Why Watches are Worn on the Left Hand

Posted by Alexander on

 

Wearing a watch on our left hand became almost a reflex action, but have you ever wondered why? Normally, these thoughts don’t cross one’s mind, we are used to wearing wrist watches on the left hand, and that’s it.

 

If you observe carefully, you will notice that this rule has exceptions. Although most people wear watches on their left wrist, some wear it on the right. You might have also heard that men should wear their watches on the left hand while women should wear them on the right.

 

There is a logical and practical explanation for this, but the fact that most people wear watches on their left hands also has a historical background.

 

Historically, men used pocket watches up until early years of 20th century, while only women used wristwatches. Pocket watches became popular during wars, because they were useful for coordinating military activities. However, these watches were large for today’s standards and were carried by officers in custom leather pouches that were strapped on their wrists. This was a necessity because watches had huge balancing wheels and were very fragile and could break easily.

 

In order to protect their chronometers from damage, it was best to keep them on the wearer’s less dominant hand. Since majority of people are right handed, in most cases watches were held in the left hand.

 

We covered the historical background of this question, now we shall proceed to the practical explanation. Here we must consider that not everyone wears their watch on the left wrist. Vast majority of people do, however a small fraction of people wearing it on the right wrist.

 

The logic here is that majority of people in the world are right handed, so when wristwatches became increasingly popular, users found it more convenient to wear their watches on the left wrist.

 

There is a simple reason behind this. You will use your dominant hand more often, and while working you can easily keep a check on the watch to your left. Also, wearing it on non-dominant hand makes it less susceptible to damaging, breaking, or injuring yourself.

 

The same principal applies for smart watches, and additionally it may be hard to operate the watch using your non-dominant hand. Some smart watch manufacturers even suggest you should wear the watch on your left hand, because of its design but also to enable its functions to work properly. Example for this is heart rate reading function that will only give accurate measurements if you wear the watch on your left hand.

 

Lastly, do women have to wear their watches on the right and men on the left hand?

 

This claim has no scientific backing. In some occasions women use watches more like a fashion accessory then a necessity, so this may be the reason they wear it on the right hand - to attract more attention to their style. I assume that this is just a stereotype or a cultural thing in certain communities.

 

If you are using a watch, you should wear it so it suits your convenience. People commonly wear it on the non-dominant hand. For this there are no strict rules, but only practical reasons, so the final decision is totally up to you!

 


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