While wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand, there’s no similar tradition for watches. Both men and women wear watches on whichever wrist is most convenient, often based on which hand is dominant. Sometimes, though, function takes a backseat to style — if you want to load up with bangles on one hand and wear your watch on the other as a fashion statement, there’s plenty of precedent for that.
Because some 70 percent to 95 percent of people are right-handed, and since it can be awkward to work with the dominant hand weighed down with jewelry, it’s more common to see watches on the left wrist. Watches are made with the majority of people in mind too, so it’s easier for righties to look at a watch face on the left wrist — the numbers and other features are made to be viewed from a right-handed perspective. The controls work better and they’re easier to wind for the right-handed too.
Those who are left-handed seem to wear their watches on either hand. Some say it’s easier to fasten their watches on the right hand, and jewelry doesn’t get in the way of work that way. On the other hand, others diverge: President Barack Obama, a leftie, and Jessica Simpson, who is right-handed, have both been photographed wearing watches on their dominant wrists.
Watchmakers have taken notice of the lefties’ needs, however: MB&F created an $84,000 timepiece, the ReBel — which stands for right hand, black case — designed to be worn on the right hand and inverted so the left-handed can set it and view it more easily. Obviously, it’s as much about fashion as it is about function, since only 18 are being made.
With so many styles of watches, from big bangles to petite classics, bands of rose gold, leather or neon plastic, square faces to ovals to great big circles with multiple gadgets and functions, there’s no right — or left — answer about which wrist you can wear it on. Just let comfort, convenience and your preference be your guide.