What size watch strap should I get? 3 Easy Steps how to measure Watch band width and length

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What size watch strap should i get for my wrist? The answer lies in how to measure watch band width, length and watch band size. Summarily, measure your watch band width using a watch band sizing tool like millimeter bars, digital calipers, tape or ruler. The most common watch strap size measuring strategy is to stick the calipers between the lug-ends of your watch and you get accurate watch band sizes. The total strap length is the combined watch band lengths of the two straps. The Standard watch band size(particularly lengths) for women are 165mm-180mm while the men’s standard watch band length is in the range 184mm-197mm.


So what size watch band do I need?

I asked this same question 5 years ago when I was looking for a small gorgeous watch that could fit my small wrist. While I search through, I discovered that most people who come to buy wrist watches ask the same question. There is nothing as important as having a watch that fits your wrists, so snugly and comfortably.

The most important determining factors are the wrist circumference, band size and the case diameter. It these factors are considered carefully, that could turn an unattractive timepiece into an elegant looking jewelry if it is worn on the right wrist. In the same way, high-end watches like rolex, gold watches and the luxury diamond watches , will look pretty insane on a man’s wrist if the watch strap and case come over-sized or undersized in dimensions.

Before you pick your best wrist watch, understanding the watch band sizes is key to choosing timepieces with the best fit on wrist. It is very common to have a single watch, with different straps that match different outdoor lifestyles.

Some professional outdoor riders or cyclists, use their best mountain biking watch both for casual everyday wears and also as a sports watch. He can fit in a stainless steel band or leather strap to make the watch have an elegant fashionable looks that matches an office or formal wear.

A silicone or leather or rubber bracelet can make an excellent option when he is going on an outdoor adventure. So if you want to customize your wrist watch for multi-purpose use, or if you are just starting out to pick a new watch for yourself, knowing the watch band sizes makes all the difference.

In this review, we are going to see how to get your wrist watch band sizing and how to select a band width that fits your wrists. I guess you would want to know which wrist a watch should go on(left hand or right hand).


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What Is Watch Band Size?

When you hear of band size, that means the ends of the straps, that gets attached to the buckles around the lugs. How wide the band is, is directly related to the watch case diameter and the lug to lug distance. To better understand it, lets define some watch variables here.

watch Lug

The ‘lug width’ is the internal width or distance between the lugs of the watch. This is the space where the largest portion of the watch strap strap fits. It is best to use a pair of calipers (vernier) or a ruler (a tape measure is may not be very accurate).

Lug to lug distance

It is the distance between the inside of the lugs on the watch head. It is commonly called the Lug width which is the internal distance where the watch strap fits. This means that the best fitting band width size is same as the lug width. This lug to lug distance is also useful when looking for a replacement watch strap, hoping it fits the internal dimensions.

The lug-to-lug size is not always mentioned in most reviews unless provided by the brands. Since most reviews feature a greater part of watches that haven’t been handled , one cannot determine or mention the lug-to-lug size for all watches except the ones on hands-on reviews. It is left for individuals to measure the distance by themselves.

Watch wear

Shape, length and angle of the lugs, material and shape of strap/bracelet, and caseback, determine the way how a watch fits on a man’s wrist. The lug-to-lug size is helpful, especially for people with smaller wrists. However, as long as the watch brands do not provide users this information, there is no need to rely on it for measurement parameter whether a watch would fit nicely on wrist or not.

How comfortable a watch wears, or sits on your wrist, cannot be described with numbers. There are watches that users feel its bigger on wrist while it has smaller lug to lug length. So the lug to lug number gives the watch user a tangible estimate of band size – how wide the strap is on wrist. This can tell how the watch wears on your wrist. For example a A 36mm diameter watch with a wider lug-to-lug looks very suitable for larger wrists, but a 36mm watch with small lugs to lug wide is not going to look great on bigger wrist.

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Band width size  = lug width.

 What Size Watch Band Do I Need for my wrist watch?

