You’re looking for a new watch, but you don’t know how to choose a watch that will look “right” on your wrist. Some watches seem clunky, others to thin, and even when you find the right watch face, how do you know if you want a small, medium or large band?
Like any fashion accessory, there are not standard “rules” about what watch size fits what wrist, and everyone has different preferences, here are our tips to make sure you’re buying the correct sized watch for you.
How to Measure Your Wrist
No matter what style of watch you fall in love with, you need to make sure it won’t be dangling from your wrist or cutting off your circulation just to reach the clasp. To ensure that you get a band that will sit nicely, and comfortably on your arm, you’ll need to measure the circumference of your wrist.
To measure your wrist, simply grab a tape measure* (the long kind that your mom used while sewing, not the retractable one for construction), wrap it around your wrist, and record the number of inches. If you don’t have a tape measure, you can use a piece of string. Wrap the string around your wrist and mark cut or mark the meeting point on your wrist. Then, lay the string out and measure it with a ruler.
Generally speaking, small or medium men’s watches fit a wrist that is 6-7 inches around, while men whose wrists are more than 7.5 inches in circumference will be looking at larger watches. Women’s watches usually start at 6 ¾ inches and go up to 8 inches in circumference, though there are options called “mini watches” for women with particularly small wrists.
Watch Size Dimensions To Consider
Now that you know your general size, it’s time to get into the specifics. Watches come in a huge variety of styles, shapes, and sizes, and you’ll need to find the style that speaks to you! When thinking about watch dimensions, here are a few things to keep in mind.
This refers to the size of the watch face itself. Watch case diameters are measured in millimeters (mm) and go from 24mm all the way up to 60mm. A good rule of thumb when choosing a watch is to make sure that the “lugs” (the part of the case that holds the band) don’t go past the edge of your wrist. If you get a case that’s too big, it can be uncomfortable, and usually overwhelms your wrist, which ends up looking tacky instead of classy.
In most cases, bands are designed to match the case they are displayed with, and depending on the watch size you order, will move up and down in proportion to the case diameter. However, if you are choosing your case and band separately, you’ll want to avoid getting a case that is too thin or thick, since that could ruin the piece's overall look. Our rule? Your band should be about half as thick as the watch case itself.
Even if two bands are the same thickness and length, the material of the band can change how big or small a band looks. In general, metal bands appear thicker and bulkier. If you are looking for a slimmer look, go for a leather band instead! This is also helpful if you like the look of a large watch face, but don’t want to overwhelm your wrist. Conversely, to make a smaller watch face stand out, pair it with a metal band that can add some bulk.
Choosing the Right Watch for You
While these tips can help you start on your search for the perfect watch, one of the best things you can do is stop into your local Pittsburgh jewelry store, and try some individual watches. Our jewelry experts can guide you from start to finish, and make sure you are not just satisfied but ecstatic about your watch purchase!