How does the saying go? “When nothing goes right, go left – and then also go buy a left-handed watch”?
Granted, it’s not a real saying, and granted, we may have tweaked the original phrase a little, yet the preposition of going left-handed watch shopping remains an interesting one. In a market where watches for right-handed individuals reign supreme, a watch designed for left-handed folk is a true rarity, given the fact that most watchmakers design with a right-handed wearer in mind. It’s fair, considering that right-handers are the overwhelming majority in the world, yet we shouldn’t ignore the special snowflakes who do everything with the other side, and flyingly so.
Nevertheless, whilst left-handed scissors, rulers, or notebooks are all very much a thing, it gets more complicated when it comes to timepieces. To add to the kerfuffle, it is commonplace that lefties traditionally wear their watches on the right (their lesser dominant) wrist, whilst righties wear theirs on the left. Some bend and ballet all over these rules entirely, with whole articles debating why former US president Obama wore a watch on his left wrist when he was so famously left-handed. The logic is that the crown should be facing outward, for ease of comfort. Wear it on the wrong side, and you could be weirdly uncomfortable, and unable to easily access the crown for adjusting.
Furthermore, four years ago, in good taste or not, IWC too got into the subject, and pulled an April Fool’s prank debuting its Big Pilot watch in a left-handed edition. The ‘joke’ was that this wasn’t a real thing, and that the dial was completely inverted and illegible.
Cut to the present day though, and left-handed watches are most certainly a reality. They’ve come a long way from being constricted to the dive watch category (where in fact, a left-side crown is commonplace), and gone beyond a basic rotating digital display in an Apple Watch. Left-handed watches have been cropping up in the novelties of various big names, and though still relatively rare, they’re definitely starting to get it right. Scroll ahead for our favourite handful of the lot.
Featured and hero image credit: OMEGA
Sinn Diving Watch EZM 3
Frankfurt may be a little far from the sea, yet the hometown of this German mechanical timepiece does not dictate how impressive its skills are at great depths. The Sinn Diving Watch EZM 3 (approx. THB 55,260) features a case made of bead-blasted stainless steel, with magnetic field protection and a diver’s bezel with minute ratcheting. The crown is located on the left side, which thereby makes it a highly apt watch for left-handed folk, but also aids in easing pressure on the back of the hand during dives. Adventurers will love that the case is also filled with protective gas to keep oxygen and corrosive gases at bay, whilst not-so-much adventurers will appreciate that the timepiece still wouldn’t look out of place with a suit at work, for leisure on the weekend, or, well, in Frankfurt.
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Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days Acciaio
Panerai has long crafted watches for left-handed people, with the Italian watchmaker’s history with lefties going as far back as 1940, where it produced timepieces for the Italian navy for the right wrist. Launched last year, the latest Panerai Luminor models include a 44mm Left-Handed 8 Days model (THB 250,000) too. Where the left-handed part is self-explanatory, the 8 Days bit refers to its extremely long power reserve of eight days, with an indication of remaining power on the sapphire crystal porthole on the caseback. The winding crown is placed in a protective cover at 9 o’clock, contrasting the silver of the steel case with the black sandwich dial and strap. A classic Panerai timepiece, where left-handed models aren’t an exception, but rather a house signature attention to human detail.
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TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11
Here’s a timepiece that is iconic for many reasons, yet being left-handed is perhaps a mere whisper in the face of its worldwide fame. The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 (approx. THB 184,340) is named after the city and motoring race of Monaco, and is the watch that was famously sported by Steve McQueen in the 1970s film Le Mans. Designed for those who live life in the fast lane (and indeed, wear a watch on the right wrist much like Steve McQueen himself), the 39mm automatic chronograph features a rare square case with a dial of orange and blue. The blue calfskin strap with orange lining is a perfect complement to this look, in a timepiece with much to admire. Left-handed watches are no Plain Janes, and the TAG Heuer Monaco models are infinite proof of this.
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OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m
Paying homage to OMEGA’s rich diving heritage, the OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m (THB 304,000) saw a charming update in 2009, combining new modern technologies with the same charm of the original Seamaster Professional 600. In this rendition, the model features a black dial contrasted with white Super-Luminova inside a sapphire bezel ring. The 55x48mm stainless steel case is eye-catching for its sheer size and screw-in crown on the left, as well as its ‘sharkproof’ (this is not a joke) stainless steel bracelet. Beyond these features, the timepiece also boasts an automatic helium escape valve and bezel security pusher. True to its name, it is water resistant to 1200 metres, which is great because it means that you can both dive very deep, and still be left-handed, too. Winning.
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Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Here’s one to invest in if you’re really serious about buying a watch for yourself or your leftie bestie. An eye-catching timepiece at first glimpse, and an icon in Vacheron Constantin’s repertoire, the Historiques American 1921 (THB 1,220,000) model requires a charming tilt of head to properly read its time. Given the fact that the dial is angled off-centre and leans towards the right, the lightly traditionalist watch becomes an ideal one to wear on the right wrist. Unlike many of its predecessors, the crown is not located at 9 or 3 o’clock, but rather at a tilted 12, in the top right corner of the timepiece. All kinds of interesting, this is complemented by its scrolling Arabic numerals, cushion-shaped pink gold case, and dark brown alligator strap. Left-handed people are special, and clearly their timepieces are too.
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This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok on 20 June 2019.