The size of your watch band or watch strap is the width of the band. Because people have different arm sizes(large, medium, small or extra thin wrists), watch companies make watches in many different case and strap sizes.

One common reason why strap sizes are never the same is that men don’t have same arm dimension as women – a man has larger wrists than a woman. So when it comes to watches, you would often find that the width of the watch bracelet varies.

To determine the appropriate watch band size for your watch:


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 How to measure  wrist size for watches

Let us start with steps how how to determine wrist size dimensions for watches with comfortable watch with Straps & Bracelets.

If you are going to have to pick the best watch with the right and comfortable band size for your wrist, there are several factors to consider and measuring your wrist size is the first step. There are just few easy steps how to measure your wrist size.

Here are few ways how to measure your wrist size or wrist circumference using a measuring tape or ruler.

Using tape as a wrist dimension measuring tool is super cheap and gets to measure your wrist size easily and perfectly.if you have got no tape for measuring your wrist size for a watch or a bracelet, visit a local tailors. Their tapes are kind of flexible ruler for measuring purposes.

1. Open your hand wide so it looks largest

Opening your hand palm looks up makes your wrist look biggest.

2. Turn your palm to face upward

Rotating your arm outward also make wrist largest. Any position of your arm, other than this, makes your wrist slightly smaller than the actual size.

3. Wrap your wrist with the tape.

Place the measuring tape in the middle of your wrist.It should fit snugly and firmly but not too tightly, where your wrist bone is located.

4. Read the tape

Find your wrist size by reading the value(size) on the measuring tape(in inches or centimetres -cm).You can read the wrist size measure in millimetre, centimetres or inches. But since ,most tapes or rulers have inches and centimetre(cm), you are going to Convert value to units you understand better(cm to mm or inches to mm).

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How to measure your wrist without a measuring tape

If you have no flexible measuring tape, there’s no need to worry, because here’s the alternative wrist sizing strategy.

1. wrap a piece of string on wrist.

I recommend fabric string as they are more comfortable, so soft and flexible than paper. You should make sure that it fit your wrist snugly. However, a paper can still get the job done. Cut a piece of paper to be long with a rectangular shape and Wrap the sheet of the cut-out paper on your arm.

2. Mark where the string or paper meets

Make a mark where the piece of paper meets the other end.

3. Use a tape of ruler

Then measure the length of the string or paper using a ruler or your sewing tape.

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How to measure watch band Size – Accurate Watch strap sizing technique

After measuring your wrist size, let us go find out how to determine your watch strap size. Now, how can you tell the size of a watch band or how can you measure watch lug width?

If your watch has a leather band for example, you can choose to measure the dimension in inches or millimeters(mm). There are many ways to find the lug width of a watch, and the best thing is, you can do it yourself(DIY) at home using any of the following methods below.

Wait, does it means you are going to go into watch shop and measure the size of every watch band? Not really, I guess you have had wrist watches before, and there certainly was one that fit your current wrist circumference so comfortably and beautifully. Take the watch out and measure the band size.

To get accurate watch band measures or your watch strap sizes, you’ll need watch band sizing tools like a Vernier caliper or a ruler or tape. You can take the  record in millimeters or inches, so here’s how to measure a watch band by yourself.


watch band sizing techniques - how to size watch bracelet - How to Measure Lug Width for Your Watch or Watch Strap

Related: Reason why people wear watches on their right hand


1.  How to measure watch strap size with Digital Calipers

A caliper is the simplest, fastest and most accurate way how to measure lug width for your watch or watch Strap. There are different types of calipers but the easy to read is the digital calipers.

How to measure watch band lug width by using a calipers.

Follow these steps to start measuring watch band size of your watch.

  • This method is one of the best strategies to get an accurate strap size. All you need is to:
  • insert the calipers in the space between the lugs
  • expand the calipers until they come in contact with the lugs.
  • Approximate up the values

It is better you round up the values to the nearest whole number. This gives your watch, some slight flexibility on wrist. A flexible watch band does not easily generate itching and scratches on your wrist. This is particularly true if the watch strap is leather.

