August 30, 2009

Left or Right?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:01 pm

No, this post has nothing to do with politics. It’s a nice Sunday afternoon, and I’m trying to do a one-day political detox. Rather, this has to do with wristwatches.

I have always worn mine on my left wrist. Being right-handed and being old enough to remember when one had to wind a wristwatch, it seemed to make sense to leave one’s dominant hand with easy access to the watch’s stem to permit the regular need to turn the stem back and forth to put the tension in the mainspring that permitted the gadget to function.

Perhaps the watchmakers of the world didn’t see a big enough market for watches with the stem next to the “9” for left-handers (although some manufacturers take a different view). I must admit that I never paid much attention to the wrist chosen by left-handers for watch wearing, other than thinking back to my mother who was a southpaw. As I recall, she wore her watch on her left wrist. Maybe she took it off to wind it; I just don’t remember.

Now, I’ve noticed lots of people wearing their wristwatches on their right wrist. I doubt as many people did this when watches had to be wound, but I lack empirical data. Is this the case, because regular winding is not longer necessary? After all, one needs access to the watch’s stem only twice per year to accommodate daylight saving time changes and, for watches with a date function, only five times per year to account for those months with fewer than thirty-one days.

Wearing a watch on one’s non-dominant hand seems natural to me, but that may be because I’ve never for one second thought about wearing it on my right wrist.

So, I ask these penetrating questions: On which wrist to you wear your wristwatch? Is your wrist of choice your dominant or non-dominant hand? Why is it your wrist of choice?

Isn’t this easier on the cruller than thinking about politics and the potential death of the Republic on a nice Sunday afternoon?


  1. Left because it’s right

    Comment by james old guy — August 30, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  2. I’m a left wrist gal, myself. Oddly, I find a number of my friends have given up watches altogether, and rely on their cell phones for timekeeping.

    Comment by Omnibus Driver — August 30, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  3. That is the only thing I’m on the left with.

    Comment by Sam — August 30, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

  4. Neither wrist. I gave up wearing a watch (and rings) when i was welding for a living (lo these many years ago) because they trap the weld spatter and promote REAL burns. I never got back into the habit when I moved behind a desk since the clock was on the wall. Now every little piece of electronica has a built in time piece, who needs a watch?

    Comment by Mark Reardon — August 30, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  5. Since I retired in 2004 I have not worn a watch and I hope to never have to think about it again.

    When I wore one it was on my left wrist. I am right handed.

    Comment by Phil Johnson — August 30, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  6. Wear it on my left wrist…my nondominant hand.

    All the hammering, banging and waving about of my right hand would severly test the shock resistance of the watch. Even my left wrist did enough waving about to keep the old self-winding watches going…until I waved too vigorously. Five-six months tops.

    As for the stems…I’m always fearful of pulling the damn things out a little too far and BAM! No more watch.

    Did it twice as a kid setting the time after the DST/ST BS and got an earful from the old man. Luckily it was only a verbal earful.

    Comment by joated — August 30, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  7. I use a pocket watch.

    Comment by gregor — August 30, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  8. I don’t wear one anymore, they all stop running within seven days for some inexplicable reason.

    Comment by Daphne — August 30, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  9. Left wrist, right handed. I was always told that if you were right handed, you wore it on the hand you did not use so much. I never thought of it as a winding thing. If I was writing, I didn’t have to stop writing to see what time it was. I could just glance over. Anything I was going with my right hand, I could keep on doing.

    Comment by Bou — August 30, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  10. Left wrist, right handed. It feels wrong on my right wrist especially when I’m writing.

    Comment by Jean — August 30, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

  11. …. left wrist, right-handed……. but my watch is an Eco-drive from Citizen……. so it doesnt need winding at all….. just sunlight…… sucks getting out to go for a walk though just to charge your damn watch…..

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  12. Left wrist, right handed. Don’t need to wind it. Runs off a battery and sets itself daily from the atomic clock in Colorado.

    Comment by Thomas Pfau — August 30, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  13. Left wrist, right handed. I also wear the watch on the “outside” of my wrist, versus the “inside” (where one’s pulse is taken) — something that I don’t understand.

    Comment by Dave Merriman — August 30, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  14. Left-wrist, ambidextrous, but I haven’t worn a watch since I was a teenager. They are cumbersome, no? I write with my left hand, but I do everything else righty, although I am a good switch-hitter (talking baseball, here). And for someone who writes with her left hand, I have a pretty good hand-writing with my right hand, too. I wonder why that is, and what makes things like that be.

    Comment by Erica — August 30, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

  15. Left wrist, right handed. For what it’s worth, I was proctoring a test for accounting students, and out of 48 students, 9 were left-handed.

    Comment by gwilli — August 31, 2009 @ 2:18 am

  16. well, I lead with my left eye, jab with my left hand, and swing from the knees with my right. If I had that watch on my right arm it would come flying off when I misses what I swung at…and if I did managed to land that swing it would just break my watch…

    that is if I wore one. Time bugs me

    Comment by GUYK — August 31, 2009 @ 7:36 am

  17. When I wore a watch it was on the left wrist, but I am such a clutz that I’ve cracked too many crystal faces so I can’t afford to wear one any more; plus with the cell phone having a clock who needs it?

    Comment by Mr. Bingley — August 31, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  18. I do not wear one and never have. In the days before cell phones I was able to keep a good track of time i my head. Now Ijust look at the oldphone to get the time.

