When you think about it, a watch is a pretty underrated accessory. It's functional, easy to throw on at a moment’s notice, and can enhance your look within seconds. Feeling a little too casual in joggers and sneakers? Strap on a watch, and suddenly you’ll appear more polished and put-together.

Yet still, some watches complement certain styles better than others. For example, an understated timepiece with a leather strap might be the perfect addition to a formal outfit for a business event, while an oversized watch with a stainless-steel bracelet can be the eye-catching element your athleisure look needs.

A watch is an intentional style statement, but what if you’ve never worn one and aren’t sure where to start, or you’re not familiar with proper styling etiquette? While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, we’re sharing a few key tips on how to wear a watch so you can make sure you’re styling your next timepiece like a pro.


Understanding Watch Placement on Your Wrist

First and foremost, the proper way to wear a watch is to position it so that the dial faces you. When you raise your arm, the watch face should be oriented toward you, making it easy to read the time.

If you’re wondering where to wear a watch on your wrist, know that it should sit comfortably above your wrist bone, positioned neither too close to your hand nor too far up your arm. Ideally, it should be able to slide easily under a long-sleeved shirt cuff, becoming visible only when you extend your arm.


Do You Wear a Watch on Your Left or Right Wrist?

Traditionally, watches are worn on the non-dominant wrist. So if you’re right-handed, this means your watch would go on your left wrist, and vice versa. This makes it easier to move,and reduces the risk of accidentally damaging your watch. However, personal preference and comfort should ultimately guide your choice.


Step-by-step Guide to Wearing a Watch:

Now that you’ve learned how to wear a watch and where to position it on your wrist, let's talk fit. You want your watch to feel like it's made for your wrist, so pay attention to three things when shopping: the watch’s case size, the size of your wrist, and the watch’s attachment material.


Case & Wrist Size

For men, watches have gotten bigger over the decades, and can range from 34mm, to well over 45mm. And for women’s watches, sizes under 30mm will wear more like jewelry, while larger sizes—also commonly referred to as ‘boyfriend watches’—can make a bold statement.

When it comes to picking the right case size, aim for a size where you can see a bit of strap on both sides of the case when you look straight at it. This is where your wrist size comes into play, so keep that in mind while browsing, especially if you’re shopping online and don’t have the chance to try the watch on.


Attachment Material

As for the attachment, different materials tend to give off different styles. Metal bracelets have a more robust and contemporary style when paired with a large case size, and a more delicate style when paired with a small case size. A leather strap will give your watch a more traditional look, and fabric strap will have a more casual style.

But as we mentioned before, a lot of it comes down to personal preference and the most important thing to remember is to choose an attachment material that looks and feels best to you; just make sure it isn’t too loose or too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers snugly underneath the band, allowing for slight movement without sliding around on your wrist.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out our Watch Strap Material Guide, where we break down the different watch strap materials available from Timex and highlight the unique benefits of each.


Rules for Wearing a Watch

Lastly, consider the most important rule for wearing a watch: wear only one at a time! Wearing more than one watch at once will look odd; like someone wearing two pairs of sunglasses at once, it doesn’t make any sense.

Other important rules are to avoid excessive accessories around the watch, and to make sure the watch you’re wearing matches the style of the event you’re attending. This will help you maintain a clean look that’s appropriate for the occasion.


Fashion Tips for Wearing a Watch: Choosing the Right Overall Style

Now, let's talk style. Consider whether your personal style is more minimalist, maximalist, sporty, classic, etc. No matter how you define your personal style, trying on a few different watches is key to finding what will complement it best. A helpful tip is paying attention to a watch’s dial details—specifically the hands and markers. Bigger dial details tend to have a more overstated look, while minimalist designs appear more understated.


Styling a Watch for Different Occasions

It’s helpful to know how to fashion a watch based on the type of event you’re heading to. If applicable, consider the dress code. You‘ll also want to take into account the type of activity you’ll be doing. Here is a short and sweet guide to stick by:

  • Formal events - Opt for classic and elegant watches with minimalistic designs.
  • Casual settings - Choose versatile and relaxed watches that complement everyday outfits.
  • Sporting events - Select durable and functional watches with features like water resistance and robust materials.

For a more in-depth guide, check out our Gentlemen’s Guide to Finding the Perfect Watch for Every Occasion.


Additional Tips

By this point, you should be well-equipped to style your watch like a pro. But as one of the most well-known names in watchmaking, of course, we have a few additional tips to leave you with:

  • To really nail your look, you’ll want to match the watch with your outfit's color scheme and style. Make sure it coordinates with other accessories like your belt, shoes, or other jewelry pieces. For example, if you’ll be wearing a brown leather belt and matching brown leather shoes, make sure your watch has a brown leather strap to match. And if your outfit is more clean-cut and minimalist, choose an understated, contemporary-style watch to best complement it.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your watch to keep it in good condition. This includes wiping it clean of any dirt, oils, or grime accumulated throughout the day.
  • Store your watch properly when not in use to prevent damage. Keep it in a cool, dry place away from high humidity or water, like a jewelry box or drawer.
  • While personal preference is certainly most important, always consider the watch's weight and size relative to your unique wrist size for both comfort and aesthetics.

Key Takeaway

Of course, the look of a watch on your wrist is a personal decision and you should feel confident with whatever makes you happy. We suggest keeping a few different sizes and styles in your wardrobe for different occasions. A few great places to start searching for your next timepiece are our Men’s Watches, our Women’s Watches, and our best-selling watches.



  • TW2W82400 Waterbury Traditional Fly Back Chronograph 43mm Fabric Strap Watch Primary Image
    Waterbury Traditional Fly Back Chronograph 43mm Fabric Strap Watch
    43 mm Green/Stainless Steel
  • TW2V71900VQ Timex Standard Tachymeter Chronograph 43mm Eco-Friendly Resin Strap Watch primary image
    Timex Standard Tachymeter Chronograph 43mm Eco-Friendly Resin Strap Watch
    43 mm Black/Black/Black
  • TW2W63600 Timex x Jacquie Aiche 36mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch Primary Image
    Timex x Jacquie Aiche 36mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
    36 mm Two-Tone/Two-Tone
  • TW2W42100 Urban Pop 40mm Eco-Friendly Strap Watch Primary Image
    Urban Pop 40mm Eco-Friendly Strap Watch
    40 mm Black/Black


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