Poll: What Is Your Hand-Orientation & What Wrist Do You Wear Your Watch On?

Poll: What Is Your Hand-Orientation & What Wrist Do You Wear Your Watch On?

What-wrist-do-you-wear-your-watch-on

I'm left-handed and I also prefer to wear a watch on my left wrist. That makes me somewhat unusual because the traditional "rule" when it comes to your wrist watch is that it goes on your non-dominant hand's wrist. So if I were like more people and followed the "rule," I would wear my watch on my right wrist because I am left-handed.

So why don't I conform to the more typical orientation of wearing my watch on my non-dominant wrist? I don't actually know. I am pretty sure that I started wearing a watch from an extremely early age (perhaps 3 or 4years old) and no one was there to explain to me what wrist I should wear my watch on. What I probably did (as any young child does) is observe where most adults were wearing their watches – and I followed suit.

PANERAI-Luminor-Submersible-Left-Handed-Titanio-PAM569-6

A recent e-mail from an aBlogtoWatch reader (thanks Jonno) in Australia asked me if I knew anything about the history of wrist watches for lefties. I realized that I wasn't aware of any such "lefty watch" history, and assumed that for the most part, timepieces were "wrist interchangeable" enough that you could feasibly wear the same watch on either wrist.

Lefty watches are really just righty watches with the crown on the other side. This developed as a natural reaction to the fact that people needed to wind their watches (while they wore them) on a regular basis. Thus, the orientation of a crown facing your wrist offered your opposite hand the most efficient means of winding your watch. Of course, with quartz watches – and automatics – the need for special "lefty watches" quickly diminished. Thus, if there was a historic need for left side-crowned watches so that people who primarily used their left hands and wanted to wear a timepiece on their right wrist had something to wear... that need has long since become much less urgent.

Lefty watches are nevertheless alive and popular. Why is that? The answer is partially due to the tendency for watch makers to exploit each and every design variation niche possible within the context of various design archetypes (think Panerai, for instance). The more salient answer of why lefty watches still exist is actually for more right-handed people to wear them. How is that the case?

Mentioning Panerai above was actually appropriate because if you think of the Panerai Luminor you also think of the large crescent-shaped crown locking system. This element of the core Panerai Luminor case design sticks out a healthy amount from (normally) the right side of the watch case. For many people, the combination of a larger-diameter watch and a segment which further protrudes a few millimeters means that the watch is often jabbing them in the hand. The solution to this problem is simply for right-handed people to wear a lefty watch on their left wrist - which would be the opposite wrist from where a left-handed person would normally wear a "lefty watch."

This might all seem quite obvious if you think about it, but it creates a situation where both right-handed and left-handed people can be found wearing "right-handed" or "left-handed watches." I felt that it would be a good idea to simply ask the aBlogtoWatch audience how they themselves wore watches and through sheer numbers we'd have a picture of how fellow watch wearers are wearing their own watches. Perhaps I am not that different after all...

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  • Ulysses31

    I’m a left-hander and wear my watch on the left.  Perhaps I am latently ambidextrous but I don’t have any problem adapting to a right-handed world, and that includes scissors, computer mice, cheque-books etc.  Brain plasticity rules!

  • IanE

    Ulysses31 Yes – some mornings my brain feels a bit plastic too.

  • DG Cayse

    Right-handed here.
    Wear a watch on my left wrist.
    Above the wrist knuckle point.
    Always have – just seems to be ‘natural’
    Also, only occasionally have I worn the dial on the inside.
    Another bit to toss in the mix.

  • IanE

    I wonder if any of this correlates with that other sided-ness thing – which thumb is on top when one slides one hand into the other in the clasped ‘praying’ position!? [My left thumb is on top.]

  • http://MarkCarson.com/ MarkCarson

    IanE Me too in all of the stuff you mentioned Ian.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Does anyone still wear their watch on the underside of their wrist? I seem to recall it was not uncommon in the 60s.

  • WillyChu

    It seems logical to wear a watch on the non-dominant hand. This hand is less active, so the watch is less “in the way” and prone to getting banged around.

  • JasonC74

    I’m a lefy and I’ve always worn my watch on my right wrist.  I always saw a watch as being more comfortable on the non dominant wrist.  Sure most people wear their watches on their left wrist but I really could care less what everyone else does.  I’m going to do what’s most comfortable to me.

  • Jimxxx

    Left or right underside?

  • waltnich

    Fraser Petrick Yes, we had to give up a lot of cool things from the 60’s. Starting with hair, L0L

  • Jimxxx

    … Or which hand do you pleasure yourself with? (Unless of course, both hands are needed for the task)

  • DwiPS

    Lefty watches are for left handed people so they can wind or set their watch with their left hand comfortably, and right sided crown as for the rest of us. I think that is the idea regardless which wrist you put on.

