Since the stone age, humans have been using their right hands to grip objects. Although it is not exactly known why most people are predisposed to right-handedness, the majority of us are inclined to use this side and we reap the benefits of living in a world that is built to cater to right-handed people.

You might assume that since humans are right-handed, our preference for the right side of our bodies would filter through to how we wear watches. However, the majority of men wear watches on their left hand. 

So, why do men wear their watches on their left-hand side? There are several reasons for this tradition, ranging from practicality and history, to design and personal preference.

Historical Influence

Before wristwatches were a popular accessory for men, it was women who wore them, as men preferred to use pocket watches. However, the First World War changed this. Wristwatches were more practical on a battlefield which led to soldiers wearing them. Once the war ended, this habit never fell out of style. In fact, it influenced fashion greatly, and all men began to wear wristwatches.

Since military personnel were the epitome of masculinity and strength, they set trends. Soldiers wore wristwatches on their left hand, so other men followed suit and began to wear their timepieces on the same side as them. This historical trend has greatly influenced how men wear watches today.


Practical details were the main reason why wristwatches were worn on the left wrists of soldiers in the first place. When in battle, military men had to use their right hands to handle weaponry and weren’t able to constantly move this hand to look at the time. By having the wristwatch on their left-hand side, they could check the time whilst their other hand was full with more important things.

Today, practicality is still the main factor as to why watches are adorned on left hands. Doctors and nurses wear wristwatches on this side as their right hands are often doing important things during surgery or check-ups. 

The Design of A Watch

Since watches have always been worn on the left hand, they have been designed and updated with this fact in mind. Men continue to wear watches on our left hands today because timepieces function better on this side.

The crown of a watch is on the right-hand side of the dial. This integral part of the wristwatch juts out slightly so that we can wind up our mechanical watches. If we wore our watches on our right wrist, this integral piece of metal would interfere with daily tasks such as writing or cooking, as it could bang against hard objects. 

Just like the placement of the crown is a deciding factor, the buckle and clasp of the watch strap also dictate which wrist we wear our watches on. The buckle is designed for people to click it into place easily, using their right hand.

Reduces the Risk of Damage

Since 95% of the world is right-handed, this means that we’re more likely to sustain injuries to our right hands, fingers, and arms than our left. This is simply based on which arm and hand we use more.

If we were to wear our wristwatches on our right hands, it’s highly likely that they’d get more battered, since they’d come into contact with objects more frequently. Watches are expensive pieces of jewelry, that are often made from high-quality glass and metals. So, to incur scrapes and scratches on an object that costs so much could be devastating for some men and a pain to repair. In order to reduce the risk of a damaged watch, men wear them on their left hand as they will be less likely to get ruined.

What About Left-Handed Men?

Although there are numerous reasons why wearing a watch on the left hand is advantageous for right-handed people, it begs the question, ‘what about left-handed individuals?’ Since these people use their left hand to do everything, it seems as though they would incur the same problems by wearing a watch on their left hand, as we righties try to avoid.

Luckily, many watch companies have started to develop watches specifically for left-handed men. This means that they can wear these on their right hands and have the design features placed in a way that makes it easy for them to handle. Although left-handed people can wear normal watches on their right-hand wrists, having a design that is specifically formulated for people who use their left side for everything, makes wearing a watch a lot easier. 

What Hand Do Women’s Watches Go On? 

So, if men’s watches go on the left hand, that means that women’s watches go on the right hand, yes? Actually, no. This is a common misconception, that suggests males and females must have accessories designed in different ways to represent their different genders. 

Women’s watches are made in the same way as men’s, with regard to where they wear them on their bodies. The only differences between men’s and ladies’ watches, is that women’s wristwatches are often smaller and slimmer to suit their daintier wrists.

Personal Preference 

Some men like to be trendsetters and break the rules of fashion. For this reason, there are a handful of men who wear wristwatches on the right-hand side, simply because they prefer how it looks there. There are others who perhaps find placing a watch on the right feels more comfortable and natural, and there are even some individuals who simply like to change up their style. One day they might put the watch on their left side, the next on their right. This might sound strange since it’s clear that watches are supposed to be worn on the left hand. However, if someone is keen to experiment with their look and fancies a style shakeup, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to wear a watch on whichever hand they want to!

October 21, 2020 by Christopher Day

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