If you plan to wear a long-sleeved styled shirt, it is sacrosanct that your timepiece is only visible when your arm is bent.

Similarly, you should avoid wearing your timepiece on top of your shirt cuff.

What hand should watch wearers wear their watch?

This is one of the oldest arguments in the watch world, and today, we would love to set the record straight.

If someone were to ever tell you that you’re not wearing your watch correctly, you can either challenge them to a dwell (not literally) or go the gentlemanly way by educating them about the watch-wearing etiquette which states that people should wear their timepieces on the non-dominant wrist.

What we mean here is that if you’re right-handed, then you should wear your timepiece on your left wrist.

On the flip side, if you’re left-handed, then your watch should go on your right wrist.

And while this has become the norm in the watch world, keep in mind that these are just traditional rules.

At the end of the day, nobody should box you on how you should wear your watch.

If throwing it on your right wrist feels comfortable, then do just that, and if it feels a lot more comfortable on your left wrist, wear it that way.

Choosing the right timepiece for the occasion

Have you ever come across a grown man wearing a G-Shock and pairing it with a dinner suit, just for a wedding?

On a scale of 1-10, that would be the Hollywood icon Adam Sandler.

For people interested in learning how to pick the perfect wristwatch for the right occasion, you’re welcome to read further.

Diving, sport and adventure watches

These days, the lines are a bit murky, especially with many famous watchmakers incorporating sports, adventure, and diving into their signature timepieces for more formal use.

While serious sports watches are great for people with active lifestyles, you’ll also fancy big boys like Bremont’s Endurance GMT, the bulkier Breitling Superoceans and of course, Omega watches fitting for a date out with the boys.

On the flip side, however, these watches don’t go very well with a suit, and that’s because they can easily snug under your sleeves while displaying their bright colors, which may not go very well with the color of your suit.

Dedicated outdoor watches like the ones we have mentioned above are best paired with casual wear.

If you are all about keeping it cool and active, then you’ll find these timepieces worth wearing on a casual date.

Making the most of dress watches

With dress watches growing in popularity by the day, we want to show you how to get the most out of dress watches, especially if you’re someone who is style-conscious.

While some watches out there bear names essentially coined out of their sporting heritage, some of these timepieces still fall under the dress watch collection.

Just so you know, dress watches have a very subtle and unique look that sets them apart from other watches out there.

In terms of their design, most dress watches spot a cleaner dial and straightforward functions like minutes, hands, hours, and date.

Also, rather than a comprehensive versatility, these watches hark back to tradition.

Away from their designs, dress watches tend to be slimmer in size.

Plus, they feature traditionally shaped cases along with leather straps or classy steel bracelets.

Dress watches are perfect for formal affairs and are better paired with wedding suits, business suits, or fancy tuxedos.

Motorsport and Aviation watches

This is another grey area where most watch enthusiasts don’t seem to agree.

And the reason is that most driving and aviation-style watches today are being used as dress watches.

But as a rule of thumb, we would highly recommend that every watch lover sticks to traditional dress watches if they plan on wearing suits or tuxedos.

vintage Seiko Flightmaster Chronograph
Vintage Seiko Flightmaster Chronograph

Pairing aviation-style watches or driving watches with suits or tuxedos are reserved for people looking to add more conversation, pop, or character to their overall style.

Aviation and driving style watches are perfect for such an occasion because these watches combine fantastic design elements and distinct functionality.

If you’re looking for the best way to describe these timepieces, then you’ll have to categorize them between a sports watch and a dress watch.

To get the most out of driving and aviation-style watches, you’ll not be disappointed to pair them with these categories of clothes: a blazer and jeans, button-up linen shirts and fitted shorts, a denim shirt with chinos pants, or leather jackets with jeans.

What you want to achieve here is to ensure your preferred driving or aviation-style watch is in sync with your day’s activity.

Accessorizing your watch: What you should know

Accessorizing your wristwatch will add some charm to your personality.

