Watch Buying Guide: What Watch Size Should You Buy?

There are a variety of factors you need to consider when purchasing a watch. A few examples include price, movement type and materials. One of the most important of them is the watch size.

If you have small wrists or an understated style, you’ll likely be uncomfortable in a massive piece. On the other side, a small and delicate dress watch might not suit someone with large wrists or a flashy style. Below, we go into detail on the elements of size and a few ways to choose which is right for you.

Important Watch Size Elements

The following are the four aspects of size that you should pay attention to.

  • Case Diameter – The first element is perhaps the most important. It is case diameter, which is how wide the body of the watch is. The smallest pieces start at around 24mm, and they are almost exclusively for women. At that size, they are more like jewelry than timepieces. The largest watches are around 64mm, and most agree that they are just too big. On average, women pieces ranges from about 26mm-32mm and men are 36mm-48mm, but there are always exceptions. For each range, sizes below often end up being a bit too petite and sizes above can be gaudy.
  • Case Thickness – The second element is one people often don’t think about. It is the vertical thickness of the case. The reason is that it has nearly no aesthetic or functional consequences. The general trend is that higher diameter watches tend to have thicker cases. 6mm-10mm is the typical range, but you may not notice the difference between them. Still, you could prefer a specific size based on comfort or looks.

Rolex Yacht Master

  • Band Width – Next is the width of the band, which should match the case diameter. In general, shoot for one that is roughly half the size of the case. Doing so will give you a clean, proportional look. One additional thing to note is that bands are almost always interchangeable, and they are quite cheap. If you love a watch but dislike the strap, getting a new one and installing it should not be difficult.
  • Design – One thing you often hear in the timepiece world is that a watch will be a certain size, but “wear” at a different one. The truth behind this confusing wording is that design changes the aesthetic of watches. The result is that two pieces of the same size can look somewhat different based on how the manufacturer built them.

Now that you understand what sizing means and the general trends behind it, you can move on to choosing the right one.

Watch Size and Wrist Size 

The first factor to take into account when choosing a watch size is your wrist size. As we explained above, you likely won’t want a massive watch if you have small wrists. The same is true of the opposite. What you can seek to do instead is find a timepiece that is proportional to your natural wrist size. Those with the thickest wrists can opt for the largest pieces, those that are slighter will choose smaller ones, and everyone else can fall somewhere in the middle.

Tag Heuer Formula 1

Personal Style

The next thing you should consider is your personal sense of fashion. Do you like understated looks? Or do you prefer something a bit more eye-catching and flashy? Even if you’re not a fashion buff, you will have a preference, and it will inform your watch buying decision. The trend associated with these questions is that understated style translates to smaller pieces. The same is true of the opposite. Your watch size can play a bigger role in your overall look.

Where You Plan to Wear It

The final factor to consider is where you plan to wear your watch. On one end of the spectrum, you have elegant, formal events. Here, a large and flashy watch might look out of place, while a smaller dress piece would not. On the other end, you might have a casual night out to your favorite club, where you want to attract some attention with a massive watch. Another example is athletic activities. If you’re taking your timepiece camping, you likely don’t want it to be so big that is weighs you down.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut

One additional point to consider is that you don’t need to marry one watch size and use it for everything. Instead, you can own multiple pieces with various sizes, then use them as you see fit. You might have a smaller one for elegant occasions, then a larger one when you want to let loose and show off.

Watch Size Conclusion

One thing is clear: You’re going to want to take your watch size into account when you purchase your next watch. The first step in doing so is understanding the four elements of it, which are case diameter, case thickness, band width, and design. Next, think about who you are and what you’re going to use your watch for. Going through this process should help you settle on the perfect size and guarantee your satisfaction.

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