Watch Size Chart: Find Your Perfect Size

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Size matters. At least with watches, it does. A small wristwatch on a man’s large wrist looks odd, as does overly large one on a slender wrist.

Watches are no longer employed merely for timekeeping purposes, but for a variety of functions in our everyday life, and probably the most important of them is for complementing an overall appearance. The watch – one of the few accessories that men can proudly wear – must look aesthetically fitted.

The watch size chart and the other vital recommendations that you’ll find from this post will guide you in choosing the right size for your wrist.

Selecting a watch from a watch size chart

Why Sizes Matter?

Proportions are everywhere, whether we like it or not. The human mind tends to accept proportional visuals and reject disproportional. Cars don’t come with 30’’ tires, as do not come mid-class houses with 20-feet doors. And if they do, they’re considered awkward, and sometimes even wrong. 

The same mindset applies to a watch where the scope of suitability is considerably narrower due to the small size of it. That’s why size matters. If it didn’t, we’d be all wearing the same-sized wristwatches and would never have to worry about the right watch dimensions. Fortunately, this is not the case.            

Choosing the right one can sometimes be a difficult task to complete because from one angle it seems to suit, but from another not so much. How do you know which size is the best then?

Case Diameter Sizes

suitable watch size on a hand

The tendency is recent times supports above average sizes. So a perfect watch has dimensions that are somewhere between the medium and large range. The most common diameters for men vary between 34-50 mm (1.34 – 2 inches), with 34 mm being small and 50mm extra-large.

Average wrist measure for men is around 7 inches (18 cm) – half of the men have slightly slender, and the other half slightly larger wrists. You’ll know your size if you gauge the wrist’s circumference just above the wrist bone. 

So, what is the right size? Recent fashion standards, as we may call them, see a hand watch a bit larger on the wrist. Visually put, the case diameter should cover approximately 70% of your wrist’s cross-section. With the lugs included, the reach should not exceed 90%.  

Have a look at the image below. This watch is a perfect example of a right-sized timepiece – it is neither overly large nor awkwardly miniature, and the case with its lugs takes up not more than 90% of the wrist’s breadth.

perfectly proportioned analog hand watch

Watch Size Chart

Based on the 70% wrist’s cross-section rule, we can form a watch size chart pointing the most suitable case diameters for every common wrist.

watch size chart indicating suitable case sizes for every wrist

IMPORTANT! The watch size chart is only an indication of the preferable size, considering the recent tendencies in fashion. If the chart suggests you wear 36-40 mm watches, but you prefer slightly smaller or bigger instead, go ahead! In the end, it’s up to everyone to decide what they prefer to wear. 

No matter what, consider the advice given and make your conclusions. 

Five watch case sizes on a hand

The size guide applies to typical men’s wrist sizes and shapes, meaning irregularities in watches and wrists have not been taken into account. Therefore, a couple of factors should be considered. One of them is the difference in wrist shapes.

The Shape of Your Wrist

While the majority of men have oval-shaped wrists, some come a bit more round. Thus, individuals with rounder wrists should consider smaller sizes. The opposite logic applies to flat wrists – go for a bit larger so that the watch case could cover the recommended 70%.  

Besides the shape of your wrist, you should also pay attention to the builds of watch lugs and the dimensions of an hour markers circle.

Watch Lugs & Hour Markers Circle

For a quick explanation of what the watch lugs are – they are the projections of the case that secure the strap or bracelet to the watch case.

Lugs come primarily flat or curved, directly affecting the suitability of a wristwatch. 

Bear in mind that if you have slender wrists, try to choose a timepiece with curved lugs as they will embrace your wrist better. Flat ones, on the other hand, suit better for medium and large wrists.        

The length of lugs also has an importance in overall suitability. While most of them are with a reasonable length, there are still some examples where the lugs are sort of stretched, in that narrowing the universal appropriateness. Slender men would prefer going for standard lugs for a more suited look, while longer ones fit the rest.

The dimensions of an hour markers circle may differ extensively from the actual case size, which is primarily due to the existence of a bezel, a compass, or a sliding rule. 

Analog watch with rotating bezel and yellow markings
Dive watch with a bezel

Let’s assume your right case size according to the watch size chart is 42-46 mm in diameter. The wristwatch you’ve picked has the suggested measures, but it also features a bezel. Now, what happens is that the same bezel takes up quite a lot of space on the outer circle of the face, in that subjectively reducing the actual size of the case.

Therefore, in the existence of an extra feature on the outer circle, pay attention to the visual case size, rather than the physical one.

Case Thickness

Case thickness is in strong correlation with the size – with the increase of the watch case diameter, the breadth expands as well. There’s nothing wrong with the case being thick, quite the contrary. A large wristwatch looks complete with a dense case.

On the other hand, the thickness can, in some cases, be unfavourable for not going well with tightly fitted clothing, such as swimsuits for divers, or business uniforms.     

Typical thicknesses vary from 7-15 mm. Slim watches are usually 7-8 mm in depth, whereas big-faced watches come in 10-15 mm sizes. You’ll find an automatic self-winding watch denser than a quartz timepiece because of the large-scale and intricate mechanism that inevitably requires more space.

Type-wise, dress wristwatches and the majority of digital tickers tend to be thinner than, for instance, sports and aviation watches.

thin but large watch case on a normal sized wrist

While for the most part, the thickness and watch case size are connected, you’ll definitely come across bigger watches being fairly thin. These kinds of timepieces go better with slender wrists, as do thicker ones with larger wrists.  

Band’s Width & Material

Last but not least, we should not forget the second most conspicuous part of a watch – the band. The unsuitable band can quite often ruin the fine-looking case, so it’s essential to have it decent and well-proportioned.

The typical band’s width is about 50% of the case diameter. Anything below or above that might give a disproportioned appearance. Narrow straps on a large watch, or straps as wide as the case itself don’t look visually well nor offer any proportional balance.

chronograph watch with proportioned leather straps
Well-proportioned leather straps

Believe it or not, even the material of the band has some effect on visual perception.

Leather and fabric straps tend to give slender impressions, while metal ones look slightly bigger on wrists. Therefore, pick metal over the other options if you have larger wrists, and go for the rest with slimmer hands. 

Again, it’s down to personal preferences in the end. Still, it is advisable to consider both of the factors, the width and material of the band, if you’re aiming for the perfectly proportioned timepiece.

Watch Size Guide

Now that we’ve combined heaps of information, ratios, and numbers, it would be spot on to summarize it into an easily readable watch size guide – a convenient recap for people that are interested in wearing a well-proportioned wristwatch.

watch size guide giving advice on a perfectly sized timepiece

Conclusion: What Is The Perfect Size?

In essence, the right wristwatch is above medium in size, well-balanced in regards to case diameter and thickness, and with straps in harmony with the case. No set rules define the perfect size, so it’s impossible to single out the one and only. With the guidance of the watch size chart, however, you can get an indication of which of the diameters could suit you the most.

Don’t forget to examine the watch lugs, band’s width, and the particularities of your wrist, as they can also affect the range of sizes you may end up with. 

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1 thought on “Watch Size Chart: Find Your Perfect Size”

  1. I ordered the Casio EF527D-1AV Chrono without looking into any size guides beforehand.
    I thought It was too big for my slender hand until I got it properly fitted (got a few links removed).
    Anyway, great advice & photos.

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