“Is this watch too big (or too small) for my wrist” – This has to be one of the most asked questions prior to a watch purchase. One of the most often quoted measurements as an answer to that, is the Case diameter. If that is proportionate to your wrist, you’re good to go. We strongly recommend having a closer look at the Lug to Lug (L2L) distance however.
Diameter is just part of the story and L2L should be on top of your list when taking measurements. We’re a silent minority at the moment, it appears, as nearly all manufacturers omit this data from the catalogue (Seiko is a notable exception to this rule as they always list the L2L measure). Instead it’ll show something along these lines:
- Between Lugs: 20 mm
- Case Diameter: 42 mm
The first measure, is what we call ‘Lug Width‘ and it is a crucial metric for anyone looking to switch straps or bracelets, this will determine the width of your strap. But it tells us little or nothing about the proportions of the watch. This is not the same as Lug to Lug distance (or Lug to Lug width).
The second measure, case diameter, is still the measure that most will take into account when judging if a watch is too big, too small or just perfect. Draw a line across the watch face, that’s the case diameter.
What is missing, is the Lug to Lug size. This is arguably your best measure to see whether the watch will look ‘at home’ on your wrist.
So, what is this Lug to Lug size? It is simply the distance from the top of a lug all the way down to the top of the opposite lug on the same side of the watch (as shown on the picture below).
This distance will determine the following in our experience:
- If too long, you will have lug overhang, this is usually not very visually appealing and many (us included) would at this point consider the watch to be too big;
- If too short, you will have a watch that appears too small for your wrist. Nowadays though, it is rather difficult to find a modern watch that is actually too small for your wrist.. More often than not they are rather on the large side.
Let’s compare two watches:
- Nomos Tangente 38: Case diameter of 38mm
- Speedmaster Professional: Case diameter of 42mm
Reading those metrics alone, you would be very quick to conclude that the Tangente is considerable smaller than a speedmaster and will wear much smaller. Nothing is further from the truth however 🙂 The lug to lug on a Speedmaster would be Around 48mm. The lug to lug on the Tangente 38 would be… 48mm! (And some insider info: The Tangente wears bigger than the SpeedyPro ;-))
There are other factors that will make a watch look big or small, but that goes beyond this little post. This was just a note to point out the L2L phenomenon. Hoping this clarifies what is meant with Lug to Lug (L2L) distance/width/size/measure and how it is very different from Lug width and case diameter…