One great piece of invention that looks simple, elegant, but with a lot of complexity, is a watch. Aesthetically designed as a wearable accessory, it takes the right dimension or size of a watch to wear comfortably on a wrist. That is why we often rightfully get too much concerned about the watch dimensions that goes on our wrists. All watches have specific sizes, and no one size is desirable by everyone. If you hear someone is concerned about the watch band size, then technically and aesthetically, it’s all about the watch lug.
What is a watch lug, anyway?
A watch is technically a complex piece of machinery designed to tell time and appeal to our everyday fashion and dressing style. Featuring a watch case and a strap(band), the watch lug is the incredibly sized part of the watch that connects the two.
A watch lug is a projected part of a watch, attached to the watch case and with the help of a metal spring bar(pin), it flexibly holds the watch band. Some people call watch lugs as horns.
The watch lugs are actually an integral part of the watch case, but most often regarded with minimal attention and it is not always or even mentioned in watch specifications. Note that Pocket watches have no watch lugs.
One thing to consider when shopping or choosing a wristwatch is the band size, and a lug width is very crucial to finding the right strap size for your watch that would fit your wrists.
The shape, the style and the design on a watch lug determine the gorgeous appearance, the comfort, and the look and feel of a timepiece. A watch lug width is the most important watch dimension to check, especially when you are looking for the best watches for small wrists.
What is lug width on a watch?
A watch has 4 lugs, a pair is on the case side at 6 O’clock position and another pair is on the case, at the 12′ O’clock position. Lugs all protrude outward along the 6-12 o’clock vertical line, but the lug distance is the length between lugs along a horizontal line (along the 3 to 9 o’clock).
A lug width is the interior space from one lug to another nearest lug. The space between these nearest lugs, allow the watch strap to be fitted to the watch case with the help of spring bars.
This little space,determine the size of the watch bracelet. Watches with larger straps have larger lug width, while timepieces with slim bands have smaller lug distance.
It always suffice to measure and determine the strap size when choosing a watch, and that is when you will notice the importance of lug width. Some watches don’t even have lugs, because they have integrated bracelets that are not removable or interchangeable.
lug width = lug distance = the largest end of a watch band
What is lug-to-lug on a watch?
This is another watch dimension between lugs, but this time, it is measured along the vertical line along a line through 12 to 6 O’clock. Lug to lug distance is sometimes referred to as the length of the case. But it is the length from the tip of one lug at 6 O’clock position to the tip of another lug beyond 12 O’clock position from the tip of one lug to the matching one on the other side of the case, along the vertical line (12 to 6).
As important as the lug width, this lug length is a critical watch measurement that tells how wide your watch case spans across the top or outside part of your wrist. Generally, most watch manufacturers design watches with an average lug width of 20 mm, from 16 mm to 24 mm.
Very particularly for ladies and men with skinny wrists, you can find wrist watches or some vintage timepieces with smaller watch lug to lug measurement. When choosing the best fitting watch bands, you would need to know the exact strap size. It is the lug distance that tells if you watch has very slim or too large watch strap.
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How to determine lug width for the right watch band size
A watch lug has a lot of influence on the watch’s aesthetics and knowing how to measure the lug distance is very important to picking the best watch that wears so well on your wrists. Here are simple ways how to determine the actual lug size and the correct strap size of your wristwatch.
Using an old watch trap
If you have had a snug fit watch before, remove the strap and measure the dimensions of the ends. This is one easy way to getting the correct strap size and lug width for your watch. If the old strap is a silicone band, use a ruler or tape to determine the width of the ends.
The size of the largest section of the old band gives you the watch lug width. Some watches have leather straps with printed lug width /strap size values on it.
For example, if the vintage Seiko timepiece comes with a leather strap width of 20mm, then this is equivalent to lug size of 20mm. If you observe carefully, these values may be printed on the straps.
Measure the watch lug directly
If you are buying from a local watch dealer, you may just have to move there, pick up the ideal watch and measure the lug width with a ruler or Digital calipers. This is the right method if no information is printed on the strap to help you determine its size.
