How to Measure Your Wrist Size for Watches

By Nic King •  Updated: 07/27/22 •  6 min read

When purchasing a new watch band, you can easily be left wondering how to measure your wrist for watches to ensure you get the correct size.

Well, a few different factors need to be considered when it comes to finding the size of your wrist for a watch band.

The first is the type of band you are going to be wearing. Metal bracelets measure differently than leather bands and NATO straps.

You will also want to note other factors like time of day, the position of your wrist, and where you want your watch to rest on your wrist.

What we’ll cover in this article:

The Tools You Need to Measure Your Wrist Size

Truthfully, you only need a few household tools to measure your wrist size for a watch. However, we do recommend purchasing a seamstress measuring tape if you want a very accurate measurement.

That said, you can also use a string or piece of paper to measure your wrist, assuming you have a stiff measuring tape or ruler.

It’s also best to use a measuring device with centimeters or millimeters because most watch bands are sized using millimeters. If this isn’t possible, you can convert inches to millimeters, but this won’t be as accurate.

Things to Considering When Measuring Your Wrist For a Watch

How To Measure Your Wrist Size for Watches with a Seamstress Measuring Tape

  1. Start with your palm open and facing up.
  2. Take the seamstress measuring tape and put the end of the tape at the center of your wrist.
  3. Wrap the tape around your wrist where you want your watch to sit.
    • Make sure that it is snug but not pressing into your skin.
  4. Line the end of the seamstress tape up with the measurement that completes the loop.
  5. Write down the measurements you got.
  6. If needed, convert these to millimeters.
    • This can be done by typing in your measurements on Google.

Measuring Your Wrist Size for Watches without Seamstress Tape

  1. Get a piece of string or cut out a strip of paper that is long enough to wrap around your wrist.
    • You’ll also need to get a ruler or measuring tape and a pen.
  2. Lay down your palm facing up and open on a table.
  3. Take the string or paper strip and wrap it around your wrist.
    • This needs to fit snugly without cutting into your wrist.
  4. Use your pen to mark where the paper or string meets.
  5. Next, lay the string or paper flat on a table and measure it with your ruler or measuring tape.
    • You need your measurement in millimeters for watch bands, so use Google to convert the measurements if needed.
NATO Strap Size for Watches

Using Your Measurements to Find the Perfect Strap

Now that you know how to measure your wrist size for watches, we need to translate this measurement into the different types of watch bands.

Leather Bands

If there is any band type where wrist measurements are a must, it is leather straps. This is because, unlike NATO straps, leather bands having excess length can really detract from the look of a watch.

For this reason, when purchasing a leather band, ensure your wrist measurement is as accurate as possible. Even an extra inch can be too much on leather straps.

It is also worth noting that leather will stretch out over time, so going a few millimeters tighter for leather straps can be a good idea if you plan on using a leather strap every day.

NATO Straps

NATO straps are tricky when it comes to measurements as they wrap under your watch face. For this reason, we recommend adding about an inch or 25mm to your wrist measurement when purchasing a NATO strap.

This extra length will account for the band running under the watch. It is worth noting, however, that NATO straps are supposed to be longer than your wrist length. The excess strap is tucked back under the rings on the strap.

Overall, unless a NATO strap is custom-made, most retailers will sell one-size-fits-all NATO straps.

Nic King

My watch journey started when my dad gave me a quartz watch customized with the company he worked for on the face. From there, it evolved into other quartz watches and eventually to the world of mechanical watches. My first luxury watch was a 1960s vintage Omega, and the collection has only expanded from there.

Keep Reading