  • Leonardc12

    I’m right handed but I’ve always worn my watch on my right wrist.  It’s just always seemed natural to me.  I’ve tried to wear it on my left wrist but it just doesn’t feel “right”

    -Len

  • waltnich

    My wrist knuckle is prominent enough that I don’t have to worry about a Panerai crown guard pushing into my hand. A 38mm Rolex on the hand side of the knuckle jabs into my hand though.

  • waltnich

    Some days I just cannot make up my mind.

  • wag669

    I am right-handed and prefer to wear watches on either of my hands

  • wag669
  • harpax

    I’m left handed and started wearing watches in primary school (Timex Ironman!) and it was always on my right wrist because the watch was bothering me a lot when writing if it was on the left side. Also for years I would wear it upside down because:
    1-I wanted to be different
    2-It was easier to show the time to class mates by just extending my arm instead of twisting it
    3-I figured I would practice my brain to read time inverted and that would be a skill I would have in life that would give me the upper hand over others that could not…

  • IanE

    Jimxxx  Well, obviously, you need to keep your watch hand free, to time activities!

  • AtotheG

    wag669 Only one Rolex?  : (

  • John Wardleworth

    Im the same.. Lefty all the way. .

  • ExperimentJon

    Other: Traditional (i.e. mechanical) watch on left wrist, Apple Watch (38mm Sport) on right wrist.  (Right-handed).

  • funkright

    ExperimentJon I’ll be waiting to 2.0, had the chance to get one and turned it down. Don’t need another thing alerting me to its importance all-day-long… But, that’s all IMHO and YMMV :)

  • umpahimself

    I am right handed but wear it on my right. Also started at a young age and it just felt right. Plus I never liked the crown digging into my wrist. Always preferred to have the crown on the opposite side.

  • Horologicalwhore

    Left handed have always wore my watch on my left wrist.Tried wearing on the right one time and it felt akward

  • videoeditman

    I’m right handed and tried to wear a watch in my right hand so I could wear a Fitbit on my left hand (for better accuracy) but it didn’t work out.

  • bichondaddy

    I am right handed and have always worn my watch on my left wrist.  I started collecting watches when I was 8 years old when my grandfather gave me his 1940’s Gruen Automatic.    I also wear my late fathers late 1940’s Elgin that he was while in the Air Force during the Korean War.  
    Below is a wrist shot since other folks were posting them.  It’ll give you an idea of my wrist size….that’s a Bulova automatic that is 40 mm’s wide & 48 mm’s from lug to lug.   My wife calls the watch my “Old Grandpa Watch” since she says it looks so small on my wrist!!!

  • emoonshot

    Right handed. Growing up I always wore my timex and casio’s on my right wrist being unaware of an ‘appropriate’ standard. At the beach one year (~12yo) I left my watch in the hotel room. The watch ‘shadow’ on my wrist COOKED…BAD.
    I didn’t wear watches again until my mid-twenties at which point I consciously decided to wear them on my left wrist. The only time a watch is on my right is when I’m underwater and the left is occupied with a computer.

  • suparobg

    I am right handed and 99 percent of the time wear my watches on my left wrist

  • nosig

    Interesting of the sample polled here approximately 20% are left handed while it is generally assumed that of the general population only 10% are.

  • Twinbarrel

    That ploprof looks perfect on that bracelet. Great choice.

  • moofee

    I have not read the earlier comments and thereby may be repeating what was already said If so, I apologize for the repetition.

    Earlier wrist watches were more delicate than later designs and were more susceptible to damage or inaccuracy when handled roughly. As right-handed persons typically use their right arm more often and more vigorously, the watch was worn on the left wrist which was less active and thereby spared the watch from some of the rigors of the right arm movements.. For that reason left-handed persons were encouraged to wear their watch on their right wrist, even though the crown was positioned out of reach for on-the-wrist winding.

  • mitch57

    I am left handed and I wear all my watches on my left wrist.

  • LeVar Baker

    I’m lefty and wear mine on the left. Feels awkward on the right.

  • IanE

    wag669 So how do you clench your fists?

  • garph

    Jimxxx Me too (both) in all of the stuff you mentioned Jimxxx.

  • suparobg

    it is the OEM bracelet maybe that’s why it looks so good. feels good too.

  • waltnich

    I wouldn’t consider the Apple Watch to be a watch. 
    It is another smartphone accessory to be worn on the wrist.

  • Babookie

    I am also a lefty wearing on the left. But I have two good eighty friends who wear on the right which just looks weird to me…..

  • egznyc

    Wow – reminds me of the way Jimi Hendrix played the guitar. And he was awesome!

  • Jose Luis Hinojosa

    Right. From childhood when i got my first wrist watch (Seiko5), on my 5th birthday.

