Curious about which size watch strap you should get? This guide will help you find the right one for your wrist.
While straps are often pitched as one-size-fits-all, the truth isn’t so straightforward. If your wrist is smaller than average, you’ll likely run into problems with strap sizing.
Standard length straps can be too big for people with small wrists, which usually results in an unsightly excess of fabric that must be tucked away. Depending on the strap, this can be easy or hard, but one thing’s for sure: it’s not ideal.
On the other hand, if your wrist is larger than average, you might find that most straps are too tight, which is just as unideal.
Strap size is so important, but it doesn’t get talked about all that much. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide, so read on to learn the ins and outs of strap sizing.
How to Measure a Watch Strap
There are two key measurements here: strap width and length.
The strap width corresponds with the space between the watch’s lugs, otherwise known as lug width.
Typically, this measurement will range from 18mm to 22mm, with the even-numbered sizes being more common than the odd sizes.
Since this is the more common measurement, you’ll often find people talking about straps in terms of their length. If someone says “a 20mm strap,” they mean a strap that’s 20mm wide.
The strap length is the measurement of the whole strap from top to tail.
For one-piece straps, the total length is measured, resulting in one measurement (e.g., 200mm).
For two-piece straps, it’s typical to use two measurements: one for the buckle side and one for the tail (long) side. (The buckle itself is not included in the measurement).
A two-piece measurement is usually written as tail side/buckle side (e.g., 110/70mm).
While strap width needs to match the width of the lugs, strap length needs to reflect the circumference of your wrist.
Also, strap width doesn’t impact strap length, so you don’t need to worry about how they affect each other. You can find long 18mm straps just as easily as short 24mm straps.
Strap measurements are usually written in millimeters, but sometimes you’ll see strap length measurements written in either centimeters or inches. For this guide, we’ll be using millimeters across the board.
Which Strap Size Should I Get for My Wrist?
As with case size, strap size depends on a mixture of measurements and preferences.
The easiest way to know which strap length is right for you is to measure a well-fitting strap you already own. If you don’t have a strap that fits you well, don’t worry — there’s a simple formula you can use.
In most cases, you want your straps to be about 115% of your wrist circumference.
You can find this measurement by taking your wrist width in millimeters and multiplying it by 1.15.
For example, if your wrist is 6.5” around, it’s roughly 165mm. Multiply that millimeter figure by 1.15 to get a total desired length of about 190mm.
For ease of reference, round to the closest multiple of five. Let’s say you have a 6.4” wrist, which is about 162.5mm. Multiplying that by 1.15 gives you 186.875, so you’d round down to 185.
This length gives you enough strap to work with while ensuring you don’t have too much or too little.
You do have some wiggle room, but you’ll usually come close to one of the standardized sizes. As a general rule, you’ll want to be within 5% either way (110% to 120%).
Depending on your wrist size and proportions, you might be able to get away with a margin of error that’s closer to 10%, but 5% is a safer bet.
Strap Sizes Table
Here’s a complete table of wrist sizes and their corresponding strap lengths.
|5.0” to 5.5”||127mm to 140mm||155mm (95/60mm)|
|5.6” to 6.0”||142mm to 152mm||175mm (110/65mm)|
|6.1” to 6.5”||155mm to 165mm||190mm (120/70mm)|
|6.6” to 7.0”||168mm to 178mm||200mm (125/75mm)|
|7.1” to 7.5”||180mm to 191mm||210mm (130/80mm)|
|7.6” to 8.0”||193mm to 203mm||220mm (135/85mm)|
|8.1” to 8.5”||206mm to 216mm||235mm (145/90mm)|
Keep in mind that these are standardized figures, so you may find that you have to size up or down (especially if you’re close to either end of a range).
Many strap makers offer custom lengths, so you’re not just limited to the sizes shown here. However, the lengths listed here are the most common. They’re not entirely universal, but you see them a lot when shopping for straps.
Slightly smaller or bigger straps may still fit you, but sticking close to these figures will allow for the most ideal fit. Then again, you might find that it’s not that big of a deal to have a strap that’s not perfectly sized. Like strap size in general, the acceptable size range depends on your preference.
Taper or No Taper?
When it comes to strap width, you also need to think about tapering.
A tapered strap decreases in length as it moves away from the lugs. Usually, the difference is about 2-4mm.
By contrast, straight straps are the same width from top to tail.
While tapering won’t influence the length, it will affect how the watch looks on your wrist. A tapered strap tends to make the watch case look bigger, and a straight strap tends to make the case look smaller.
Generally, tapered straps are better for smaller case sizes, while straight straps are better for larger case sizes. However, this depends on the taper’s severity and the strap’s overall width.
This is another decision that will ultimately be influenced by personal taste. Most tapered straps have a fairly gentle taper, so you usually don’t have to worry, but it’s good to know as much as possible in advance.
Before buying a strap, find out whether it’s tapered or straight. If it’s tapered, find out the size of the taper.
That’s All You Need To Know About Strap Sizing
Finding a watch strap that suits your wrist isn’t hard when you know what to look for. Now, you just have to choose which kind of strap you want!
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!