We have just recently discussed in this article how tight a watch should fit.
But a question that we see asked even more frequently is whether you should wear your watch above or below your wrist bone. In this article, we will, therefore, look closer at just that.
Wearing your watch below or above your wrist bone
The name for the wrist bone is ”ulna”. This is the bone that sticks out from your wrists. Everyone has different ulnas, and on some people, the bone barely sticks out at all, and on others, it protrudes a lot. The reason why this question is important when discussing how to wear a watch is that it is not exactly possible to wear the watch right on top of the ulna. Or, at the very least, it is certainly not comfortable.
Therefore, the general recommendation is that you wear your watch just above the wrist bone. This ensures your watch sits flat on the wrist, but the ulna also helps keep your watch somewhat planted since it works almost like a ”stopper” for the watch. Some people wear their watch below the ulna, right where the wrist meets the hand, but the issue with this is that it limits your wrist movements. If you try to bend your wrist, the watch will be in the way. Not only does this cause friction and stress to the bracelet, but it can also cause the watch to ”dig” into your wrist and cause damage, for example, if you fall and try to use the hands to save yourself.
When wearing your watch above the wrist bone, the watch is not in the way, nor limits your wrist movements.
However, at the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference. If you enjoy wearing your watch below the wrist bone, we will not stop you. In addition, the type of watch you wear also affects how you wear it. If you have a large dive watch with crown guards, then it will likely be difficult to wear it below the wrist bone, but if you have a small dress watch, it may be possible to wear it below the wrist bone and still not limit your wrist movements.
At the same time, those who wear watches below the bone also tend to wear watches somewhat loosely, and this brings us to another topic we discussed recently, which is that if you wear your watch bracelet too loosely, it will cause excessive wear and tear to the bracelet and ultimately cause premature wear. In other words, it also has to do with how tight you wear your bracelet.
If you wear a watch loosely, it will be difficult to ensure that it sits planted above the wrist bone at all times since the watch will tend to gravitate towards the hand. This is why you may want to consider making your bracelet tighter, or at least that you are aware of what wearing it loosely can do to your bracelet. When you have found the perfect fit for the bracelet, the wrist bone will keep the watch from sliding down the wrist, thus removing the need for constantly adjusting its position, which is something that watch wearers will recognize themselves in.
Rolex has made a recommendation regarding this topic, and this is, as already discussed, that ”you should wear the watch, not in the joint of your wrist, where it will suffer massive torsional forces ( which often leave the links nearest the head of a watch slightly twisted after a number of years ), but above the ulnar styloid ( the projecting bone an inch or so above the line of articulation)”. By doing so, you remove torsional forces applied to the bracelet and also helps move any projecting crowns far enough away that they will leave a mark or cause damage to the lower back of your hand.
A history lesson
The history of this question is rather interesting because in general, the further back you go in history, the higher up on the forearm people wore their wristwatches. But over the decades, the watch has moved further and further down on the forearm down to the wrist. This was partly due to the standard of how people wore wristwatches at the time (the norm/trend), but in the military, where watches were used relatively early on, it could also have to do with keeping the watch protected under a cuff, as well as preventing it from being in the way from any actions you performed. And of course, to ensure you had full wrist movement by not wearing it where the hand meets the wrist.
Naturally, a lot has changed since then, and watches have gone from being crucial survival tools to fashion accessories, statement pieces, and simply a nice object. This said, how you wear your watch is not as crucial today as it was back in the days. You should always strive to find what is the most comfortable for you, but for most people, this will be just above the wrist bone and ensuring the bracelet is not too loose.
Choosing the size of your watch
With the question of whether you should wear your watch above or below the wrist bone, something that is also worth considering is the size of your watch. Different watch styles obviously have different sizes, for example, dress watches should be smaller than dive watches, but a general rule that applies to all is that the lugs of the watch should not protrude on each side of the wrist. If they do, they are generally considered too big for your wrist.
Still, we want to emphasize that a large part of the question has to do with preference, but this golden rule still has some substance to it. Because just like you can wear clothes how tight or loosely you want, it will affect their overall appearance whether you like it or not. Therefore, in addition to finding a perfect fit above the wrist bone, make sure you also find a watch that has the perfect size for your wrist.
Bracelet size, case size, and position of your watch. If you keep these three factors in mind, you’ll have a watch that both sits comfortably on your wrist, but also looks the best it can.
Which wrist should you wear your watch on?
Last but not least, something you should also consider is which watch you wear your watch on – either left or right wrist. You can read this complete guide for a detailed insight into the topic but what you should know is that the industry standard is to wear the watch on the left wrist, and there are plenty of good reasons for this. The most important are:
- Most people are right-handed and therefore use their dominant hand more. Wearing the watch on the left wrist, therefore, minimizes the risk of hitting the watch in something and also minimizes wear and tear to the watch
- It is the industry standard. The left wrist has always been considered the ”correct” wrist for a watch to be worn.
- It’s easier to set the time since you can access the crown more easily.
- Your right hand may be occupied, thus wearing your watch on the left wrist makes it easier to read the time.