Male Wrist Watch Etiquette Explained

As a man I often find myself wondering, what is the optimum number of wrist watches I should own? Should I just have one for all occasions? What features should it have? Do I wear it everyday?

There is a lot of etiquette to be observed in watch wearing that many young men seem to comletely overlook. For starters, a man’s wrist watch should always be worn on the left wrist, no ifs, not buts. Simply saying ‘I’ll wear it how I like’ will not suffice as an excuse. This is not a matter that can be excused, wear your watch on your left wrist or don’t wear one at all.

Secondly the style of watch differs from occasion to occasion. The casual, everyday watch is the most important watch in your collection. You will be wearing this watch more than any other, and therefore you should spend more time choosing this watch.

The casual watch will need some specific features. A leather strap is of the utmost importance, not only will it go with almost any outfit, but it is a durable material. Don’t be tempted to buy faux leather straps, as they will not save you money and will perish far quicker than real cow skin.

Your casual watch should also have an analogue mechanism, which in turn means a round face. Under no circumstances should an analogue watch have a square face. Square faced watches are for digital and digital only.

A vital piece of etiquette to be observed with a leather strapped watch is, no matter how ‘water resistant’ your watch may say it is, never ever, wear it to do the washing up. I just timed it, and it takes six seconds to take a standard watch off, and as soon as you get that leather strap wet, it will smell of something terrible.

There are two other watches you must have in your collection, a watch for work and a show-off watch. The work watch is a simple purchase; inexpensive, digital and with a rubber strap. Cheap digital watches are impossible to break, so when you’re out working a manly and physical job, you can do so in the knowledge that your watch will always work. A bonus is that the rubber strap won’t absorb sweat and won’t begin to smell.

The show-off watch is exactly what it says, a show-off timepiece, for use at black tie, and other formal functions. The show-off watch should have a metal strap, again reducing the risk of a smelly wrist, and must always have an analogue mechanism. Although this watch is meant to grab the attention of passers-by, it should never be encrusted with jewels, be too large or too garish.

Finally the last piece of etiquette, vital to wearing a wrist watch in the correct manner is making sure you remember to wear it everyday. Not only will this allow you to know the time at every moment, but it will stop a number of blunders happening in your day to day life. Here are two examples:

1.You’re on the train, it is rush hour, a hurried looking passer by asks you the time.  Normally you would look at your watch and quickly and effectively pass on this information, but today you have forgotten to put it on. Not only have you let a member of the public down, you have let yourself down, and now you look like a complete prick.

2. You are engaged in an awkwardly long conversation, you want to cut it short but can’t think of an excuse. Usually you would look at your watch and say “Oh! Look at the time, I must dash.”, but no your haven’t put it on today and now your stuck. If you look at your wrist now you are certain to upset your conversational partner. This could be a friend or family member, both of which you do not want to upset.

So, remember to wear your watch. Make sure it is the right watch for the right occasion. Make sure your wrist doesn’t smell, and always wear your watch on your left wrist.

Words by Robb Hiscock

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3 thoughts on “Male Wrist Watch Etiquette Explained

  1. Strange kind of wristwatch-wearing man, who by day wears a rubber Casio while laying bricks at a construction site in a manly and physical way, and by evening dresses up in his black tie, tails and show-off watch before wending his way to an elegant function at Pratt’s in St James’s.

    • Hi Abbo,

      It was lovely of you to get in touch. In this new age in which we live in we feel it is wrong to simply judge a man by his day job.

      Lots of love,
      Yack Magazine

  2. So, if a man is left handed and doesn’t want to wear a watch on his dominant hand then he has no right to wear a watch? Your rules are inconsiderate and outdated and I hope I never meet someone as snobbish as you in my lifetime.

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