When researching for a watch purchase, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With so many things to consider, it’s hard to decide what kind of watch and what size is best for you. When buying online it can be even more complicated since you can’t actually see or feel the watch. Here is some advice for choosing the right watch, along with a PDF watch sizing guide to help you find the best fit.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions about case diameter. Over the years, the average case diameter has gone up for both men and women. While some say a certain watch is too big, others may consider it too small. Honestly – the perfect size is the one that you love best, and feel most comfortable wearing.
Generally, women’s watches have a smaller case size than traditional “men’s” watches – but many women, Kim Kardashian included, have always worn larger Rolex watches, and always pull it off. If you are looking for more of the traditional look, a women’s mini watch is at a size of 23mm to 25mm and a regular women’s watch is 26mm to 29mm. Midsize and traditional “unisex” watches are the average between the men’s and women’s watch sizes at 34mm to 36mm. As to men’s watches – the size generally follows the style, with average men’s watches at 37mm to 39mm, sport watches near 40mm to 42mm and XL watches are 45mm and up.
Today, larger watch cases are in style and many luxury watches now come in large case sizes. Just keep it in mind, if you are looking for a vintage watch, it will be harder to find one with a large case.
Traditionally, thinner watch meant better and more refined. Now, watches are becoming larger for aesthetic reasons. Many have cases much larger than necessary for their movement size. And as the case diameter increases, so does the likely case thickness. Many large watches are quite bulky and thick – so you really want to do your research on this dimension before you buy a watch. Also, you will want to know if a case is too heavy to be comfortable on your wrist – you need to determine what size you will feel comfortable wearing from day to day.
Case thickness is also important for practical purposes and sometimes overlooked. Let’s say you are looking for a watch to wear with a suit, then you will need to be sure your shirt fits over the watch and doesn’t stick out. Typically, dress watches have a much thinner case than a sports watch.
The lugs attach the case to the bracelet or strap and are not factored into case diameter. You should always keep in mind that the lugs will stick out farther than the case diameter. When you are measuring your wrist to try to determine which size diameter will look best, then leave room for the lugs. You do not want the lugs to extend over your wrist, this means your watch is far too large for your arm. An oversized watch won’t just look wrong, it will feel uncomfortable to wear.
Bracelets & Straps
Sizing a watch to fit appropriately isn’t much of a matter of concern unless you have a very large wrist. Most women’s watches are between 6.75″-7″ and most men’s watches are 7.5″-8″. If you have a leather, synthetic or any other type of non-metal bracelet, then you can typically adjust each time you wear the watch. If you have a metal bracelet, then you can have a jeweler or watch dealer remove the links for you.
If your wrist is measured larger than the size the bracelet comes in, then you should ask the watch dealer if they have bracelets in a larger size, or you can call the manufacturer and they may be able to send you extra links.
The width of your watch strap or bracelet will depend on the case diameter and the lugs. Typically, the larger the case diameter, the farther apart the lugs, and the wider the band. You have less flexibility when it comes to choosing the width of the band. However, you may be able to change the style. If you want to switch your band, then you will have to measure the distance between the lugs to find the correct size.
Still need more help? We created this printable watch sizing guide for your convenience. Simply print at 100%, cut out your preferred size options, and hold against your wrist to determine the scale that looks best on you.
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