Unfortunately, not many people can get this quite right.

To this end, they are forced to stick to the same boring style every other day.

Good for you; we have you covered as we will show you some tips to go from frumpy to fabulous.

Besides exploring and playing around with the myriad of watch straps on the market, there is literally no other way to tweak the look of an excellent luxury watch.

Though disappointing in some quarters, it is a good thing if you don’t want to crack your head to come up with a style that is unique to your personality.

Seagull 1963 Watch review

To get the ball rolling, you can simply switch a black leather strap with a nice brown leather strap for a smart and casual look.

The same also applies to switching to a NATO strap, especially if you plan for a casual weekend with family and friends.

Because each strap material has its unique design and purpose, it’s important you know the occasion.

This way, you can style your watch accordingly.

To break things down for easier comprehension, feel free to explore these watch styling options:

  • Use steel bracelets and black leather straps informal environments.
  • While brown leather straps can also work perfectly for formal situations, they also come alive in smart casual territories.
  • Use rubber straps if you plan on engaging in active duties like diving, adventures, sports, or sailing.

How to wear a watch with a dress shirt

If you’re going for a casual meeting, then it only makes sense to opt for a more formal look.

Whether you’re going for a wedding, a job interview, or a night out with friends, there is a recommended way to pair your watch with a formal dress.

And we will get to that shortly.

  • No.1 rule: If you’re planning on wearing a long-sleeved shirt, then keep in mind that the shirt should cover at least 85-percent of your timepiece when you straighten your arm. This means your watch should only be obvious when your arm is bent. Also, you want to ensure that the sleeve length doesn’t go halfway down your forehand.
  • No.2 rule: Keep in mind that your watch should always go under your sleeves and not over it. Except, of course you want to look like you just rubbed someone, it’s always best to wear your watch under the sleeves.
  • No.3 rule: When choosing a watch to wear with a dress shirt, it’s important you opt for a watch with moderate thickness. This will ensure the watch sits under the cuff comfortably. And like we mentioned earlier, a chunky divers watch is a no-no if you opt for a dress shirt-suit.
  • No.4 rule: When choosing a watch for your dress shirt, you want to go for one with a strap that fits your wrist perfectly. Since you’re no longer in school, wearing a timepiece around your forearm wouldn’t come off as cool.

Wearing a watch with a suit: Getting it right always

A lot of folks get it wrong when wearing their watches with suits.

Just like picking the perfect watch that fits your personality, there is an art that comes with wearing your watch with a suit, and today we want to give you a few helpful tips.

To get this right and spot-on, you must ensure that your preferred shirt and jacket are tailored correctly.

While you should wear your watch like you normally would, when pairing it with a suit, you should ensure that the shirt cuffs cover your watch when standing.

This means your watch should only be visible when you extend your arm.

Also, it would make sense to opt for a dress watch.

Any low-profile watch with a leather strap should work just fine.

Opting for this kind of watch will ensure that your cuffs go up and down your arm effortlessly.

Again, you want to ensure that you don’t tuck the cuff under your timepiece.

Pairing your watch with short sleeve and long sleeve shirts

Having covered wearing watches on suits and dress shirts, it’s time to look at another unique watch wearing style, and this time we are exploring wearing watches on short sleeve and long sleeve shirts.

Besides suits and dress shirts, watches also work great with casual short-sleeve button-up shirts as well as long-sleeve button-up shirts.

To look sharp always, you can pair your watch with a long-sleeve button-up shirt with sleeves casually rolled up.

Doing this will allow you to show off your timepiece.

To make a statement, it would be fantastic if you got a sporty, driving, or aviation-style watch.

If you like casual t-shirts, you shouldn’t opt for a dress watch as going for this option will have you looking out of place.

To look your best and command the attention that you deserve, it’s always safe to wear sports watches, aviation, or driving style watches, whether you decide to go for a long or short sleeve shirt.

How tight should a watch be?

One of the common questions we get asked by new watch wearers is: how tight should a watch be?

