wearing two watches

Wearing Two Watches: Why Not? (with 5 Notable Examples)

In Watch Guides by TSW Staff

Here is the deal: you just saw somebody on the subway (or on television) wearing two watches. And now you can’t stop thinking: is that okay? Why would someone wear a watch on both wrists? What about wearing two watches on one wrist? Is there any symbolism?

You can wear a watch on both wrists. You can also wear two watches on one wrist. You can do so for style, sentimental reasons, or as a powerful reminder. Some activities may require the use of two watches for safety reasons. And you can wear a smartwatch or activity tracker and a regular watch at the same time.

Can you wear a watch on both wrists?

Yes, you can. And there are many reasons why you would want to do so!

For style

This is the first that comes to mind when you think of wearing a watch on both wrists, right? In this case, mixing and matching will give the best results.

You could wear:

  • a vintage, delicate mechanical watch on one wrist and a modern tool watch on the other one
  • an analog piece and an electronic watch
  • a very simple, subdued piece and a bigger watch with more wrist presence (just make sure you pick the right watch size for your wrist)
  • a watch that belongs to you and one that belongs (or belonged) to somebody else – read later in this article
  • [insert your own reason]

Really, there is not a single reason – nor a right reason – why you would want to wear two watches. If you feel it looks good, or that you just want to do it, don’t be shy and wear two watches!

As a tool

Not all watches are created equal. Some are really delicate pieces that can tell the time, while others are rugged watches that take a beating while having a lot of features.

The thing is: not all watches do the same things, but you might want to have all those things available at once.

For example, you could want to have 3 to 5 times zones available at once. That is particularly true if you work across multiple time zones, coordinating the work of many freelancers around the world. Or if you’re a day trader and want to track the time of every major marketplace around the globe.

Or might need an ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) watch and at the same time a radio-controlled watch. This might be the case when you are exploring the world and want all the information at once, without having to rely on your smartphone (or any other tool, for that matter).

Of course, you could use a world clock on your computer. You could check the information you’re looking for on the Internet. But what if you want to have those time zones and information available at your wrist and at all times? What if you don’t want to rely on heavier and more fragile technology?

In that case, wearing two watches makes total sense.

For safety reasons

Some jobs or activities are dangerous. And you need to make sure to be able to tell the time at any point, without the fear of your watch being damaged or stopping working.

The first activity that comes to mind is professional (saturation) diving. Some of these professionals like to have two watches when they dive.

  • One is a dive computer (a device used to measure the time and depth of a dive so that a safe ascent profile can be calculated and displayed so that the diver can avoid decompression sickness – Wikipedia)
  • The other could bean analog mechanical dive watch

Many other jobs (like law enforcement, security, soldiers, …) may require to be able to tell the time at any moment; they could decide to wear two watches as well

The point is: should one watch fail, the other one serve as a backup, keeping them safe.

To track your activity and enjoy a traditional watch at the same time

Picture this: you enjoy traditional watches and want to keep track of your activity all day long. What do you do? Also, why choose between the convenience of a smartwatch and the style of an analog watch? 

The trend is not new: many people like to wear smartwatches for all their features or to wear any kind of activity tracker to monitor how their day (and health) is going. Pebble watch, Apple Watch, Fitbit, Mi Band, or any activity tracker: pick your favorite.

Because you want to enjoy more than one watch at the same time

Some people have a large watch collection. So picking only one watch to wear for the whole day might become a real pain in the neck.

But why should it be that way? Why not maximize the time you enjoy your precious timepieces? Why not let go of mental constructs and enjoy more watches at the same time? This is a perfectly fine reason. And if others don’t like it, well… everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But I bet that most of the time, people will be curious and ask: why are you wearing two watches? This makes for a great conversation starter (not that you need one, but there you go).

Can you wear two watches on one wrist?

Again: of course, you can!

If you want (or need- to wear two watches, there is no reason why you should wear them separately on your two wrists. It actually may make more sense to wear them on a single wrist – if you need a wrist or arm to be clear from all accessory, for example.

