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Left-Handed Watches are No Longer a Rarity in the Watchmaking Industry

August 10, 2023 6 min read 2 Comments

Left-Handed Watches are No Longer a Rarity in the Watchmaking Industry

Within the realm of watchmaking, left-handed watches are a rare find. The majority of watch designs are crafted with right-handed wearers in mind, as it is commonly assumed that right-handers constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. As a result, left-handed individuals face a limited selection of watches to choose from. While left-handed scissors, rulers, and notebooks are readily available, finding a suitable left-handed watch can prove to be a more challenging endeavor.

Compounding the challenge of finding a suitable timepiece for left-handed individuals is the tradition of wearing watches on the opposite wrist than their dominant hand. While right-handed individuals typically wear watches on their left wrist, left-handed individuals often wear theirs on their right wrist. However, some individuals deviate from these conventions entirely, leading to debates over the significance of the positioning of the watch.

For instance, articles have been written regarding former US President Obama's preference for wearing his watch on his left wrist despite being left-handed. The reasoning behind this convention is that the crown of the watch should face outward for optimal comfort and ease of access. Wearing the watch on the wrong wrist may result in discomfort and hindered accessibility to the crown for adjustments.

US left-handed President Barack Obama wear watch on his left hand

US President Obama defies convention by sporting his watch on his left wrist, staying true to his left-handed nature.

Despite the fact that most watchmakers typically design with right-handed wearers in mind, left-handed timepieces have emerged as a rare but exceptional category of watches. These watches have transcended their traditional associations with dive watches and basic rotating digital displays, such as those seen in Apple Watches. Instead, left-handed watches have increasingly become featured as novelties from various renowned watchmakers. While still relatively uncommon, these timepieces have shown considerable progress in their design and functionality.


A Short List of Six Famous Brands with the Best Left-Handed Watches

  • Seiko
  • Citizen
  • Omega
  • IWC
  • Panerai
  • Tag Heuer 

    Seiko 5 Sports Atlas SKZ209J1

    The Seiko 5 Sports Atlas SKZ209J1 is a highly respected watch among left-handed individuals in the industry. It features a reliable Japanese automatic movement and a scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal. Its left-handed orientation and accessible crown on the left side of the case make it an ideal choice for right-wrist wearers.

    FKM Quick Release Rubber Watch Strap from Strapcode complements flawlessly with the Seiko 5 Sports SKZ209J1 200m Atlas Left handed watch

    The Azure Vented FKM Quick Release Rubber Watch Strap complements flawlessly with the Seiko 5 Sports SKZ209J1 200m Atlas Diver left-handed watch. This fusion brings a lively and athletic dimension to the timepiece, heightening its overall aesthetic.

    The Seiko Atlas Diver paired with its unique and eye-catching Sand color Chaffle - FKM rubber Watch Strap is truly exceptional.

    Seiko 5 Sports Atlas SKZ209J1 left handed watch with watch bands from Strapcode

    The Seiko 5 Sports Atlas SKZ209J1 left-handed watch pairs flawlessly with another vibrant Yellow Tropical-Style Pro FKM rubber watch strap. Its quick-release feature allows for effortless strap changes, providing instant style transformations.

    With a 42mm stainless steel case, it offers a comfortable fit for a wide range of individuals. Overall, the SKZ209J1 provides exceptional value for its price point and is a reliable and durable option for daily wear.


    Citizen Promaster Fugu Dive Automatic Watch NY0138-14X

    The Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic Watch NY0138-14X is an excellent timepiece that caters to divers and adventurers. Its sleek design boasts a 44mm stainless steel case and a black and green unidirectional bezel, providing a striking and sporty aesthetic. With a water resistance of up to 200 meters and an automatic movement, it is reliable and functional.

    Citizen Promaster Fugu NY0138-14X left handed watch with Rubber watch bands from Strapcode

    The Ocellus Orange Quick Release FKM Rubber Sports Watch Strap or the Sabre A2 Strap by HAVESTON Straps, when paired with the left-handed Citizen Promaster Fugu NY0138-14X watch, form a perfect harmony, merging fashion and utility for daring underwater explorers.

    Its luminous hands and markers offer optimal legibility in low-light conditions, while its scratch-resistant mineral crystal and screw-down crown enhance its durability. Overall, the NY0138-14X is a great choice for those seeking both style and substance in a dive watch.


    OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m

    Paying homage to OMEGA’s rich diving heritage, the OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m saw a charming update in 2009, combining new modern technologies with the same charm of the original Seamaster Professional 600. In this rendition, the model features a black dial contrasted with white Super-Luminova inside a sapphire bezel ring. The 55x48mm stainless steel case is eye-catching for its sheer size and screw-in crown on the left, as well as its ‘sharkproof’ (this is not a joke) stainless steel bracelet.

    OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m left handed watch with watch bands from Strapcode

    The OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m pairs magnificently with the massive 24mm Dark Brown Straight Leather Watch Band. This combination exudes a bold and musculine ook, enhancing the overall appeal of the timepiece.

    Strapcode 24mm leather watch bands for Omega Ploprof 1200M

    The 24mm Colmo Suede Leather Watch Strap Collection adds a vintage flair to large case watches, perfectly complementing the Omega Ploprof 1200M.

    Beyond these features, the timepiece also boasts an automatic helium escape valve and bezel security pusher. True to its name, it is water-resistant up to 1200 meters, making it a perfect choice for professional divers and water sports enthusiasts alike.


    IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition 'Right-Hander'

    IWC has entered the game with its Big Pilot's watch by introducing a special edition 'Right-Hander', a timepiece tailored for individuals who favor wearing their watches on their right wrist. The watch features a large conical crown which may affect the watch's ergonomics and wearability for right-wrist wearers. Christian Knoop, IWC's head of design, states that this watch is aimed at addressing this issue. The watch is designed to cater to the needs of left-handed pilots. IWC's press release suggests that up to 40% of pilots may be left-handed, although most estimates place the prevalence of left-handedness in the general population at around 10%, and they wanted to create a special watch to suit the needs of those aviators.

    IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition 'Right-Hander' left handed watch with rubber watch bands from Strapcode

    This combination enhances the overall aesthetic as the sporty yet classy earth tone of the Chaffle Sand color FKM Rubber watch strap beautifully complements the IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition 'Right-Hander'.

    IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition 'Right-Hander' left handed watch with Nylon watch bands from Strapcode

    The Pilot type Military Green Premium Nylon Weaved Quick Release Watch Band pairs nicely with the left-handed IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition 'Right-Hander', enhancing a rugged yet stylish look.

    However, flipping the orientation of the watch required more than just minor tweaks. Knoop explains that when they first conceptualized the watch, they thought they could simply rotate the movement by 180 degrees. However, they soon encountered challenges with the watch's asymmetric layout, which features a central seconds hand and a power reserve display at three o'clock. Mirroring this layout would result in an unbalanced look with the power reserve display at nine o'clock. To address this, IWC opted for a different design with a small second at three o'clock and the power reserve at nine o'clock.


    Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days Acciaio Ref. PAM00796

    Panerai has long crafted watches for left-handed people, with the Italian watchmaker’s history with lefties going as far back as 1940, where it produced timepieces for the Italian navy for the right wrist. Launched last year, the latest Panerai Luminor models include a 44mm Left-Handed 8 Days model too. Where the left-handed part is self-explanatory, the 8 Days bit refers to its extremely long power reserve of eight days, with an indication of remaining power on the sapphire crystal porthole on the case back.

    Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days Acciaio Ref. PAM00796

    Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days Acciaio Ref. PAM00796

    The winding crown is placed in a protective cover at 9 o’clock, contrasting the silver of the steel case with the black sandwich dial and strap. A classic Panerai timepiece, where left-handed models aren’t an exception, but rather a house signature attention to human detail.


    TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11

    The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 is named after the city and motoring race of Monaco, and is the watch that was famously sported by Steve McQueen in the 1970s film Le Mans.

    TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 left handed watch

    The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Left Handed watch worn by the model on his left hand.

    Designed for those who live life in the fast lane (and indeed, wear a watch on the right wrist much like Steve McQueen himself), the 39mm automatic chronograph features a rare square case with a dial of orange and blue. The blue calfskin strap with orange lining is a perfect complement to this look, in a timepiece with much to admire. Left-handed watches are no Plain Janes, and the TAG Heuer Monaco models are infinite proof of this.


    In Conclusion

    Left-handed watches may have been a rarity in the past, but their growing popularity in recent years is a clear indication of their increasing demand from left-handed individuals. As the watchmaking industry recognizes this need, more and more models are being designed and crafted specifically for left-handed wearers. The six watches we've highlighted in this list showcase the exceptional skill and attention to detail that goes into creating a high-quality left-handed watch. Whether you're a professional diver, an avid adventurer, or simply a lover of fine timepieces, there is a left-handed watch out there that will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Don't settle for a watch that doesn't feel comfortable or functional on your left wrist - invest in a left-handed watch that is crafted with your needs in mind.


    Written by Toni, images by Toni and others as noted.


    External reference


    2 Responses

    Mark McClammy
    Mark McClammy

    September 14, 2023

    Please note that although it appears to be a left-handed watch, the Seiko 5 Atlas SKZ209J1 is not a true lefty. This model has been my daily watch for the past 18 years (and still going strong). However, the crown at the 9:00 position is for setting the interior compass ring only. The crown for setting the time and date is at the 4:00 position. Because of this, I think a left-hand wearer might find setting this watch very difficult while on the wrist.


    August 23, 2023

    There are indies that affordable offer an option of destro or regular crowns as well. Serica being my first thought – great watches at a great price point.

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