Nomos Club (36mm) with Light Brown Leather Strap on a large wrist

What is the best watch size for your wrist?

Just the other day on the metro I saw a wrist. A wrist with an exceptional watch on it. From my angle it looked like a Nomos, or maybe it was a Junghans. There was just one problem. The watch was too big on the small, fine wrist. Suddenly, the otherwise dapper young man turned into an awkward adolescent. Maybe he had borrowed his big brother’s watch to impress on the first day of his new internship, but the real effect was anything but.

Here are a few guidelines to avoid this type of image…often created without you knowing it. Very unfortunate.

DO care about proportions

It’s simple: small wrist = watch between 34mm and 40mm, large wrist = watch from 38mm and up. In a nutshell, wrists that have a circumference of 16cm – 18cm are standard normal-sized wrists. Anything less is considered small and over 18cm are large.

Obviously you may not always have a tape measure on you, but try this: the size of the watch case (including crowns and pushers) should fit perfectly inside your wrist width, with enough breathing room around the lugs.

DON’T fall into the fashion trap

Different times, different fads. Just a few decades ago, 36mm was the standard watch size for men. Today, with the popularity of large and oversized watches, it’s hard to resist the “fashion trap.” Think of the awkward wrist I saw on the metro.

A watch that’s too big for the wrist will make you look childlike…a bit extreme I admit, but it’s often the first raw impression you’ll send. Moreover, if the lugs go past the width of your wrist, not only will it look massive on your wrist, but it won’t be comfortable.

DON’T underestimate your real wrist size

Maybe your mom always complimented how fine your bone structure is, or that you should eat what you want because you’re still growing. Fair enough. My respects to your mother, but I suggest measuring your wrist anyway, “just for fun,” and follow the proportion guidelines above.

Nomos Club (36mm) with Light Brown Leather Strap on a large wrist

As you shouldn’t wear a watch too big for your wrist, it goes the same for a watch that’s too small. It will look like a toy, which is funny, but not your goal when you’re in public.

Dan Henry dive watch (44mm) on a large wrist

When in doubt, just remember one thing: Always match the watch to your wrist, not the other way around.

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