Now, remember that wearing two watches on one wrist may scratch or damage them. Most watches are made of metal. And two metal pieces colliding all day long into each other will for sure make dings and nicks appear.

This is true even you wear a metal watch and a rubber or plastic watch (or activity tracker). Over time, the two pieces rubbing against each other will create a repeated friction that will cause scratches to appear on both watches. Or the finishing might wear off or become dull, damaging the overall appearance of your pieces.

Not to mention and the repeated shocks that will undoubtedly occur during the day might damage the more sophisticated movements – like the ones found of any mechanical watch. These are intricate, delicate mechanism that could lead to premature wear and tear of your favorite piece.

But if all those drawbacks don’t outweigh your desire to wear two watches on one wrist, do yourself a favor and enjoy them in good health!

What is the symbolism of wearing two watches?

There is no single valid answer to this question. Actually, there might be as many answers as there are people doing it.

But digging around the Internet, I found 3 reasons that stood out explaining why people actually wear two watches at the same time.

For sentimental reasons

Maybe you want to have a piece that belongs to you and a piece that belongs to a loved one with you at all times. Or both watches actually belong to you, but they were gifted to you by two different important people in your life.

Whichever the case, the goal is to have something tangible from a loved one or an important person in your life close to you, at all times.

Pieces that have sentimental value are priceless and can bring a lot of strength and courage. That, for sure, is a beautiful symbol.

As a memory of an important event

Here are some important events you want a memory of at all times:

  • the time of your birth, or the one of your child
  • the time of the death of a loved one
  • any other time of a particularly striking event that changed your life forever

Having a watch with a set time that doesn’t change is a great way to keep the memory of an important event alive.

As a powerful reminder

This is definitely my favorite of the bunch.

You may want to be reminded of what’s important to you at all times. Here, I’m thinking mainly about some positive beliefs you may have and your core values.

For me, it’s important not to waste time and make the most out of it. So I could definitely see myself wearing a second watch reminding me that “time is a commodity on the wrist, but it’s a finite resource in my life”. If that sounds deep, then mission accomplished: it should.

I’m sure you have some really powerful belief that you want to remind at all times. A bit like a tattoo with a special meaning to you. Wearing a second watch is a great way to achieve this: you will think about it every time you look at your wrist or check the time.

Is wearing two watches stupid?

This is actually the title of a poll that you can easily find on the Internet.

Here is the punchline: people don’t seem to agree on this point. Some find it stupid or weird. Some think people do it because they are begging for attention. Some see the trend and just don’t care. Some love it and actually do it.

So why not let go of what people say and make your own opinion about it?

Some notable examples of people wearing two watches

  • General Norman Schwartzkopf: to keep track of multiple time zones at once
  • Fidel Castro: to keep track of multiple time zones at the same time and as a backup
  • Diego Maradona: one watch is always set to home time, while the other is set to local time
  • Abhishek Bachchan: to keep track of the local and his home time
  • Lady Di: according to the Marie Claire magazine, Lady Di was once spotted wearing two watches at a polo match. One was hers and the other one belonged to Prince Charles. The reason being that it would bring him good luck during the match.

Wrapping up

Do I wear two watches at the same time? I don’t. But I find it pretty cool. And I might do one day.

As always, these topics can become real debates, with people arguing for hours about what is right and what isn’t. But at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong approach to this. Because it’s always a matter of personal preferences and tastes, you will have to decide for yourself where your stand.

Either you love it, you hate or you don’t care. The thing is: all 3 propositions are all valid ones.

But really, why care about what others could say? You only live once. So if you want to try to wear two watches or just have fun doing it, enjoy yourself and don’t look back.

And if somebody asks you why you wear two watches, you can always reply that this is what “I’ve got too much time on my hands” really means!

About the Author

TSW Staff

The Slender staff writers are watch enthusiasts and experts who love writing about watches and helping people find their next favorite timepiece.