How to Measure Your Watch Band for the Perfect Fit

GMT-OCEAN BLACK Ceramic

Watch straps only come in four sizes: short, standard, long, and extra long. That should make it easy to find the perfect fit for your hand, right?

Wrong.

It turns out that watch straps are a little bit more complicated than that. Measuring your watch band is necessary to ensure that replacement straps fit just as well as or better than the existing strap. Doing so helps you to get the lug width and strap length just right.

The process of measuring your watch band is easy and fun. Strap on, grab a string, ruler, or calipers if you have them, and let's do this. 

What is the Perfect Fit on a Watch Band?

You would be surprised at how many people don’t know how to wear a watch right even when it feels or looks wrong. For example, should you wear your watch below or above the wrist bone? Do you know how big the bands should be in relation to your wrist?

The following guidelines reflect the general consensus on what is considered the ideal fit for a watch.

  1. Your watch should be tight enough to allow only one finger under the strap. 
  2. You should wear your watch just above the wrist bone.  
  3. The strap width should be roughly half the case width. If you have thick wrists, aim for a thicker strap to achieve balance and vice versa.
  4. The tail of your watch band shouldn’t need a secondary keeper if it is properly sized. According to expert watch strap maker Michael Knapp of Strap a Watch, the tail should only extend ¼” - ⅝’ past the main keeper, unless you prefer otherwise. 
  5. The choice of a straight end versus a curved end on the strap is up to your personal preferences. However, a tapered strap tends to favour smaller wrists and small watches.

Common Watch Band Sizes Chart

Watch band makers do not make it easy for buyers to find the right band size. For starters, the standard watch band classifications provide little information to help the average buyer.

This chart with common watch band sizes and classifications should help you get started.

Watch Band Length Sizing Chart

Apart from the general watch band size classifications, the length of watch straps is expressed in two numbers. The first and the larger one represents the length of the tail section, while the other smaller number is the length of the buckle section.

Watch Band Size Classification Watch Band Length in Inches Band Size in Millimeters Women’s Watch Band Sizes
Regular/standard length 7 ¼” to 7 ½” 120 mm/80 mm 6 ½” to 6 ⅖”
Short/small length 6 ½” to 6 ¾” 110 mm/70mm 5 ¾” to 7 ⅕”
Long length 8 ¼” to 8 ½” 130 mm/90 mm 7 ¼” to 8”
Extra-long length 9 ¼” to 9 ½” Above 130 mm/90 mm

Not all manufacturers abide by this convention. Some watch band makers such as Hirsch have their strap sizes ranging from medium to extra-large, but the strap length remains largely the same. 

Watch Band Width Chart

Watch bands are also sized by their lug width. The most common widths range from 18mm to 28 mm (5/16” to 1 1/10”). Sellers and manufacturers prefer to present strap width in millimeters, as this conversion chart will show.

Strap Width in Millimeters Strap Width in Inches
18 11/16”
19 ¾”
20 25/32”
21 13/16”
22 ⅞”
24 15/16”
26 1”
28 1 1/10”

The width of the strap can go as low as 6mm to as large as 30mm. To convert other lengths to and from the metric system (mm), simply multiply or divide by 25.4, respectively. 

How to Measure Watch Band Sizes

Measuring your wrist size and watch case gives you the band length and width dimensions that you need to find the ideal strap for your watch.

The tools you will need to use in either case are simple: a piece of nylon string, a standard ruler calibrated in inches and centimeters, and optional digital calipers. 

Measuring the Strap Length

If you have the old straps that fit perfectly, here is what to do.

  1. Take out the straps from the watch by depressing the spring bar. Use a spring bar tool, knife, or other sharp tool for this.
  2. Lay out the straps on a flat surface with the lug ends touching. 
  3. Using the centimeter side on your ruler, measure the distance from the tail end to the point where the buckle is connected but don’t include the length of the buckle. This measurement gives you the exact size of the strap in inches.
  4. Alternatively, you can easily measure the distance from the ends of each strap in millimeters. This will give you the length of the tail side plus the buckle side.

If you need to measure from scratch:

  1. Take the piece of string and wrap it loosely around your wrist at the same spot where you would wear your watch. Mark where the two ends of the string meet.
  2. Lay out the string on a flat surface and use the ruler to measure the distance from one end to the other. This is your total wrist size or diameter.
  3. The next step is to find the lug-to-lug length of the watch case and subtract it from the total wrist diameter. You can do this by using the ruler or calipers.
  4. Total wrist size minus length of watch case gives you the ideal strap length.

What this measurement gives you is the ideal length of the strap to the hole on the strap where you expect the prong to go. In practice, the measurement won’t be so precise, so adding an inch or two to the number you get here will give you the right number.

Measuring the Strap Width

As we have mentioned before, the width of your strap is the same as the lug width of your watch.

AlphaShark - Black & Orange Watch Strap
AlphaShark - Black & Orange Watch Strap

The strap should fit snugly between the lugs with no excess space. According to the table above, the lug width should be a nice round number such as 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, and so on.

In addition, the band type you want to buy will affect the size of strap you choose. 

Measuring the Perfect Pass-Through Strap Size

Pass-through or slip-through straps go under the watch to cover the whole wrist, so you won’t need to subtract the watch case length from your wrist size. However, an extra length of material is threaded through the watch to hold the watch in place.

The total length of the pass-through strap should be about 1” or 25 mm larger than your wrist size to account for this extra material. 

Measuring for a Leather Band

A leather strap is the quintessential option for a dress watch, which is also why it’s the perfect gift choice for watch lovers. You should allow for 2cm or about an inch more than the total length of the straps and watch case.

When sizing leather watch bands, defer to the measurements of the existing leather strap whenever possible. This will give you the exact size of your watch strap with a lesser possibility of ending up with a short strap.

Finding quality leather and slip-through watch bands is not so easy, though. BluShark straps are designed for extreme durability, soft-fit comfort, and a delightful texture.

More importantly, our online shop gives you complete sizing information to ensure that you choose the right option for the perfect fit. 

Measuring for Straps With a Deployant Clasp

Sizing a watch with a deployant clasp is very similar to any other watch strap, but with two important differences.

The first is that the length of the clasp itself is not factored in the total length of the strap. Secondly, these clasps tend to have a shortening effect on the strap, so you will want to err on the longer side when choosing the ideal fit.

Measuring for a Metal Bracelet

Metal bracelets are worn a little looser than pass-through or leather straps to allow for more fluidity in movement. For this reason, the length of the bracelet and watch case should be one centimeter larger than your wrist measurement.

Measure your wrist using a tailor’s tape measure or a string to get an accurate wrist measurement for a metal bracelet. Most new bracelets do have some removable links for resizing, but it’s best to stick to the sizing guide for minimal inconveniences. 

Order the Right Size of Watch Strap Online

Sizing your watch strap perfectly is deceptively simple, isn’t it? Manufacturers and sellers don’t make it easy as well, but now you should be ready to order watch bands online.

If you get it wrong, the strap will have plenty of room for adjustment. Where you can’t afford to err, though, is on the quality of your watch strap.

Poor quality straps just feel and look wrong, not to mention that they can chafe and irritate your skin. Get all your watch straps from BluShark Straps and be assured of top quality every time.



Featured Image from: Pxhere by Adolph Cabañas

Related Posts


Katrina McKinnon
Katrina McKinnon

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.