If its not leather strap, I am pretty confidence you would have to round down the values for Plastic or rubber bands since they may expand with time. However, depending on your lifestyle, it’s better to wear a watch with tighter bracelet rather than having loose.

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Guide to Watch Band Sizing - how to measure watch lug width


2. How to measure watch band size with a ruler OR measuring Tape

If you don’t have a digital calipers to determine watch strap size, a ruler is another common Watch strap sizing tool you can use. This Watch strap sizing technique depends on the graduation scale on your ruler. You would need to convert the values to scale that you best understand. here’s how to measure watch band width using a tape or ruler.

  • Place your standard ruler with zero mark on one lug.
  • read the position of the other lug on the ruler.

When measuring the distance between the lugs with a standard ruler, in addition to rounding up or down the values to nearest whole number. you’ll also need to convert the size from inches to millimeters. A sizing chart can help you calculate the strap size in units you are familiar with. Look at the video below how to measure your watch for a new strap.

My personal experience has proven that the band width of the watch takes about 50% to 55% of the watch case size diameter. In effect, the band width of your wrist watch is highly determined by the lug to lug distance ( that is the space between the lug ends of your watch).

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Watch Band Pins Replacement Kit, Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Watch Spring Bars with Watch Strap Remove Toolhow to measure watch band width - What size watch strap should I get? 3 Easy Steps how to measure Watch band width and length

Watch Band Pins Replacement Kit, Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Watch Spring Bars with Watch Strap Remove Tool.

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How to measure watch band  pins

A watch band pin, also known as spring bars or spring pins  are the tiny metallic pins that flexibly holds your watch strap attached to the watch case. It is very flexible to allow the watch band material move round freely around the watch case or on wrist.

If you find all watch sizing measuring guide above really disturbing to measure, there is one simple way to measure the dimension of your watch band or strap. You just need to know the length of the pin.

So if you can’t measure the inside lug width (lug to lug distance) ,  just determine the correct lug pin size with a ruler, digital gauge or tape.  The reason is simple –  a 20 mm long watch band pin or spring bar will exactly fit a 20mm lug width, which will perfectly hold a 19mm – 20mm wide watch band.

You will need to get watch lug pin length if you have to replace a damaged spring bar. Sometimes, you may purchase a watch which mistakenly didn’t come with any spring pin beside the watch case. In that case, you need the  right size spring bar.

The following guide will show you how to measure for watch band pins length with digital gauge or calipers.

1. Set the Digital gauge or calipers

Since watch pins are so tiny, a digital calipers is the best measuring device or tool to accurate and quickly know the height. First Expand or open the gauge or calipers jaws so that it is wider than the pin height.

2. Place the spring bar between the caliper jaws

Hold up the watch pin so that it is between the opened jaws of the calipers. The pin won’t fit in if the jaws isn’t wide enough.

3. Close the jaws

Gently close the calipers jaws until they meet the ends of the watch lug pin. Make sure the jws hold the pin firmly but not too tightly, else you get the bar bend.

4. Read the Gauge

The digital calipers will give you a measurement in millimeters. If you are comfortable with inches, you convert the pin size into inches.

5. Release the watch band pin

Open back the jaws of the calipers to take out the watch lug pin.


Here is a video how to easily get the height of a watch strap pin measured.

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Here’s how to measure watch band pins height with a tape or ruler.

  1. This method is useful if you don’t have a calipers
  2. 2. pick up a tape or rule with a millimeter scale
  3. Bring the watch band spring pin near the measuring tool, on the side having the millimeter values
  4. Make sure one of the 2 thinner portions at the end of the spring bar is at zero(0) Mark of the tape, while the pin shaft lies along the ruler.
  5. Take the reading, where another thin portion of the pin ends



How to measure watch band length

How to I find What length watch strap is right for me? The answer lies in how to measure watch band length. There are some tips to avoid errors when measuring band length. You are advised to only measure the strap parts, do not include the buckle or the pins. That is measured differently.

