Buying Guides Watch Sizing Guide

You’re wearing your perfect fitting Brioni suit, Alessandro Gherardi shirt, Paul Smith cufflinks and Salvatore Ferragamo Italian leather shoes. You obviously know a thing or two about style. Do you apply the same attention to detail and fashion sense to the watch you wear?

Know How to Find Your Right Watch Size

With the changing times of how people purchase luxury watches, especially now that people are buying more and more online, it’s even more important that you know your wrist size so you can navigate the watch buying process knowledgeably and efficiently.


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There are some obvious guidelines to keep in mind. Smaller wrists should be wearing smaller watches and larger wrists should be wearing larger watches. But there are some additional elements to think about to ensure the right proportional fit.

Case Size Matters

Watch case diameter is the most significant and noticeable element when it comes to selecting the right watch. Men’s watches usually range between 38mm to 46mm; although if you’re looking at a vintage timepiece 34-36mm were common sizes for men and are still a classic size today.

Anything smaller than 38mm today is generally found on women’s watches, and anything larger than 46mm, well, that’s pushing toward overly flashy, yet some people can certainly pull it off in the right circumstance.


Generally watch size looks like this:

  • <34mm Small
  • 34mm – 38mm Midsize
  • 39mm – 42mm Standard
  • 43mm – 46mm XL/Oversize
  • >47mm XXL

Measure Your Wrist

You’ll need to measure your wrist. If your wrist is 6 to 7 inches in circumference, you should typically go with 38mm, 40mm and 42mm watch cases. If your wrist circumference is 7.5 to 8 inches, you should be looking at 44mm to 46mm watch cases. These recommendations are based off of the modern trend of larger timepieces.

Knowing your wrist size is also important when ordering your watch so you can make sure the strap fits and the bracelet is sized properly.

Other Things To Consider When Looking at Watch Size

The size of your wrist in comparison to the size of the watch diameter is not the only thing to remember when looking for your perfect timepiece. Case thickness, different straps and metals can all play an important role in how your watch feels when you wear it.

How Thick Should my Watch Case Be?

Watch case thickness is generally correlated to the case size diameter. For example, a small to medium case size diameter will usually be around 7mm in thickness, while the large case sizes will have a thickness around 9mm. The more complications found in a watch, the thicker it will likely be.

If you’re looking at a piece with an exhibition case back, the extra crystal adds some depth as well. Not all of this will be true for every watch. Many brands have been producing ultra-thin models with exhibition case backs and complicated movements thinner.

Group Of Watch Sizes slider

Watch Band Width

Look for a watch band with a width that is approximately half its case diameter. In other words, if you were to buy a 42mm watch, the watch band should be approximately 22mm in width. A watch will tend to look out of proportion when the strap size is too small or too large.

Metal, Leather & Fabric Watch Bands

Metal watch bands always appear to be larger and heavier than leather or fabric band types so men with larger wrists tend to gravitate to the metal bracelets. A solid link bracelet will add some heft to the watch depending on the material but there are some hollow link bracelets available.

Leather straps provide a slimmer and more formal look while a woven or fabric strap will be more sporty. Depending on the style of a fabric strap, you can achieve different looks. A NATO style strap provides a sporty look but will add extra depth to the watch due to how the fabric slides under the case back.

Watch Components

Everything from the numbers, the hours, second hands, lug size, to the pusher and changer all play a factor in the aesthetic of a watch and whether it is in the right proportion. If these details are larger in size, the watch may appear larger as well. All of these components should compliment the other elements of the watch so that the overall watch appearance is balanced and attractively proportionate.

Once you find a watch you like, the final decision comes down to personal preference that matches your style and compliments your wrist. Rules are made to be broken but you must first know the rules before straying away.




About Nicole Daddario
Positive, outgoing and energetic Marketing Director for iW Magazine and new to the watch industry. Nicole is enthusiastically and devotedly absorbing all facets of luxury watches, and is excited for the opportunity to write articles that will engage and motivate watch enthusiasts. She appreciates the “blingier” style of watches but her appreciation for the mechanics and craftsmanship that goes into watchmaking is rapidly growing.

Watches you may be interested in:

  • Skip

    I do not know how I feel about these recommendations. I have an 8″ wrist, but I still like 38mm dress watches. I am wearing a 40 mm diver right now that I love. I do own a large German flieger that I love, but otherwise I feel that most men wear wrist watches that are too large. I see so many men with the DateJust II, for example, and they really, REALLY would look better with a regular DateJust. On my 8″ wrist the DateJust II does look better, but on a 7″ they look worse. On a 6.5″ wrist the larger watches simply look funny. I used to live in China, and I would see men with comically large Royal Oak’s or Hublot’s. It looked silly, as if they were boys wearing their fathers’ watches.

    To me, it seems like the really large watches are nothing more than a fad. There are very few men that can pull off a 44 mm dress watch. I think Rolex has the proportions down just right (if only they would stop increasing prices!).

  • Thanks for the feedback Skip! Typically dress watches will fall in the under 40mm category. These sizes are taking into account the modern size trend rather than a dress watch. We recently wrote a different article about dress watches where you’ll find we recommend smaller sizes and fewer complications ( Overall, it’s really finding a watch that feels comfortable when it’s on and that doesn’t extend past your wrist. Rules are made to be broken, right? :)
    (ps. Jon also wrote an article about the Big Watch trend last year:

  • markbyrum

    Don’t you mean 6 or 7 inches in circumference (the distance around the wrist)? My thigh is about 7 inches in diameter. Otherwise, a great article. My wrist is just a little more than 7 inches in circumference and I like my Omega Seamaster Midsize Auto (case diameter 36.25 mm) but my Breitling Blackbird (case diameter 39.80 mm) is about as large as I comfortable wearing. Breitling has a new Chronomat 38 which I’ve tried and like – but they call it a ladies watch. I guess I’ll just have to get over it if I want to get one and wear it. It also does not have the clothes – snagging bezel tabs.

  • Yes, thank you for catching that! Sounds like you have a great collection and you’ve found a size that works well for you. The Chronomat 38 is another great piece in a great size. 38mm would be considered a unisex size so don’t worry about the label. Women wear men’s watches so why can’t men switch it up? Let us know when you’re ready for the Chronomat!

  • Elliot S.

    I’m a diminutive sized man, 5’6″ on great days, though after 3 back surgeries I’m having fewer of those sunny days. I’ve retired, so when I’m in doubt about what size watch I should wear, I’ll wear my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. For sorting events I’ll pick from one of my four 36mm Rolexes.

  • Joshua Yount

    Would the SRPB51 work on a 7″ wrist? It’s said to be a 43.8mm, but I don’t want something gaudy.

  • George

    I have a 6.69 inch wrist (17cm) and I wear a 7 year old CASIO G-SHOCK GLX-150 (55mm) with no problem and it doesn’t look too big.

  • SkagitDoug

    Great thoughts, Skip, and I’m of a similar mind. Govberg responses seem to ignore wrist size in responding, simply stating, “Most watches are….” If a person is comfortable with the visual perspective offered by a particular watch size, who cares what watch sizes are most popular?

    Granted, we all get used to the size watch we’re used to, so watches of other sizes can seem huge or tiny, regardless of what the most “popular” watch sizes are….