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First, the bad news: Fitting is so individual that it is not so easy to establish objective criteria because each wrist is different in shape. Furthermore, there are external factors such as temperature, which can have a significant influence on your skin. Finding the right fit for yourself therefore takes time and a certain amount of experience. 

Therefore, to eliminate your fear in advance: You will make mistakes. Maybe you fall in love with a watch and order it without having tried it on – only to find out that it doesn't really fit you. Maybe you have a favourite watch that you don't quite like and still wear it – until it gets a scratch. Many people have already been through this – most of them several times. With our size guide for watches, we would like to help you find the right timepiece to fit your wrist so that you can avoid the aforementioned mistakes.



Which measurements are important for the fit of a watch?


In addition to a number of decisive factors for determining the correct watch size, the following four sizes, in particular, should be considered when determining the fit: case diameter, lug to lug, the design of the bezel, and last but not least your wrist. As all of these sizes and how they all fit together is particularly important for the fit of a watch, we will explain them in more detail below.

 

Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars 25955OR.OO.D002CR.01 and Breitling Emergency V76325G1.BC46 watches on black background
AUDEMARS PIGUET JULES AUDEMARS vs. BREITLING EMERGENCY



The case diameter of the watch

Since we often learn better through visuals, we have compiled a selective overview with examples to convey a basic feeling for the diameters of watches You can calculate the most suitable diameter for you by measuring the width of your wrist. To do this, place a measuring tape directly along your wrist bone and add about 5 mm to the final result to ensure a comfortable fit.

For orientation: A
ladies' watch has an average diameter of 28 to 33 mm, with the trend towards larger models up to 38 mm. With a few additional tips, you are guaranteed to find the right ladies’ watch. But there are also some guidelines for finding the perfect men's watchMost watches for men range from 36 to 44 mm. But of course, there is still room to move up and down, depending on how sporty or traditional a watch should be and for which occasions it is used. Diameters of 45 mm or more are referred to as extra-large models. Particularly big watches can even have a diameter of up to 55 mm. Half steps in diameter have been omitted from the table below. Although they make a nominal difference, in practice a 42.5 mm watch wears like a 42 mm watch.

 

Case Diameter Model Name Reference Number
14 mm Audemars Piguet Charleston 67025BC.ZZ.1091BC.01
16 mm Longines Dolce Vita L5.158.7.16.6
19 mm Cartier Tank Américaine WB7018L1
22 mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique 252.8.86
25 mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
Day & Night
270.8.54
28 mm Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 224.80.00
30 mm Breitling Starliner A71340
32 mm Omega Constellation Quartz 396.1070.1
34 mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date 15210
36 mm Rolex Datejust 116234
38 mm TAG Heuer Classic Monza
CR2113.FC6164
40 mm Rolex Submariner 116610LN
42 mm Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph 311.30.42.30.01.005
44 mm Rolex Deepsea 116660
46 mm Breitling Cockpit B50 Night Mission VB501022.BD41.155S.V20DSA.2
48 mm Breitling Avenger Blackbird V1731010.BD12.100W.M20BASA.1

 


36 mm Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars, 42 mm IWC Portugieser Automatic and 51 mm Breitling Emergency watches with different case sizes next to each other
AUDEMARS PIGUET | IWC PORTUGIESER AUTOMATIC | BREITLING EMERGENCY



Lug to lug

The lug to lug size measures the entire length of the case and is critical to the actual fit of the watch. If the model protrudes too far beyond the wrist, the watch can wiggle more easily and suffer damage. However, if the case is too small, your wrist can quickly appear empty.


The watch bezel

The design of the bezel is also decisive. Dress watches without a bezel, for example, look slimmer than diving watches with a wide bezel as standard. If this is a problem for you, look for functional watches with an inner bezel like the Aquatimer from IWC – these often appear slimmer on the hand.


The wrist of the wearer

In general, if you have a slender wrist, you should avoid choosing large or oversized timepieces. The same applies for the opposite, because on a large wrist a small watch can sometimes appear lost or childish. The most important aspect is the relationship between your wrist and the watch. Fortunately, however, neither those with petite wrists are forced to avoid large watches, nor those with sturdy wrists need to give up small watches. If this situation sounds like it applies to you, then it is best to choose a watch whose dimensions lie somewhere in the middle, that is to say, have a diameter of about 40 mm. It is surprising how different the same watch can look on different wrists.

In this case, the wisdom that "experience is the best teacher" is the best advice. As mentioned before, trying on a watch is essential. Even the "normal-sized" large watches such as the IWC Portugieser with its case diameter of 41 mm may appear too small or too large, depending on the wrist. However, if you like a particular watch and as long as it feels correct on your wrist, even though it might seem, for example, a little too small for your wrist then we believe that you will get used to it over time. The same applies to timepieces that seem too big. However, a little caution is still advisable. The risk of literally rubbing someone the wrong way with a watch that is too large should be taken to heart.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the larger a watch is, the more difficult it becomes to wear it discreetly. For example, if you have a sturdy wrist and choose an oversized watch like a Breitling Bentley 6.75 with an imposing 48.8 mm case diameter, this is understandable. Still, you should keep in mind that this watch will probably not be able to disappear under a shirt cuff. This kind of "problem" is not something you will encounter with "normal-sized" watches whether large or small.

However, if you have taken to a watch, it suits you and together you create a well-balanced overall look, then go for it and don't let yourself be deterred. As long as you feel comfortable with the watch on your wrist, then you will wear it with confidence and there won't be any doubt about it being the right watch for you.


Other factors for the right fit of a wristwatch

Inform yourself about the watch types. Sports or functional watches like divers and pilots watches are often more massive and can take up to 50 mm on the wrist. Dress watches, on the other hand, are smaller and therefore more understated.


  • When using rectangular or barrel-shaped cases, pay attention to the height of the watch. This also includes the lugs that are not included in the case diameter, but can significantly change the appearance of the wrist. If possible, the lugs should not exceed the width of your wrist to protect the watch from scratches and knocks.

  • The thickness of the case is also decisive. If the case is very bulky and angular, it will automatically be larger on the wrist. On the other hand, if it is very thin and dynamic, it may not cover the wrist sufficiently and leave too much space.


Case thickness of a Breitling Emergency, IWC Portuguese and Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars watch



  • Bracelets also play an important role in the right watch size. In addition to the length – on average 165 to 180 mm for ladies' watches and 184 to 197 mm for men's watches – the width of the bracelet is also decisive. A general rule for the right width of a watch bracelet says that the width of the strap should measure half of the case diameter. The most common bridge width is about 20 mm, but can range from 18 mm to 24 mm. Some ladies' and vintage watches have even narrower bracelets. Here, a watch owner with rather thin wrists should choose narrower bridge widths of up to 18 mm, while for people with wider wrists will will want to look for watches with a bridge width of 18 mm. If visibility is important to you and you would like your watch to be more striking, you can of course choose a model with an even wider strap.

  • Another important factor that many underestimate: you should try on the watch before you buy, especially with larger investments, and not just buy it based on feeling or only on beautiful photos. Watchmaster also offers you the opportunity to return your watch free of charge in order to give you the time you need to think about it and to guarantee the greatest possible flexibility.


With our size guide for luxury watches, you can easily find the right model for you. The guide contains all the essential aforementioned information on external measurements, sizes and bracelet lengths for watches. You can download the Watchmaster Watch Sizing Guide for free with just one click.