However, You can detach the strap from the buckles or from the watch completely if need be. The method below works for any bracelets whether it is Leather, Nylon , silicone, Rubber or stainless steel metallic strap.

Method one: To get an accurate watch strap length,

  • lay your watch band on the table.
  • Place your tape on the band material with zero mark on one end of the strap
  • Read and round down the value

Method two : To measure your watch band lengths;

  • get your wrist size(use any method as shown above)
  • measure the watch head size
  • Total watch strap length = your wrist size measurement – Minus your watch head measurement

When that’s done, you’ll see how  your wrist size correlates with the strap size.

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How to choose the right and snug fitting band for your watch

While you know how to measure your wrist for a watch band, and how to install watch band into your new watch, you also need to know how to buy watch bands. Get me right here, it is pretty hard to find watch bands for replacement. Many people make mistakes and pick plus size watch bands for skinny wrists, that is weird.

Don’t compromise watch band selection and strap sizing techniques if you are going to want to  have a watch that wears comfortable and looks gorgeous on your wrist. Even if you are fixing an old watch or buying a new timepiece, when it comes to looking at the band, all things in this guide apply.

There are some considerations to choosing the right watch strap with the right band size – width and length. So what should you look at when shopping for a replacement band?

1. You wrist size or circumference

Watches with extra large or wider bands aren’t going to look attractive on small wrists. So, if you already know the dimension of the area round your wrist bone, you probably now know if you have thin wrist, medium or large wrists. If you are small wrist, pick a watch band that is narrower with a small  width.  Alternately, people with large wrist should choose watch straps that are wider – over 20mm. Check out these Best watches with straps for small wrist.

2. Pick the right watch band size

You must know the correct band size -width and length if your watch should wear comfortably. Check above how to measure watch band size -width. Know that the space between your watch lugs is almost the same length of the watch band pin(spring bar) and the actual width of the strap. You should also note that having wrong watch band sizing values means you get a strap that is too big or too tight and won’t fit at all. Don’t just take bracelet lug width sizes as you see in websites. Please pick a ruler, tape or any other modern watch band measurement tool and do it yourself or meet a local watch expert near you.

3. Get the right watch strap length

You must know your own standard length that will fit wrist well. But first, you must measure the size of your wrist with a soft tape or indirectly using a piece of paper around your wrist. You wrist size must be less than the least total length you ideal watch must have. You know a watch has two bands, one shorter strap with a buckle and the other strap is longer with band holes.

If you are guided on-line, you may come across watch band lengths written as 120/75mm. The first value(120mm) depicts the longest half of the watch band – the one with holes while the other half with buckles takes 75mm. What I meant earlier is that your wrist size must be few mm or inches less than the actual total band length 195mm(120mm + 75mm).

4. Strap accessories

Watch straps can’t go well without pins and buckles. I guess you won’t like to end up picking a beautifully designed watch band that comes without buckles. Also make sure that the buckle material and color blend nicely with your watch case If you have a  watch with stainless steel case, you are going to need a replacement strap that has stainless steel buckles and pins. Check carefully for other watch case colors like gold, rose gold and silver toned watches.

5. Select the best and the right repair tools

Watch band are the frequently changing part of a wrist watch and you may likely attempt to change it the first day your purchase arrives. When you need to change a watch strap, use a spring bar tool to remove it. Check on Amazon or any other watch band companies to replacement straps for your watch. When you purchase a watch from some manufacturers, the timepiece may arrive with watch lug pin included, in that case you got lucky. We recommend you buy your own watch repair tool kit, except that your watch has quick-release straps that don’t use a spring bar tool.

6. Watch Strap material

What material should your watch strap take?. You often would find watches with silicone, rubber, nylon, crocodile strap , calf leather stamped , top-notch leather and steel metal bands. What you pick depends on your lifestyle in the outdoor. Finally, you can always have more than one watch strap and you interchange them like when you are taking your professional outdoor sports watch to wear in different occasions like business meetings and formal outings.