You just hold a tape or a ruler and measure the watch dimension yourself and select the right band size for it. Take for example, if TAG Heuer formula 1 has a 21,5mm lug width on my ruler, then a 22mm band will fit just perfectly in there.
Get it from the manufacturers site online
Go to the website of the manufactures, and check the watch specifications.The manufacturer of the timepiece may offer dimensions and other details including the lug width of your watch. Another online place where to go is the Watch database – WatchBase.
How to measure lug width with a ruler or tape
One of the more reasons why many people buy watches that are having oversized cases, bands or undersized bands is because they confuse lug size(width) with lug to lug distance. When you confuse this watch dimensions, it is likely you will buy a watch with a case that sticks out beyond your wrist.
If you pass on some amateur watch forums, you may find people stating, for example that the lug to lug distance of a 42mm case watch is 20mm. Some microbrands of watches still don’t understand there’s clear differences between lug width and lug to lug.
Types Of Watch Lugs
Known and being able to identify the different types of lugs is also crucial when collecting watches.
Based on the iconic Rolex Explorer, another lug type was designed. Explorer appears more similar to Speedy lugs, but they are designed straight, featuring rounded and curved edges. Most watch fans even describe it as having squared and geometric appearance. But the design is a little different – Apart from having a straight lug first-sight look, they are pointed. They are designed to be wide near the watch case but the shape get slimmer towards the bracelet.
Shrouded or Hooded Lugs
Here is one watch lug type you wouldn’t find easily in today’s modern timepieces. Watches in this category have two lugs adjacent to each other, with one horizontal bar that holds or fastens the bracelet to the watch case. Seiko and the certain variations of the IWC Da Vinci do incorporate this type of lug. You can also find hooded lugs in some vintage watches from OMEGA and Patek Philippe.
Just as the name describes, Straight lugs are the simplest but straightforward protruded part of the watch case, designed with a modern style. This straight geometric design is suitable for minimalist watches and some modern-style watches The lug may com fatter or thinner, it just depends on how the watch is built. The best brands that make classic watches with straight lugs are Daniel Wellington and Nomos. Check models like Tangente, the Ludwig, and the Ahoi watches.
Speedy or Bombe Lugs
Speedy or Bombeis the most common styles of watch lugs, made by the popular OMEGA Speedmaster. Its has been over 50 years since OMEGA first tried this type of straight attached speedy or bombe lug. When you observe it, you see the Speedy or Bombe lugs are have straight design with a slight inward curvature. The Universal Geneve might have first used it, before Omega, but today you will spot wrists watches with this speedy lugs from many watch manufacturers.
This type of lugs are most found in cushion shaped case watches. They are very common types of lugs in contemporary watches but they look popular in vintage watches for water adventures like diving. One of the vintage dive watches is the vintage Tissot Seastar PR516.
Teardrop lugs are designed and integrated with teardrop shape. this model of lugs are easy to find in vintage watches of IWC, Rolex, , Patek Philippe, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Check this Patek Philippe 1530R Rectangular Watch, with integrated teardrop lug.
Crab Claw Lugs
Longines and Vacheron Constantin vintage watches have this type of watch lugs. The design resemble the shape of a crab claws, with robust curved and tilted(angular) look. found in vintage models are crab claw lugs.
what is the lug width on an apple watch?
The width of lugs for apple watches : A 38mm case Apple Watch takes 22mm apple watch bands while a 42mm case Apple watch goes with the 24mm smartwatch bands. Actually, the Lug width / Buckle width is 24mm/22mm. If you are unsure which Apple Watch size is right for your wrist Check this guide.
What are Rolex lug holes?
Rolex lug holes refer to the holes on each lug of the watch case. These holes hold the spring bar on which the bracelet is attached.
Finally, you understand what is a watch lug, and the various types of watch lugs. When next, you are looking for a watch to buy, pick the lug watch that appeals to your eyes. If you are a collector, the vintage watch lugs may be your best option. Besides that, the next time you are choosing a wrist watch, specially for thin wrist, knowing what is lug width on a watch makes all the difference. The understanding removes confusion and guides you to properly pick the right watch band size that won’t come under sized or large and hanging. There is no regret, sizing your watch based on the lug width and lug distance.