Why Do People Wear Watches Upside Down? Several Reasons, Actually

One of the main reasons people wear watches upside down is for protection. 

This is something that I can vouch for. Whenever I buy a new watch, I'm extra careful with my timepiece and wear it upside down for a few days. Of course, habit eventually takes over and I wear it right side up which is what I am used to.

But, there are actually many more interesting reasons why people wear watches upside down.

Let's get right to it!

Protect Your Watch from Damage

Whether your watch is expensive or not, you want to take good care of it. Accidentally dashing it against a table is a possibility. Even if its display was made from Sapphire, it’s not indestructible.

Having the watch on the inside of your wrist reduces chances of it getting banged up. After all, it’s not exposed to the outside as much.

This is a major reason you see military personnel wearing timepieces on the inside of their wrists. You can only imagine how banged up their watch would be getting being right side up, right?

That being said, wearing your watch backwards doesn’t completely save it from damage. You could fall down, slamming your wrist on the ground. Hopefully, you might not be hurt, but most likely, your watch will be.

Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

When the sun hits your watch, you’ll have a beam of light on your wrist. Unless you want it in your eyes, you should wear your watch upside down. Military personnel are usually out in the sun, so this is especially true for them. 

They aren’t the only people who go out in the sun. Sportsman do as well, which is why you’ll see them wearing their watches upside down. 
Let’s not forget that hospitals get pretty bright too. You’ll likely see nurses doing this too. 

Not only do special forces personnel need their watches to be easier to read, light discipline is also very important. 

Light discipline is how well you conceal yourself from the enemy. When rays from the sun or moon hit your watch, not only are you making it harder to read, you’re showing your enemies where you are from miles away. 

person wearing the watch upside down

Make Your Watch Easier to Read

If you’re a mechanic, the inside of your wrist might face you the majority of the time. It’d be a hassle to stop what you’re doing to flip your wrist right-side-up. 

If you’re a painter at work, your arm is raised most of the time as well. Having your watch on the inside of your wrist would mean its dial is always pointing at you. 

As you can see, wearing a watch upside down helps you save valuable time when on the job. Who wouldn’t want that?

Once again, having a watch backwards helps if you’re in the special forces. You don’t want to move too much when holding a rifle. By having the watch on the inside of your wrist, you’ll barely have to move your gun to read the time. 

Make Your Smartwatch Easier to Use

You’re swiping your thumb on a very small screen. By placing your smartwatch backwards, you’re letting your pointer finger do all the work. This works the best for Apple watches.

Do You Want to Seem Rude?

You might know someone who doesn’t fit the above points but still wears their watch upside down.There may be a nice reason for this, actually.

By having your watch tucked away, you won’t be looking at the time unnecessarily. This way, the person you’re talking to won’t feel neglected.

This is why the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, wears his watch on the inside of his wrist.

wrist watch turned upside down

Be Less Impatient

If you’re an impatient person, having your watch the right-side-up is the worst thing you could do. You’ll always see its face and be conscious of the time.

By wearing a watch backwards, you won’t constantly be running from one place to another.

Be A Better Hunter

Wearing a hunting watch on your wrist? Although hunting is not as hard when wearing a watch, you’re not doing yourself a favour by having it on the top of your wrist. Its display is bright, telling animals where you are from miles away. Remember how we mentioned light discipline earlier? It’s the same thing.

This isn’t just true for smartwatches. If your wristwatch has a lot of lume, the same thing applies.

Be Different

Last but not least, wearing your watch on the inside of your wrist helps you stand out. You might have seen people wearing them like this and Googled it. It looks unique.


Let’s wrap things up. People wear watches on the inside of their wrists to protect the device from damage. This is probably the most common reason why watches are worn this way.

If you work in the armed forces, wearing watches backwards is extremely beneficial. From preventing glare to attracting enemy forces, it prevents various mishaps.

There are other reasons for wearing a watch on inside of wrist, like being a better hunter and paying more attention to the people you’re talking with.

If you want more watch facts, check our Facebook out. I regularly update it with great content.

When Thomas Vanderlaan was a child, the moment he learned about mechanical watches he was hooked. His first love being mechanical watches, he decided to pursue a career in engineering as he was entranced by the science behind its gears.
Thomas Vanderlaan
Thomas Vanderlaan
Watch Expert / Automobile Engineer