7. Strap thickness

The thickness of the strap is one important factor not to ignore when picking out a watch strap for outfit pairing. I think a a 5mm thick watch band will look insane on a thick wrist watch for dressing. Likewise, a thin leather band that is only 2mm thick does not fit rightly on an 18mm thick marine dive watch. 

8. You kind of wrist Watch

Dive watches are in constant contact with water. Buying a watch for diving means its strap must be durable, waterproof, and very versatile. It has been experienced in the water sports sector that plastic – Nylon NATO straps are water resistant than leather. Rubber band are also very waterproof, easy to clean and flexible. If you job does not need you come close to water, a leather strap will work just fine – like for construction workers. If you are a professional diver,  thicker straps are great options for dive watches.

If you want to buy a chronograph watch, leather is good material for a strap. These kind of watches have just little water resistance.

Outdoor Field watches like  Pilot Watches, paramedic(nurses) EMT watches and watches for firefighters must be durable and easy to clean. The best watch band material for such timepieces are silicone, stainless steel, Canvas and nylon. I prefer leather for an everyday casual style.

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Gender based watch band size chart

The process of determining watch band sizes can be made easy with watch bands size chart. This could be s straight forward method if you already know few details like your wrist sizes and watch case diameter.

Let us see how the the watch band sizes vary for men and women. Keep in mind that men’s wrist are generally bigger than ladies wrists, so the watch band sizing would not be the same.

1. men’s standard band length classification

  • Extra Small strap Dimension range:  < 6.00”
  • Small strap Dimension range:  6.25” – 7.00”
  • Medium strap Dimension range:  7.00” – 8.00”
  • Large strap Dimension range:   8.00” – 8.75”
  • Extra – wide Strap Size :   8.75” – 9.25”

2. women’s standard watch band length classification.

  • Extra Small strap:  < 5.50”
  • Small band Size:   5.75” – 6.50”
  • Medium band dimension:  6.50” – 7.25”
  • Large band size:  7.25” – 8.00”

To further help you measure the watch band and length size of  your watch, download this watch band sizing chart to guide you



What’s the Right Watch Straps and Bracelets for your Wrist?

You already know your wrist circumference, then  what is the right watch band sizing for your wrist?

Watch strap Size(mm)Your Wrist Size ( mm)Your Wrist Size ( Inches)
120/70 mm150 – 164 mm6 – 6.5″
125/75 mm165 – 178 mm6.6  – 7.0″
130/80 mm179 – 190 mm7.1 – 7.5″
135/85 mm191 – 203 mm7.6 – 8.0″
140/85 mm204 – 216 mm8.1 – 8.5″
145/90 mm217 – 229 mm8.6 – 9.0″

Download this watch band sizing chart to guide you


Watch band size chart converter(mm <=> inches)

After you are done measuring your wrist size, lug width, band length, you can now use the conversion chart below if you want to change the units to one that you understand best. If you don’t have a ruler or calipers, you can easily just guess your band sizes from this inches and millimeter settings. Converting from mm to inches or from inches to mm is going to help you easily understand how big a 20mm watch band could be.

Watch band size in Millimeters(mm)Watch strap size in Inches

Download this watch band sizing chart to guide you




1. What Size Watch Band Do I Need then?

Watch band measuring has no fit-all rule, but what i understand is that your wrist dimension and how long, thick or wide your watch band is, will make your wrist watch either appear insane, over-sizes, under-sized or elegant with a comfortable fit on wrist. In addition to the strap sizing techniques above, some experts and style guides suggest that a approximate watch bracelet size should be close to half the width of the case’s diameter. This suggestion means that for a Case Diameter of 36mm, the watch bracelet sizing should be near 18mm. You can expect to be measuring watch band width of 20mm if the watch Case Diameter is 40mm.


2. how to measure a metal watch band

For Watches with metal band, the procedure applies. You can measure the metal bang length with a measuring tape but for precision purposes, you should not include the buckle. Another way is to use your wrist size minus your watch head dimension to get the total metallic watch band length. Since metal watch bracelets can be adjusted, a too long band can be shortened to values closest to your wrist size. The men’s watch band length for metallic strap watches often fall in the range 7.25” – 7.50”. For ladies, the most common watch strap size(length) or women standard band length falls in between 6.00” – 6.50”.

