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How to Measure Wrist Size for a Watch - The Complete Guide

Stylish men’s watches are the quintessential accessory. They’re both elegant and timeless: few other accessories have had the staying power of a watch. 

When purchasing a watch, you have many things to consider—including your wrist size. After all, the ideal watch, like any other garment, should fit you perfectly.

So, how can you correctly figure out your wrist size before you purchase a watch? If you’re making an investment in adding to or starting a watch collection, you’re likely looking for timepieces that you can wear.

Below, we’ll highlight some strategies and tips for measuring your wrist for a watch. But first, let’s talk about why wrist size is important when choosing your watch. 

Why Measurements Matter

An ill-fitting watch is like an ill-fitting suit: it can impact your comfort and confidence. 

  • If a watch band is too tight, you’ll notice. Your circulation might get cut off by the band or leave marks.
  • Conversely, if your watch band is too loose, it will slide around uncontrollably and also cause distress.
  • Your watch face should also fit your wrist. While this may not be a comfort issue, an awkwardly large or small watch face can change the tone of your outfit from business to casual.

The perfect band fit sits right in the middle—not so snug that you have an imprint on your wrist, but not so loose that it slides up and down your arm. It should gently hug your wrist and stay in place.

Joesph Abboud Black & Silver Multi-Function Strap Watch

The standard band length for metal link bracelets at Joseph Abboud is 7.5″. By comparison, our leather bands typically have a total length of 9.5″ and are adjustable within that length.

The majority of watch brands (including Rolex) tend to favor 7.25″ to 7.5″ band lengths, but if your wrist falls outside of this narrow range, many watches can be adjusted.

How to Measure Your Wrist for a Watch

If you want a perfect fit, you need to measure your wrist properly. There are a few methods you can use to do this from the comfort of home, the easiest of which is with a flexible tape measure or “tailor’s tape.” 

This tape is essentially the same as a tape measure, but is far more flexible and designed to measure around curved surfaces rather than take linear measurements.

Wrist Measurement Techniques

Once you have a tailor’s tape in hand, it’s time to measure. 

  1. Start by turning your hand face-up with your palm open.
  2. Place the metal tip on the tailor’s tape in the center of your wrist and wrap it around your wrist until it reaches the metal tip. This is the circumference of your wrist.
  3. Jot that number down, and you’ll be able to use it to select a properly fitted watch band.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to wait for a tailor’s tape to arrive on your doorstep, you can accomplish the same feat with a strip of paper and a traditional ruler.

  1. Take the paper and wrap it around your wrist.
  2. Mark where the paper overlaps with the starting point.
  3. Once you have this mark, take a ruler and measure this distance. 

There are also some tools out there that can be used to measure your wrist without tape measures or paper, such as a wrist sizer. However, we like the tailor’s tape since it can be used to take other measurements as well.

How Watches Are Resized

In most cases, men’s watches can be resized to fit larger or smaller wrists. How this is done will depend on the type of watch band you have.

Resizing Linked Watch Bands

Metal watch bracelets can be found in mesh, link, and even in expandable or stretch designs. If you think you may need to resize in the future or need the comfort of an adjustable band, then a linked or expandable metal watch bracelet will be the easiest to adjust.

  • Resizing a linked bracelet or expansion band typically requires you to remove the pins that connect specific links together.
  • Links that can be removed or added are typically indicated with arrows along the inside of a linked watch band.
  • The arrows point in the direction that pins should fall when they are removedBack of Joseph Abboud Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch

Providing an even balance of links on either side of the watch face before an adjustment is considered standard procedure during watch production. However, an even balance of links won’t always provide the most comfortable fit: every wrist is unique.

Whether you remove or add links to adjust the watch length to fit your wrist, a proper fit will typically place the clasp of the watch band at the center of your wrist after you make an adjustment. If you don’t have spare links or pins, you’ll need to order parts to match your timepiece.

Keep in mind that when ordering metal replacement links, you’ll want to match the metal of your original watch band. Stainless steel, platinum, and titanium all show scratch marks differently.

Resizing Leather Watch Bands

Leather bands are similar to leather belts, with a predetermined set of holes to use. Some retailers provide leather adjustment services and can carefully place a new hole in the watch band using a leather punch.Back of Joseph Abboud Brown & Black Multi-Function Strap Watch

If you happen to love a project, you can also attempt to adjust a leather band at home using a hole punch designed for leather watch straps.

If you go this route, you’ll want to be sure that the punch you use matches the size of the punches that already exist on your band and that the punch can successfully pierce the leather.

Leather comes in varying thicknesses: a punch that works on a thin piece of leather may not be enough to punch through your watch strap. Try a few test punches in a piece of scrap leather first.

Your Ideal Watch Is Waiting

Once you have the right wrist measurement, it’s time to get your dream watch. Joseph Abboud has a wide selection of stylish men’s watches, including watches with linked bracelets and classy leather bands. 

Shop our collection today to find your perfect fit and style.

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