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Why Do Military Personnel Wear Watches Inside the Wrist?

Why Do Military Personnel Wear Watches Inside the Wrist?

Wearing the watch inside the wrist allows military personnel to keep the watch safe and fulfill their duties effectively with a timepiece. Explore here!
Mar 25, 2024

While it’s common to wear our timepiece with the face pointed out, have you ever wondered how do military wear watches? This has been an interesting topic to discuss in which military personnel have different approaches to wearing watches. The most obvious reason is that military personnel use watches more than just to tell the time. 

Military personnel wears their watches inward – the face pointed in. The choice is made due to practical reasons. This seemingly simple accessory carries a profound significance in the lives of military personnel.

Moreover, beyond aesthetics and practicality, the choice to wear watches inside the wrist is rooted in a combination of historical, tactical, and personal reasons. In this article, we delve into the discussion of how military personnel wear watches and the reasons behind it.

How Do Military Personnel Wear Watches?

There might be less discussion to talk about how people wear watches. Yet, some people have different ways to do so. The popular opinion is that we wear watches in our non-dominant hands.

For example, you are a right-handed person and have a watch especially a large one on your right wrist. It’s unavoidable that you’ll feel quite uncomfortable if you are writing using that hand, right? Therefore, wearing a watch on your left hand would be a good option and vice versa.

The same also applies to military personnel who wear watches inside their wrists. There are some practical reasons why wearing a watch upside down is the perfect decision in the military field. 

Besides, wearing a watch upside down has been a common habit in the past. Early days when wristwatches replaced pocket watches, people would wear their watch inside their wrists. 

It’s a practical decision to protect the watch from external damage and dirt, especially as watches weren’t as durable and scratch resistant as today. 

Read also: Which Hand Do You Actually Wear a Watch? (Right or Left?)

Why Do Military Personnel Wear Their Watches Inward?

There are several reasons why military personnel wear their watches upside down. From historical background to personal identification, let’s look at the explanation below.

Historical Background

The practice of wearing watches inside the wrist among military personnel can be traced back to the early 20th century. During World War I, soldiers began to adopt wristwatches for their convenience during combat. 

Pocket watches, which were prevalent at the time, proved to be impractical in the chaos of the battlefield, making wristwatches a more reliable alternative. 

The ability to quickly glance at the time while keeping both hands free was a game-changer for military tactics and coordination.

Tactical Benefits

For military personnel, wearing a watch inside the wrist predominantly offers tactical benefits. Below are some of the most significant ones.

Keep the Watch Hidden

In modern warfare, stealth and concealment are vital aspects of any military operation. Wearing a watch inside the wrist allows soldiers to reduce the risk of reflective surfaces catching sunlight, which could potentially compromise their position during covert operations.

Protect the Watch

Wearing a watch inside the wrist offers protection against external damage. The watch is shielded by the wearer’s arm, reducing the likelihood of scratches, impact damage, or accidental snags, which could prove disastrous during combat situations.

Enhanced Maneuverability

Military personnel often engage in physically demanding tasks, including crawling, climbing, and handling various equipment. 

Placing the watch inside the wrist prevents interference with these activities, ensuring optimal maneuverability and reducing the risk of snagging the watch on objects.

Reduced Glare

In certain military environments, such as desert or snow-covered terrains, reflective surfaces can be hazardous. By wearing the watch inside the wrist, the glare is minimized, allowing the wearer to maintain visual awareness without distractions.

Personal Significance

Wearing a watch inward also signifies someone is part of the military. Over time, the practice of wearing watches inside the wrist has become a cherished tradition among military personnel.

 It represents a strong sense of identity and unity, a symbol of shared experiences and camaraderie among those who serve together. Moreover, many military personnel receive watches as gifts or mementos, often inscribed with significant dates, names, or unit insignias.

Military life also revolves around punctuality and adherence to schedules. A dependable wristwatch becomes an indispensable tool for military personnel, ensuring they stay on track during mission planning and execution.

Final Thought

So, how do the military wear watches? The practice of wearing watches inside the wrist has a long and storied history within the military. Evolving from practicality during the World War I era to a symbol of tradition, identity, and tactical advantage, wristwatches have cemented their place as essential gear for military personnel.

Beyond their timekeeping functions, these timepieces hold personal significance, commemorating bonds forged in service and providing a sense of comfort during challenging times.

Read also: 7 Best Military Watches to Complete Your Everyday Gear

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