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3. What is lug distance?

The lug distance is the maximum width of the space between the two lugs on the watch head. The lug distance is the distance between two lugs and this value determines how wide your watch strap is going to appear on your arm. Small wrist require narrower lug width and therefore small band sizes. You can also choose a watch with a smaller band width than the lug distance. The downside of having a watch bracelet sizing less than lug width is that, it is not going to look great on your wrists.


4. Is there a way how to get bigger wrists for large band size watches?

Yes, you can take exercises to get your forearm and wrist bigger. When you have small wrist, it is either you lack muscles or you have small wrist bone. If you have little muscles, you are lucky – with good forearm workout tools, you can grow your wrist muscles and wear large face watches. If your thin wrists is as a result of tiny wrist bone, there is nothing much to do about it. You would just need to accept your body build and do more fitness workouts to increase your arm strength. There are many home workouts or exercise that make the forearm bigger.

Try out these tools to grow your forearm muscles

  • use hand grip strengthener
  • do pull-up exercises
  • Use dumbbells
  • Go to gym and lift weights

For more on how to get thicker wrist check out how to get bigger wrists with forearm workout equipments


5. Do Apple watch bands fit large wrists?

If you are a fan of Apple watches and have large wrist, you won’t get some trouble finding a comfortable apple watch band for bigger wrist.  Comfortably fitting or the  best Apple Watch bands in the market are cheaper and affordable.


6. Is the 44mm Apple watch too big for a woman?

A 44mm apple watch bracelet does not appear great on a female wrist. Since women have small wrists as compared to men, I think a 40mm apple watch band will rightly fit ladies. 44mm looks bulky and large. A man with very thin wrist can also go for a 40mm apple watch with small band size. Be careful when under sizing down to 38mm, else the watch looks kiddy on your wrist. I don’t even think a woman can wear 42mm watch without it hanging.


7. What is the best watch strap length for a smaller wrist?

Short watch straps are good replacement bands for people with slender wrist sizes. For slightly smaller wrist, a watch band length around 300mm can fit 6 inches wrists. It is also common to see NATO straps  270mm long, which suits shortest wrist sizes about 5.75 inches (146mm). However, according to experts, a majority of watch bands fit wrists with sizes within 6.75 inches up to 9.5 inches if we consider a lug to lug distance of 48mm. Straps for 5 inches wrist may be suitable for teenagers and kids, you just need to try it out.


8. What is the best tools for  changing a watch band?

If you want tools for changing a strap or  fixing  broken strap loop, there are many pretty basic tools you can use to change a watch strap. You can also use them to remove your watch bracelet and lug pins(spring bar) tools. You will often here people call them as watch strap removal tool, watch pin tool ,  Burgeon tool. The stainless steel watch band tools look like a pencil that you can use to push out spring bars or bracelets on watches or buckles.

We recommend

If you want how to change a strap without a spring bar tool,  use a very small knife or a small screwdriver. They are pretty cheap than these tools, so you can go for it if you are tight on budget.


7. What side do you wear a watch?

Most people wear watches on the less dominant hand. Most Men are generally know to wear watches on the left hand while ladies wear their women watches on the right. But a left handed man would wear his watch on the right wrist which is the non dominant. Right handed people wear watches on the left hand which is the non dominant arm.

We have seen how to measure wrist for watch band, and we have also seen how to take lug width, band width and  strap length. Even with the best watch and a comfortable watch band, what hand does your watch go on? Check this post on which wrist a watch should be worn. Is it left wrist for you as a man or right arm for you as a woman?.


how to change watch band and how to determine watch band size


Wrap Up

That is it for how to measure watch band size – width and length. Hope you found our watch band measurement guide easy to  use, to accurately get measure for watch band dimensions. If you have not yet mastered it, feel free to go back and try it out again how to determine your watch band sizes. You are advised to repeat this process whenever you are going to pick a new watch.

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