What makes a watch left-handed?

Clearing up the confusion between left-handed, right-handed and "destro" watches

Tudor Pelagos Left Hand Drive
Chris Hall

This is a confusing one. Roughly 90 per cent of the world is right-handed, so most watches are designed to be worn on the left wrist, with the crown on the right for ease of setting and winding. (We'll leave whether you should really adjust your watch while it's on the wrist for another time). Such watches, although worn on the left hand, are called "right-handed" watches.

There are a number of watches made with their crowns on the left, at nine o'clock. These are easier for left-handed people to wear on their right wrist. So-called "left-handed" watches are also often nicknamed "destro" watches, after the Italian for right, as they are worn on the right wrist.

Watches with the crown on the left aren't always intended for wearing on the right, however: sometimes the manufacturer explicitly designs it this way for wearing on the left wrist. This can be to stop the crown digging into the wrist or back of your hand, or as some have it, to prevent damage to the crown (especially for dive watches).

Whatever the reason, and whichever wrist you decide to wear them on, here are the only left-handed watches worth knowing about.

IWC Big Pilots Watch Left-Handed
Burki Scherer
IWC Big Pilot's Watch "Right Hander"

Spreading confusion right from the off, the newest addition to IWC's Big Pilot line describes itself as "right-handed" because you wear it on your right wrist. Semantics aside, this is a 47mm whopper with a crown to match, so those who wear their watch on the left may also take an interest - stop that big onion gouging your hand. Annoyingly for UK lefties, it's not only a 250-piece limited edition but is being rolled out in Australia and France before reaching the rest of the world.

£12,590

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Omega Seamaster Ploprof
Omega
Omega Seamaster Ploprof

Omega's big daddy of dive watches wears its crown at nine o'clock, lending credence to the principle of protecting it from underwater knocks. It's also guarded by a belt-and-braces titanium shield. On the right of the case is the pusher needed to allow the bezel to turn - something you're meant to do with two hands before wearing the watch at all. Since 2016, the 1200m Ploprof has benefited from Omega's METAS-certified Master Chronometer movement.

£8,690

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Panerai Luminor PAM00557
Panerai
Panerai Luminor PAM00577

Panerai makes the basic Luminor in both left- and right-handed versions, and charges a somewhat arbitrary £300 more for the left-hander, which seems a little harsh. IWC is also charging a premium, (of £1,140) but at least it's rare, and you get a power reserve dial thrown in. Here, nothing about the 47mm classic changes, other than moving the trademark crown guard to nine o'clock. It's available on brown leather or black rubber straps and runs the 72-hour P.3000 calibre.

£8,000

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SevenFriday M202 Left-handed
SevenFriday
SevenFriday M202

The value option for anyone looking for a left-handed watch, the SevenFriday M202 is another 47mm model - do left-handed people all have large wrists, or what? It's powered by a Miyota movement, and has been set up for the time to read from right to left, which just sounds difficult and counterintuitive. Still, the slightly steampunk combination of PVD steel and rose gold is not unappealing.

£1,425

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Sinn EZM-3
Sinn Spezialuhren GmbH
Sinn EZM-3

Sinn actually states on its website that the crown of the EZM-3 is positioned at nine o'clock so that it doesn't dig into your hand. In theory that means it's not intended for right-hand wear, but as it is in every other regard a superbly simple, robust watch and the crown actually fairly unobtrusive, we feel like it's one of the better daily options out there for genuine wrong-handed watch geeks. It's water-resistant to 500m and boasts Argon-filled dehumidifying technology.

£1,790

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TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11
TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Monaco

Probably the best-known of all the left-hand crown watches, the Monaco originally looked like this because Heuer couldn't engineer everything to fit on the right hand side of the movement. That was seized upon by Steve McQueen as a stylistic decision, and the rest is history. Today TAG Heuer makes left-handed and right-handed Monacos (the right-handed use Calibre 12), and it's the left-handed that remain the more desirable - especially in 50th anniversary trim.

£4,750

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Tudor Pelagos Left Hand DriveTudor Pelagos LHD
Tudor
Tudor Pelagos Left Hand Drive

As close as Tudor comes to making an official limited edition (see also the Harrods Black Bay), the Pelagos LHD is suitably hard to come by. Technically identical to the regular Pelagos (500m water resistance, titanium case, matte ceramic bezel and in-house 70-hour calibre), it stands out for its beige luminova, red dial text and roulette-wheel date disc. For once, the lefties get preferential treatment.

£3,200

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