Everyone who loves to pair their outfits with watches needs to know the basics of how to measure watch size.
You don’t want to be that person with an ill-fitting watch. Even if you had one of the finest timepieces on your wrist, poor sizing can ruin the overall feel and look.
Having bought and used a handful of watches too, this watch sizing guide is more tailored to what you need to know when making even a blind choice. You don’t have to know the exact dimensions of every watch you are picking.
Following the guide below, you can always have the best fitting watches every time.
In This Article...
How Do I Know My Watch Size?
There are a series of factors contributing to the size of a watch. It would interest you to know that some wristwatches might also wear like they were not their advertised size, even though they are. We discuss more on that in later sections.
That is why we have shaken down all that keys into the watch size to these five points.
The Watch Diameter
This is a no-brainer.
The watch diameter gives you a feel of how broad the watch face is, which you can then judge against your wrist size.
Take a small tape and measure around your wrist. The result of that measurement indicates the watch face size that is ideal for you.
Fortunately, most watchmakers understand that there are users with varying needs. Thus, they make the same watches with multiple case diameters for you to choose. Do not expect this from all manufacturers, though.
Likewise, there are almost established standards to watch face diameters. We have reviewed many watches to know that we come across specific measurements more often than others. These are:
Please note that these are not the only watch measurements. Manufacturers like to play with dimensions so you can get something smaller or higher than the above.
When measuring your wrist, choose which one of these diameters is closest to your wrist measurement.
Special Note: Some watch users love to use watches bigger than their wrists. Take that into consideration when picking a wristwatch too.
The Watch Thickness
Do you like your watch bulky or slim? This is where the watch thickness comes into play.
There is often a direct relationship between the watch diameter and thickness. That is not to be taken as a hard and fast rule, though. We have seen bulky watches with small face diameters and vice versa.
The watch thickness refers to the distance between the watch top (the watch glass) and the watch base (the engine cover).
Old watches used to be very bulky due to the mechanisms packed into them. Modern watch engineering processes have taken that out of the mix. Still, manufacturers can sometimes choose to make their watches look very thick since that appeals to some customers.
Again, it is very likely that the watch's thickness will most likely be worked to fit into the diameter. As long as you get the first step right, you should not worry about the thickness.
The Watch Band (Material and Sizing)
When we discussed how best to choose a man’s watch and picking timepieces for women, we mentioned the importance of bands. What we did not touch upon was how the bands could also contribute to the watch size.
Unlike the other steps on this list that are straightforward, things are tricky when choosing the watch bands.
For example, women are comfortable with medium brands on everyday watches, but dress/ luxury watches should have a tinier band.
The watch band size is usually dependent on the watch diameter too. Manufacturers keep things in proportion for obvious aesthetic purposes, so you won’t have anything to worry about there.
Before we move on from here, the band material should also be considered. Leather bands will give the watch a smaller look than a bracelet/ metal band on a wristwatch of the same size. It is, thus, a no-brainer that users with big wrists go for metal-band watches.
Special Note: for bracelet watches, be sure to pick one with adjustable links. Even if the diameter and band size is right, the bracelet might still be too long for your entire wrist. With removable links, you can adjust the bracelet to taste.
Other Important Considerations
We mentioned up there that some watches would wear bigger or smaller than they usually are.
If you are used to 40mm watches, for example, you would have had a mental feel of how similar-sized wristwatches should feel on your wrist. Thus, you might get another 40mm watch that feels like a 38mm or 42mm timepiece on your hands.
That is not because the manufacturer was terrible at their measurements. Some visual cues might just be putting you off your expected balance. This is most likely a factor of:
Funny enough, watches with bezels often have smaller hour markers too. This makes them look even smaller than they are supposed to be.
That could be a massive advantage for people with smaller wrists looking to use a big watch that doesn’t feel out of place. Check if the watch comes with a bezel, and you'll almost always manage to pull off using a bigger size.
Women generally have smaller wrists than men. Thus, the recommendation is that they go for smaller watches. The only exception here is those who have a thing for the more oversized watch straps or women with larger wrists.
This size guide should work for most women:
For men, things are just as interesting.
Men are synonymous with the bigger wrists. However, you would be surprised to find smaller watches that look good on big wrists too. Likewise, there are men with relatively small wrists also.
This watch size guide for men should get the job done:
Now that you know all the tips and tricks on how to measure your watch size, it’s time to explore all the different kinds of watches for your needs. Whether for a specific outdoor activity, something that fits in with your work, or other purposes, we've got you covered.