With the boom in online watch sales, it’s essential that you know your wrist size so you can navigate the watch buying process knowledgeably and efficiently.


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.

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.