Does Size Really Matter? The Bigger The Wrist, The Bigger the Watch
6 min readJun 14, 2018


You know what they say about guys with big wrists… BIG WATCHES!


Watch selection is often a reflection of a person’s interest, personality, and style. Shopping for “the right watch” can be challenging as you browse through thousands of designs and sizes.

You will find everything from very expensive and understated, to budget-friendly and over the top.

On the far side of the scale, there are some watches that are so expensive and gaudy you have to do a double take — which might just be why someone would want this style…


The beauty of watches is that no matter what your taste, you will be able to find a watch that matches your own style.

While you will find most [men’s] watches in the 38–42mm category, there is plenty of reasons to go up or down in size.

Studies have shown that people naturally pick out anything that is out of place.

Putting on an extra-large watch with your daily business suit screams that you want everyone to see the watch you are wearing.

This could be your strategy in select instances but is generally too over the top for day-to-day wear. Not to mention, if you are wearing an XXL watch with a suit, the thickness of the watch will constantly catch on your cuff.

Determining the right size for your wrist

In general, people with larger wrists should opt for a larger watch face, somewhere in the 43mm-plus size range.

On the flip side, skinnier wrists should look for a watch in the 36–39mm (small) category.

The standard for most men is around 40–42mm (medium).

In general, if the circumference of your wrist is 6 to 7 inches, you will want a watch is the small to medium range — around 38–43mm wide.

Wrists that are larger than 7 inches can wear watches that are categorized as large — over 43mm.

Your wrist will ultimately determine which watch is the perfect fit.

People with flatter wrists can wear larger watches. Conversely, those with more round wrists should opt for a smaller watch face.

It is important to note that you should not get caught up in the numbers as guys with monster wrists can make a 44mm look too small.

That being said, it is unanimously recommended to pick a watch for your personal style.

The general guidelines for fitting a watch to your wrist is that the lugs (where the strap attaches to the watch) should not hang over your wrist.

If they are hanging over, the watch will not be comfortable for wear day-to-day.

Trying on different size watches is the best way to figure out what size watch is right for you.

Putting on the correct size watch will “feel right” and look proportional to your wrist and hand — see below for factors that can give the illusion of a smaller or bigger watch.

Factors in watch size

There are about a variety of watch categories. Each one has specific features and is designed for certain occasions or activities. Five of categories are:

  • Dress watches — These are typically thinner with roman numerals and will always have a leather strap. Dress watches come in circular, rectangular or square and should be fitted correctly to the wrist.
  • Dive Watches — Made to withstand hundreds of meters underwater, these watches are typically stainless steel and a medium thickness. The face is easy to read and the band usually metal or rubber.
  • Field Watches — The most simple of all the categories, the common field watch typically has a canvas strap and made from stainless steel. Often small to medium size range.
  • Pilot Watches — Often made larger for ease of reading while flying, pilot or aviator watches have easy read dials and luminous hands.
  • Racing Watch — Made in round or square large faces, the face is easy to read and features a chronograph. The Rolex Daytona is the most popular driving/racing watch.

Choosing the right watch for your lifestyle will provide you with more enjoyment of the watch.

Watchmakers have spent hundreds of years perfecting their different designs within the categories and you will be surprised when you choose the correct watch for your lifestyle.

Other things to consider

Believe it or now, the band of your watch will actually make your watch look heavier or slimmer.

Using a leather band, for example, will give your watch a slimmer look. Similarly, fabric bands will also give a smaller feel. On the other hand, using metal bands will always make the watch look heavier and even, in some cases, larger.

The width of the band as well will play a role in how the watch fits and looks — bands that are over 50% of the watch face size are considered to be oversized.

For example, if you wear a 38mm watch, the band should be around 19mm in width.

The lugs of the watch and the components around the face can also have a visual effect of making the watch look larger.

Adding large pusher knobs or an oversized crown can make the watch look out of proportion.

This is an important consideration when choosing the right watch size for your wrist.

Of course, if you are going with the “bigger is better” strategy, than an oversized 46mm face with as large knobs will be your style choice.

If you are looking for the “perfect fit” for your wrist, consider the band and thickness of the watch in proportion to your wrist size.

Even the numbers on the watch face can give a larger look.

Some watches take the numbers off altogether to ‘slim down’ the watch which counteracts a metal band and large watch.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, the choice is easy — which watch looks good to you?

There are thousands of people with thousands of different opinions on what the “correct” watch size should be.

None of those opinions matter so long as you are happy when you wear your watch.



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