    Comment by hoosierboy — August 31, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  19. At present I wear my watch on the Left hand and I am Right handed

    But there have been times over the years that the answer would have been neither, because I wore my watch in that little pocket that still appears on the top of the righthand pocket in some jeans 😉

    So that makes you more modern than me Jim LOL

    Comment by Dan Kauffman — August 31, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  20. I stopped wearing a watch over 20years ago. When I did it was on the left hand. I am left-handed. The reason was for convenience. Ease of winding & setting the time.

    Left-handers have to adapt to many things like this because most thing s are solely manufactured for right-handers.

    If I try to use a circular saw with my left hand, I get a face full of sawdust. First time I shot a .45 ACP, the ejected shell popped me in the forehead. I shoot a rifle left-handed, but hand me a pistol, even a revolver, I automatically grab it and shoot right-handed. At work I use a mouse with my right hand, even at the computer that is predominantly used by me. At home, my computer mouse is set up on the left.

    I just automatically adapt to whatever tool/device I’m using.

    When I first played Hot Stove baseball, I batted righty, because that’s how everyone else batted and I didn’t know any better. When the coach realized I was a lefty and switched me, he used me as a switch hitter. Started games as a righty, which I was less than average. Then later in the game switched to lefty where I at least made contact more often. Kept the other teams guessing.

    Comment by Dan O — August 31, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

  21. This burning question sounds like something the Democratic Congress & Senate would set up committees to investigate…..maybe even a cabinet post.

    So you can sleep tonight …..left hand & it is dominant.

    Comment by dudley1 — August 31, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  22. Back when I wore a watch it would be on my left wrist since I’m right handed. This had nothing at all to do with winding the watch (when I had watches that needed winding, I would do it before putting it on in the morning) and more to do with the feeling the watch would be in the way on my right wrist.

    Of course back when I working in the Neonatal ICU I wore the watch pinned to my name tag so I could easily scrub up when entering the unit or going between the kidlets. Had to scrub up to the elbow when entering the unit from outside to cut down on the germs walking in with you. When moving between kids it was merely washing up without the scrub brush, but took in more than just the hands. A watch on the wrist… no way to keep that clean.

    Comment by Teresa — August 31, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  23. I’m a southpaw and when I wore a watch it was on my right wrist. The 1971 watch was a Seiko Tachymeter
    stopwatch and it was awkward operating the start/stop push buttons. The reason for not wearing a watch was that it was a safety hazard working around mainframe computers and their input/output devices–tape and disk drives, etc.

    Comment by Bill — August 31, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  24. #23 Wow! When I entered the civilian work force in 1971, working on mainframe computers, I wore my watch on my left because I’m right handed. Bill #23 is correct though; it was a hazzard with all the moving parts that the old systems had back then. What are the odds of two old dawgs working on mainframes back in the early 70s ending up reading the same PRS blog?

    Comment by Bill — August 31, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  25. Left wrist, left-handed. I use my mouse with my right hand, but I eat with my left hand. I catch a ball with my left hand, but throw with my right hand. I fire a pistol with my right hand.

    Comment by Mary — August 31, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  26. Right-handed; watch on the left wrist. I don’t know why, but I would think back in those early grades of writing/art that the watch would get in the way of your paper that you were writing on.

    Comment by Jerry in Indiana — September 1, 2009 @ 10:33 am

  27. Bill #24, I started with the I’ve Been Moved Corp. in 1967. What amazes me today is how big, power hungry, and slow computers were compared to my HP48SX calculator.
    In 1971 I bought a Hobie 16 Catamaran and started racing–which explains the need for the watch (used for timing race starts.)

    Comment by Bill — September 1, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  28. After an accident left me with lots of scar tissue and major sensitivity to anything on my left wrist, I had to start wearing my watch (when I wore one…and in nursing, that was ALWAYS) on my right wrist.

    It’s been so long without wearing one, I don’t know that I could go back to wearing one at all anymore.

    Comment by Da Goddess — September 1, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  29. So. Put out a thought provoking post that took you hours to put together, blood, sweat, tears, and you’ll get 5-10 comments. Put together a post wondering what wrist people wear their watch on, and you get… 29. That cracks me up. We love the mundane…

    Comment by Bou — September 1, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

  30. This question was so thought-provoking, I ended up answering it on my own site.

    Comment by Elisson — September 2, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  31. Back when I had a watch I would wear it on my left arm. I haven’t worn one since I was a young teen. They are uncomfortable and get in the way. I write with my left hand but do nearly everything else with my right. Exceptions are that I would sometimes kick with my left foot in kickball (elementary school) and would lead with my left on a skateboard (young teen again). I have found that on a chalkboard (or dry erase board) I can write pretty good with my right hand. I can take a piece of chalk (or marker) in each hand and write my name simultaneously with both hands. The two signatures will be almost the same. If we are going to play a game of baseball or kickball I want to be on Erika’s team since my answers are very similar to hers (comment 14)!

    Comment by TED — September 3, 2009 @ 2:50 am

  32. Ted…unbelievable…the similarities, except when I ride a skateboard I land on my ass and don’t really get much of a chance to lead in any direction.

    Comment by Erica — September 3, 2009 @ 6:16 am

  33. […] not talking politics this time. He’s talking wristwatches: I have always worn mine on my left wrist. Being right-handed and being old enough to remember when […]

    Pingback by » Mostly to the left — September 3, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

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