Wristwatch on bottom of wrist?

I saw some guy today wearing his wristwatch so that the face could be read by looking at the bottom of the wrist rather than the top. My curiosity about this habit was piqued once again, so I figure I’ll ask here: Why do people wear wristwatches this way?

I know, less than a cosmic subject, but I have this intuition there may be an interesting story behind the customary and uncustomary manners of wristwatch orientation. Doing a little experiment just now, I can’t really say there’s much of an advantage, as far as convenience goes, to wearing it one way or the other. My watch doesn’t feel quite right on the bottom of the wrist, but since I’ve worn my watch on the top as long as I’ve had one, that’s not realy much of a surprise.

So, what’s the deal with wristwatches and how we wear them? Is there any good reason for wearing a watch one way or another? If not, why do we mostly wear then with the face resting above the top of the wrist? And if not simply for the purposes of individual comfort, is there any practical rationale for occasionally wearing a watch in the opposite manner?

(PS - A search of the site didn’t come up with anything - hope this isn’t a redundant thread).

I occasionally adopt this method when doing activities that may result in the watch glass being scratched (mixing it with the car engine for example) but where I don’t want to remove the watch as I am likely to forget it and leave it behind.

Otherwise I think it is just a personal preference/comfort thing.

I started wearing my watch this way because I didn’t like the size of the watch face and only wanted a narrow band encircling my wrist. That points kinda moot since I now wear a big bulky heart rate monitor but I’m still used to wearing my watch that way. I think my watch faces to get scratched more easily on the bottom of my wrist tho’…

I have heard stories that some people where it this way becuase it reflects their personality such as an arrogant individual thinks that it is his time and non one elses…or something like that.

I’ve done it both ways. In my case it was all practicality.
As a kid I started wearing it the “standard” way, so everyone could see what a neat watch I had!
Then when I got more active outdoors, rock climbing, snake hunting, rock hunting (never tried snake climbing, though), I wore it on the inside cause I was less likely to scratch the crystal.
Then when I got a job as a furniture mover I moved it outside again since my wrist was always up against boxes, refrigerators and sofas.
Then when I went to VietNam it went back inside, for several reasons, protection of the crystal was one, and avoidance of having the sun reflect off the crystal and spot my position was another.
After VietNam it stayed inside for no particular reason, except for habit, even though it’s harder to see the time that way.
Then I got a solar-powered watch and it wouldn’t get enough charge inside, so I’m outside again.


When I wore a wristwatch (I use a pocketwatch these days) I wore it face-in, pretty much for the reason Yesterdog detailed. :smiley:

When I wore a watch I wore it face-in too, partly because my father did (he claimed it stopped it getting scratched), and partly because I was a showoff who wanted to be different. After a while it just became habit. Now I don’t wear a watch at all because I’m so arrogant I KNOW my time is more important than other people’s.

When I’m working, I used a particular machine that makes turning the wrist inconvienent (don’t ask). So, then I flip my watch over.

Crystal protection for me. A watch on my wrist is exactly the same height as doorknobs and I cracked more than one crystal on 'em (So I’m clumsy).

Later on, when I was working in a casino, it was handy for checking the time when writing a jackpot ticket. I’m a southpaw and it was easier to do a small roll to the outside rather than a larger roll to the inside to read the watch.


My dad wore his that way for so long that we made sure the funeral director had it turned in when we buried him.

I wear mine that way, mostly because wearing it on top irritates my hand when I reflex my wrist (and I do that a lot, being a typist and all).

I do believe, or so my sister tells me, that it was a mod thing in the 60’s/70’s England.

I thought people did it because they had one too many embarrassing accidents with spilling the drink in their hand when someone would ask for the time and they’d flip their wrist over without thinking and switching the cup to their other hand first.


The U.S. military instructs personnel in the field to wear their wristwatches facing inward. It reduces the chance of reflections off of the crystal. Some ex-military people continue to wear their watches in this manner. Others copy them.

End of story.

We’ve done this before, too:
What is the point of wearing your wrist watch down?

LSLGuy summed it up best in that thread:

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

My watch tends to rotate outward on its own during the course of the day–not enough to slide around the inside of my wrist, but enough that I have to either adjust it or hold my arm really oddly to get a good look at the face. I imagine if I had to read my watch very often, it would be a lot simpler to just wear the thing on the inside so I could read it easily no matter how much it had slipped.

I always wore mine on the inside because it was easier to look at the time. With the way I right, my hand is on it’s side, so the watch is facing me. Also, it prevents the face of the watch from digging into the back of my hand when I’d flex my wrist.
But weird. I’m right handed and wear my watch on my right wrist. So, you may want to ignore my reasons.

When I wear my watch (infrequently) I wear it with the face turned inside. It’s one of those great big honkin’ Casio G-Shock watches and the case has these big plastic protuberances sticking out at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions (or where they would be if it weren’t digital, ha ha). If I wear it the “normal” way, every time I flex my wrist to check the time those bulges jam right into the back of my hand and it hurts like crazy.

I wear mine to the inside also. Two reasons, it’s more comfortable for me. And I’m a klutz, I’m always bashing my knees, or hands, or something against something else (usually something else that’s hard). So I’m always afraid I’m going to smash it.

I once read that it came from workers (carpenters maybe?) wanting to keep an eye on the time as the end of the workday neared, but didn’t want to be obvoius about it to the boss.

Turning their watch inward allowed them to protect the face and to sneak a peek at the time without being branded a clock watcher.

I can’t remember where I read this, it may have been here, or at Snopes, and I can’t honestly remember if it was the debunked theory or not, so take that with a few grains of salt.

I read a description of a character once who wore their watch inward, and it stated that she wore it “like a trucker”. So perhaps truckers adopt this style so they can see the face while their hands are on the wheel?

I don’t know, but I liked the description enough that I wore my watch that way for a couple years after I read it.