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Why Do People Wear their Watch on their Left Hand? KingzQueen Explains

Why Do People Wear their Watch on their Left Hand? KingzQueen Explains

The majority of people wear their watch on their left hand – but have you ever wondered why? Is this an unwritten rule we should all know about?  There are actually a few reasons why people normally wear their watch on the left, and it comes down to history, and functionality.

Watches are designed for the majority, that being right-handed individuals.  Ninety percent of the global population is right-handed.  For those wearing a mechanical watch, they need to wind the crown to keep their watch running (check out our blog post here to learn more about how watches work).  Watches are designed so when they are worn on the left hand, the wearer can easily access the crown.  You will find convenient button placement on digital watches as well.  The main buttons are located on the right-hand side; when worn on the left hand, it’s easy for the wearer to push these buttons.  Putting your watch on the left hand is also much easier to do for right-handed people.  So, instinctively, right-handed individuals have worn their watch on the left.  A watch can become uncomfortable if worn on the dominant hand during some activities.  For example, when writing, the user would be resting on the watch.  This can be uncomfortable and risk damaging the watch.

From a historical perspective, during World War I, soldiers were required to wear a watch and it was at this time they moved from a pocket watch to a wristwatch.  Again, as most individuals are right-handed, it was better to wear it on the non dominant hand. In doing so, the soldiers could avoid damage. Soldiers could still hold a rifle and check the time, which was an important consideration at that time. During drills, soldiers would need to watch the minute hand and use a whistle. The whistle was held with the right hand while they looked at their watch on their left.

There is another theory, saying the act of wearing your watch on your left hand originated in RHD countries (driver is on the right side of the car).   By wearing your watch on the left, you could drive with your windows down and it was more difficult for thieves to grab your watch.  It’s unclear if this is true, but it does make for a great story.

Although 90% of the population is right-handed, only 86% of watch-wearers wear their watch on their left hand.  With these statistics, we assume that all left-handed individuals and 4% of those that are right-handed, opt to wear their watch on their right wrist.   This shows that it is still a matter of preference for the wearer.  

Some people don’t believe in the non-dominant hand theory and believe it to be more of trend or social norm than anything else. It doesn’t seem likely that 86% of the popular feels societal pressure regarding which hand they wear their wrist on. But it is possible that this custom has been so engrained over the years, that we continue to do it. 

Really, whether you wear your watch on your left or right hand it doesn’t matter…but it’s always good to know why the majority of people wear their watch on their left hand.


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