And to go straight to the point, you should fit your watch in such a way that it doesn’t slide a little more than an inch, whether up or down when you move your arm.

This is pretty important when wearing oversized or bracelet-style watches that look super large if they don’t fit the wrist correctly.

For watch wearers who often wear long sleeves, you want to ensure that your watch fits slightly snuggly.

It doesn’t speak too well if your suit jacket or cuff gets caught underneath your watch.

To wear it correctly, you want your sleeve-fall to cover at least 85 percent of your watch when you stand with your arms just at your side.

That said, if your timepiece leaves painful imprints and dark red marks, it is a sign that your watch is too tight.

On the flip side, when your watch is too loose, then there is every likelihood that the watch will slide off your wrist, and we doubt you’ll like that very much.

More so, if your watch were to slide off your hand, then you’ll have to deal with scratches and falls that could end up ruining your watch’s crystal.

How to wear a watch for ladies

Men’s watches have dominated the industry for many years.

From simple designs to more subtle designs with unique colors, men’s watches have taken center stage for many years.

Thankfully, women’s watches are increasingly becoming popular, with many women today interested in learning how to wear their timepieces.

For women who prefer watches with a traditional look, you wouldn’t go wrong opting for analog timepieces with leather straps and metal link bands.

And if you’re worried about the design, we are happy to inform you that there are a variety of timepieces on the market today with traditional colors like gold, silver, and rose gold you can play around with.

Not just that, most women’s watches are built from mixed materials with different metal tones.

This way, you can opt for a timepiece that compliments your jewelry accessories and dresses.

For stylish women with a high fashion taste, you can pair your watch with a few bangle bands.

This will give you plenty of options when it comes to styling and standing out from the crowd.

When going for band watches, don’t dwell too much on the quality as most of them are made from durable and premium materials.

Also, don’t forget to style according to your outfit or the size of your wrist, as band watches offer a snug or loose-fitting.

How to wear a watch with bracelets

Wearing a watch with bracelets can be pretty tricky, especially if it’s your first time.

But not to worry, we are here to make the whole process easy so you can wear your wristwatch with a bracelet with confidence every time you step out.

When going for a wristwatch with a bracelet, you want to opt for one that fits your wrist perfectly.

Anything too loose or too tight is a no-no.

So make sure you either know the measurement of your wrist circumference or test the watch to see how it fits before buying.

Also, it’s important you go for a watch with a bracelet and a firm clasp.

If you go for a bracelet with a shoddy clasp, you may find it difficult to keep the wristwatch on your wrist.

And when it sits, you may have a hard time getting it off, and we doubt you’d like that very much.

Frequently asked questions

How do I perfectly match my timepiece with my outfit?

Matching your watch with your outfit can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re new to the whole thing.

But guess what, this isn’t so difficult to do.

To be on your “A-game,” it’s essential you opt for a watch that is perfect for the occasion.

So if you plan to attend a casual or smart casual event, you won’t go wrong wearing an outdoor or aviation-style watch.

For more formal affairs, we recommend wearing traditional dress watches.

Should a dress watch be fitted with a leather strap?

A dress watch usually has a modest and thin appearance.

It also mostly features a mechanical movement.

Unlike sports watches or aviation-style timepieces, a dress watch may or may not come with a date window.

Similarly, while the case is most likely titanium or steel, most dress watches come with leather straps.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other designs on the market.

Which should I buy, a metal watchband or leather strap?

While both watch bands are great, if you like to dress a little bit more formally, then you’ll look fabulous wearing watches with leather straps.

We like leather straps because they are more comfortable and perfect for long time use.


Wearing a watch may sound like simply just sliding the timepiece onto your wrist, but guess what?

If you want to stand out and become the talk of the occasion, you must learn a thing or two about watch-wearing etiquettes, and in today’s post, we have covered that extensively.

From the choice of watch to design to the perfect timepiece for every occasion, you’re sure to take your watch-wearing game to the next level after reading today’s guide.