If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, consider this the start of a fantastic journey into the world of watch wearing. While you may be wondering if you need a guide to wearing a watch (you do), if there is a “right” way to wear a watch (there isn’t), where you should wear a watch (lots of places), or what to look for when choosing a watch (we’ll get to that), the point is you’re here. You need a watch, and you want to make an informed decision, so that’s where we come in. Whether you’re after a watch for surfing, training, exploring, or looking fancy, Nixon has a wide selection of styles for any occasion. This article will answer all of those questions and cover the basics of picking the best watch size for your wrist and style.

How a Watch Should Fit

How loose or tight your watch fits on your wrist is primarily personal preference, but in general, you don’t want your watch to fit so tight that it restricts movement of your wrist or so loose that it spins around your arm like a hula hoop. Loose-fitting watches are also more prone to getting banged against their surroundings, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your timepiece.

A Nixon analog watch is worn on the wrist of a man

Most people find the sweet spot to wear their watch is right before your ulna, the little bone that protrudes from your wrist. Wearing a watch closer to your hand puts pressure on the ulna and can cause discomfort over time.

Which Wrist Should You Wear Your Watch On?

The non-dominant hand is usually considered the watch-wearing hand due to less usage of that hand, which cuts down on abrasion and keeps your watch out of the way. Because of this, most watches are designed to wear on the left wrist (sorry, lefties). The crown placement and date window visibility are the most significant design elements affected by this. However, some Nixon analog surf watches have their crown on the opposite side of the watch to keep it from digging into your wrist when duck-diving waves and pushing down on the surfboard. This reversed crown placement makes styles like the 51-30 a preferred model for left-handers, too.

Ultimately, no law prohibits you from wearing your watch on whatever hand you feel like, so do whatever is most comfortable to you. Live your life!

What Size Watch Should You Wear?

When looking at what size watch you should wear, it’s essential to consider your wrist size and shape, along with the lug width, case size and watch shape of the models you are considering. “Lug width” is the space between the posts on the watch case where the band or bracelet attaches. "Case size” is the diameter of the case of a watch (not including the crown or pushers), measured in millimeters. That measurement is the best one to reference when considering what size watch will fit your wrist best.

A watch’s shape and size will also affect how it fits on your wrist. Larger watches are usually heavier and bulkier but tend to move around less than their smaller counterparts. Some people prefer a smaller watch, however, due to the lighter weight.

Regardless of what size of watch you buy, the lugs should not hang over your wrist. Too wide of lugs give your hand the “I borrowed my dad’s suit for career day in elementary school” look, which isn’t ideal. A good rule of thumb is to start small and work your way up in watch size, but again, if you’re set on going big, go big.

How to Measure a Watch for Fit

As mentioned above, you need to know your wrist size to get the best-fitting watch. You can use a tailor’s tape measure to get the exact diameter of your wrist, as well as the width. You can then reference the case sizes on any Nixon watch product page to see how it lines up with your wrist. Nixon also offers an augmented reality “try on” experience through your phone. You can use it to see how any watch will look on your wrist before purchasing it. Click on the “View in 360” button to see it in action.

That covers the basics of how to wear a watch. Hopefully, you feel more informed and empowered to find the best fit for your wrist and your style. For more helpful information, check out our article on How to Measure Lug Width, and our Guide to Watch Bands.