I was about to write a piece about affordable Oris watches for under $2000 and add a couple of links to some deals when it struck me. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and research to pick the perfect watch for yourself, and that’s not taking into account the importance of choosing the most appropriate size watch for your wrist.
All too often we fall in love with a watch without giving a moments thought or consideration for its suitability on our very own wrist. I mean what size suits us, are there any rules to watch sizes or is it simply a fashion issue?
It’s certainly true that watch size can and has been determined by fashion, although I’m happy to say the fashion of super oversized watches seems to have come and gone.
While the choice is all yours, it’s best to understand that just like clothes, one size does not fit all, and not every style suits everyone. So, better you have an idea what best suits you for the size of your wrist, right? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there are no set rules to tell you if you’re getting it right or not.
Like many things in life, there’s no guide book so you’re gonna have to use your good taste and emotional intelligence, but if you don’t want to rely on these, there are some tips that may help you find a balanced piece.
While it may sound asinine to say it, but the first thing to get right is the fit. The watch should feel comfortable on your wrist not too tight that it digs into your wrist, not too loose to slide around. Next, you need to consider case size, band width, and design. Following some simple tips based on these areas, buying the correct piece is a much easier job.
What is My Wrist Size?
Knowing your wrist size will inform which timepiece is most suitable depending whether you’re thin, slender, medium or thick wristed so let’s take a measurement. With a measuring tape or strip of paper wrap it around your wrist where you normally wear your watch, usually just below or over the wrist bone.
Using a strip of paper make a pen mark where the end meets itself and open it out along the length of a ruler to take a measurement. If you’re using a tape measure you will already have a number. The general rule of thumb when it comes to these measurements looks like this
14-16cm: Thin Wrist
16-17cm: Slender Wrist
17-18cm: Medium Wrist
18cm + : Thick Wrist
Knowing your size not only helps you select your perfect timepiece that looks great and feels comfortable, it’s also invaluable when shopping online when you have no way of trying it on before buying.
It’s also a pretty good pointer to which style of watch or design is going to suit you best. If you have a thin wrist, for example, you may want to choose a more sophisticated dress watch. Someone with a thick wrist may be better suited to a more ostentatious sports design, like an Aviation or Diver watch.
Suitability is more than watch size, it goes past the case diameter to include the case thickness, width of the strap or bracelet and the material it’s made from, such as Stainless Steel, Gold, Titanium with sections or mesh construction, to Leather, Rubber, Canvas, or composite materials. Let’s look at these areas briefly to see what we need to consider.
Case Diameter: Again there are no set rules but the guides lines suggest men’s watch sized are generally 38mm to 46mm in diameter, case smaller than 38mm appearing too small, and larger than 46mm appearing over sized. Taking your wrist size into account you can select case size based on this simple guide line.
Wrist size 14cm – 18cm: Select a Small to Medium case diameter of 38mm, 40mm or 42mm.
Wrist size 18cm and over: Select a larger case diameter of 44mm to 46mm
Case Thickness: Proportional to the case diameter is the case thickness that will increase with the diameter, a 38mm to 42mm diameter case being somewhere around 7mm thick, whereas a 44mm and above will have 9mm and sometimes more.
Band or Bracelet Width: Like anything else that is designed there are certain rules that when followed seem to work really well, and watch straps are no different. You will often find that the watches that appear to be in proportion will have a certain ratio that gives a sense of proportion. That is a watch strap should be 50% of the total width of the case, so a 42mm case generally looks great with a 21mm wide strap.
Band or Bracelet Material: Again this is personal taste but with a little help with guidelines you can get the strap material spot on also. Just remember metal bracelet can look heavier and thicker than leather or canvas so they will generally look better on larger diameter cases.
Making your Choice
Now you’re armed with the essentials you can start tracking down the best watch for you based on your wrist size, but just keep in mind these simple guidelines for different wrist sizes.
Large cases worn on thin wrists can look a little over powering and cumbersome, but not only that, they can be uncomfortable if they are too large to seat themselves on the wrist and have issues fitting under shirt cuffs. For the thin wrist, a 38mm case is a good option if balance and sophistication are features on your list.
Slender wrist call for sophisticated with the appearance of being dainty which is best achieved by selecting a thin case of around 8mm with a medium sized case like 40mm. This should sit comfortably on the slender wrist. For the strap, leather or light metal mesh or Milanese bracelet will give a simple appearance.
The medium wrist is the most versatile to take advantage of a large range of sizes and designs although best to avoid very small or very large. A 42mm case would be a good choice with a wide choice of bracelets and face styles to take advantage of. The Gent with a medium wrist only has one problem and that’s having too much choice.
If you have a thick wrist you can ‘large it up’ with a timepiece with a 44-46mm case or perhaps slightly larger, but be careful, balance size with style is the way forward.
With the larger wrist, a large watch style could be a good option from Sports watches, diver, aviation, motor sport, and fashion designs are all open to you. Just remember with a case of this size a minimal dial can look bear, so feel free to look at timepiece with some complications.
The Take Away
We live in a democracy and these are not commands or rules you must follow, just guidelines offered by myself that reflect the opinions of many other watch enthusiasts. While we can offer our views it’s only you that can make the decision about the best case size and features for you. It’s also important to note, many people have different watches for different occasions and pastimes, so it may be you want a large case even though you have a thin wrist or a small case on a large wrist. It’s horses for courses, but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
This is just my opinion and you can choose to agree with it or ignore it because the perfect watch is the one YOU feel good wearing. I hope you liked what I have to say, but if you have something to add please feel free to leave a comment.
So, if you’re looking for the perfect Watch at the perfect price, from a trusted source, you know it can be a stressful experience, with the right help and advice, you too can find your dream timepiece. As I’m considered an expert in my field and I write for other publications like Wrist Review I know you’ll benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls.
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