  • StephenScharf

    Really interesting poll, Ariel, becaue I have wondered the same thing. I’m also a lefty and wear my watch on my left wrist. I don’t know why, but it feels strange to have it on my right wrist. As a result, though, my watches tend to take more of a beating as they are on my dominant hand/arm . 

    Interestingly, Steve McQueen was right-handed and wore his watches on his right wrist.

  • johnro6659

    I wear my watch on my left wrist but prefer if I can find them lefty watches especially larger ones that have the crown on the opposite side that way they do not dig into my wrist!

  • Andrew Holmes

    As a lefty, I too were my wristwatch on the left. For some reason it does not feel right to wear a watch on the right side. Although I sometimes change wrists, as to let my left wrist have a ‘breathe’

  • JimGraham1

    JasonC74 Whew! Finally another lefty wearing it on the right. Represent!

  • Hacker4748

    Right-handed, watch on the left hand.

  • DanW94

    JimGraham1 JasonC74
    And another one!  Left handed but wear on the right wrist. Just feels natural on the non dominant wrist. Surprised to see so many lefties wearing it on the left wrist.

  • Jimxxx

    Not if you plan to wind the watch while you are ‘stroking’!

  • Emperius

    waltnich smart wearables.

  • Emperius

    suparobg Is that a left handed watch? Seems like the crown is on the left.

  • spiceballs

    Right-handed, watch on left wrist, facing up.  For a short time (when much younger) I was persuaded by my girlfriend (at the time) to wear on my right wrist, facing down.  Broke two glass covers before I realised the stupidity of my/her ways. Neither lasted.

  • http://google.com/+????? havill

    You forgot to have a poll for those who wear it on top of their wrist or under their wrist!

  • egznyc

    I am mainly a lefty, or at least I write and draw with my left hand. I also play racket sports with my left hand, but I throw a ball with my right hand (though not as well as I’d like). There are some other things I’m more or less ambidextrous with. Cutting to the chase, I wear my watches on the left wrist. Always have, since I was no more than six.
    I don’t know how this started. Like Ariel said, probably from observing what adults did. Or maybe I found it much easier to wind my first watch this way, while I had it on my wrist. And my first watch needed to be hand wound. Frankly, it’d be slightly more convenient if I wore it on the right wrist, but it just feels too awkward.

  • PKHorology

    Im left handed person and the watch is on my left hand Im glad Im no alone

  • smzenner

    I’m a righty wearing on my left wrist although a poorly set broken left arm as a child resulted in a poor ability to pronate my left wrist.  With any watch with a cyclops eye I struggle to read the date.  I have often considered changing but find it so incredibly awkward.

  • Frauss

    Not to forget…

  • Chronic

    nosig The information I received was that 80% of the population was right-handed.

  • Chronic

    waltnich I didn’t know that Rolex made watches with a diameter of 38mm.  Would you kindly tell us the model no. and (approximate) date of manufacture?

  • Chronic

    MarkCarson IanE Ditto.

  • Mark Gabel

    About 75% of the time left, 25% right. Just like to mix it up a little!

  • Fady337

    I am right handed and wear my watch on my left hand. Its only once or twice a month when i wear the watch on my right hand and that too due to no specific reason other than being tired of wearing it on left hand for long spells of hours.

    In my opinion The watch can be worn on both hands regardless of which side its crown is on. The crown and the crown protector of my wwatch sometimes jabs a little on my left hand. So the Panari has rightly made the crown on left side and that watch can be worn on left hand. Winding is not a big deal for the winding watches. One can remove it from the wrist and wind it. Its not necessary to wind the watch while on wrist

  • DG Cayse

    Frauss I laugh at his silliness.

  • waltnich

    Chronic waltnich WTF?
    i’m not trying to sell a Rolex. I’m referring to Rolex I’ve tried on that side of the knuckle. 
    FYI It was a was a white gold Cellini, and north of the knuckle I was wearing a 47mm Panerai PAM 249.
    If I find a scan of that wristshot I’ll post it. Quite a contrast.the two basic uncomplicated watches.

  • waltnich

    Emperius waltnich Right on the money Emp

  • markgoodson

    I’m right-handed and wear my watch on my right wrist. I guess as a small child I knew I was right-handed so when I got my first watch assumed I had to wear it on that wrist. Nobody told me otherwise and the rest as they say is history. Occasionally when I want an hourly beep or alarm I’ll wear by Casio 91W on my left wrist in addition to whatever I have on the right one.

  • JosephW

    Lefty, and wear my watch on my right wrist. It’s always felt weird and counterintuitive to look at the time otherwise.

  • OBoy

    I’m in the boring majority here (righty, watch on left), although previous to this article I never gave the reasoning much thought. When my father bought me my first watch (a black and gold colored Bulova, which I actually recently found in a box of childhood mementos in the basement), he told me to wear it on my left, so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Long established muscle memory at this point.

  • iamcalledryan

    Frauss RIP – this guy was a legend and had the accumulated character of about 10 stock-CEOs

  • iamcalledryan

    waltnich California dials are so crazy I recommend the ankle!

  • iamcalledryan

    DanW94 JimGraham1 JasonC74 I am suspicious of all three of you…

  • DanW94

    iamcalledryan DanW94 JimGraham1 JasonC74
    Good instincts….us lefties are not to be trusted……

  • djqsrv

    I am in the majority. Right handed and prefer to wear the watch on the left. But, I now where a fitness tracker 24/7 and it works better on the non dominant hand. So for me the left. Well where does that put my beloved warches? I tried on the right wrist but can’t stand them there. Especially at work where the clasp is scratching against the desk when I use the mouse. So I have compromised. When I leave the house and want to wear a watch it goes where I prefer. On the left and I switch the tracker over to the right. Not ideal for the tracker but seems the best compromise for me.

  • sigp226

    Boring me:
    I identify as ‘right-handed”. Some times I’m “heavy handed” and sometimes ‘even-handed” but NEVER “glad-handing”.

  • DanW94

    sigp226
    At least you’re not empty-handed, short-handed or caught red-handed like I always seem to be….

  • Sergio Magos

    I’m a right handed and I wear my watch on my left wrist, so I am in the majority. For my six year birthday, I received an automatic Mohamed Ali watch. From that day on my father taught me to wear the watch on my left wrist. I have a Techno Marine US Navy certified diver watch, it’s a right handed watch, with a large head. It would dig in to my hand other wise. I still have that watch, I managed to save since I was six years old, I’m 42 years old and that watch got me into collecting watches. Great topic! It brought back memories.

  • dadebond

    WHY ON THE LEFT HAND.
    I though that, since usually people is right hand, the watch historically was on the left hand because you had to charge it.
    And in this case it was easier use your right hand to do that without the need to open the braclet…
    That is also the reason of the position of the crown..
    It makes sense, no?

  • GeoffBot

    DanW94 sigp226 Sounds like a backhanded compliment

  • Newsh

    I was always told that you wear your watch on the wrist if the hand in which you do not hold the hammer…

  • waltnich

    Sergio Magos Everyone has their time. In his time he was the Greatest. Wonderful foundation for any collection. Your dad diid good.

  • DanW94

    GeoffBot DanW94 sigp226
    No, not back-handed just off-handed : )

  • iamcalledryan

    Emperius Right handed – the crown is pushed aside to make way for the bezel lock – the orange anodized bit on the right. That is the component in use during a dive so needs to be more accessible than the crown.

  • iamcalledryan

    videoeditman I don’t want to know what your right hand was doing to mislead a fitbit!

  • suparobg

    it is a right handed like @iamcalledryan said. for the purpose of diving so the crown doesn’t get in the way.

  • videoeditman

    Haha, not that. It’s iust uncomfortable I guess. Plus you’re not supposed to wear it on the dominant hand if possible.

  • smendes

    Same here, I remember once asking my righty friend why his watch was on his right wrist, so weird.

  • http://www.jonnozilber.com jonnozilber

    Thanks for putting this out there Ariel (and for the shoutout), an interesting insight into a couple of different things:
    Firstly, watches aside, it’s interesting that 21% of the 2000+ readers that responded identify as left-handed. Well above the 10-11% statistic that gets thrown around so often.

    Secondly, as a leftie wearing my watch on my right hand, I am STILL in the clear minority with more right-handed people wearing watches on their right wrist. That was definitely the last thing I was expecting.

    Finally, there’s around 21% of 2000+ readers that wear their watch on their right wrist regardless of their dominant hand. Maybe it’s not a lefty thing at all? I’d be interested to know (and I’ll take some time to read through all the comments below) what reasons have for wearing their watches on their preferred hands.
    For me, as a lefty it all comes down to comfort when writing. However, I as a professional musician playing guitar right-handed every night means that I have to switch my watch over to my left hand whenever I play (so as not to damage the guitar), so of course any photos and videos of me on stage show me with a watch on my left wrist. I’ll also switch my watch over to my left wrist whenever I need to use a mouse as well.
    It’s also nice to know I’m not the only person who is interested in this. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all? 😉

  • http://www.jonnozilber.com/ jonnozilber

    Then, of course, there’s Buzz Aldrin who just wears however many watches he wants on whichever wrists he wants because the conventional laws of the universe simply do not apply to him…

  • patmorais

    I’m right handed and wear my watch on my right hand , the clear minority it seems. But my right handed brother also wears his watch on his right hand and actually so did my maternal grandfather. My grandfather was Australian and I was always lead to believe that Australians were known to wear their watches on their dominant hand. I don’t know how true that is but it is curious that the person asking the question regarding right handed watches was from Australia, maybe there’s something to it.