Why Do People Wear Watches Upside Down?

You may think there’s only one way to wear wrist watches, but think again! There are many people out there who use their watches upside down, with the watch face positioned on the inside of the wrist. It may seem bizarre from an outside perspective, especially if you’re used to the normal position of how a wristwatch is “supposed to sit.” However, there are very good reasons for wearing a watch in inverted fashion in both civilian life and when it comes to specialized trades where time and precision are off the essence.

It’s A Special Position For Special Forces

For those military personnel who are engaged in Special Ops missions, wearing a watch inverted makes a ton of sense. Having your watch face on the top of your wrist directs the face away from your body and away from your normal line of sight. You have to make a relatively unnatural movement to check the time. And for those in special forces holding a rifle in their hand and using their watch for timing before attacking a target, it makes a lot more sense to have the watch face in position on the inside of the wrist. There’s no reason to wear a watch in a normal manner if it’s something that’s going to hinder your work.

Tactical precision requires a minimum of excess movement and a maximization of every second. If you wear your watch in a normal manner while engaging in a special forces mission, you lose critical seconds turning your wrist to check the time before returning to your position with your rifle. Those seconds could very well mean the difference between the success of a mission and failure.

In addition to timing, the placement of a watch on the inside of the wrist has a couple of other added benefits for special forces personnel. Firstly, the placement of the watch face on the inside of the wrist protects the crystal dial facing from scratching and nicking when a soldier is confined in a tight space waiting for action.

Special Forces, special watch placement.

Secondly and perhaps most importantly, the reflection of the crystal can be a dangerous giveaway when attempting to evade notice in the middle of a life-or-death mission. With the watch turned to the inside of your wrist, it’s less likely that an enemy or potential target will be able to spot the reflection of your watch dial if a light source strikes it wrong.

While it’s more likely that a Special Ops soldier or Navy SEAL will be given away by a chance reflection off their night vision goggles, wearing a watch in an inverted manner is still something which qualifies as a best practice among special forces personnel. It’s the way of the soldier and it’s just one way to tell if a soldier is really covering their bases as part of one of the most critical divisions of the military.

Special forces personnel are just one example, though. There are plenty of other people who place their watches “backwards” for very good reasons.

Why Would A Normal Citizen Wear Their Watch Upside Down?

There are several other professions and instances in which wearing a watch in inverted fashion makes perfect sense. Some pilots still invert their watches to help with timing turns and calculating distance, even if modern GPS displays have made the process relatively obsolete. It’s a comforting practice for some older pilots to have the watch dial on the inside of their wrist and some still use the watch as a tool in this manner.

And there’s a lot of other people who wear their watches inverted as well! If you have a fragile watch that doesn’t have strong shock and impact resistance like a Casio G-Shock, wearing watches towards the inside of your wrist will protect it from random bangs and crashes which could crack the crystal and render the watch useless.

That’s not the only reason why a normal citizen would do this. It’s actually (and simply) a lot easier to check the time with a watch positioned this way. Those with wrist and arm issues sometimes struggle turning their hand and arm to check the time, especially if they’re battling arthritis which limits range of motion. Wrist watches positioned in an inverted placement require much less effort to check.

And one parallel between special forces soldiers and normal civilians is that the glare of a watch dial can be extremely annoying. While it’s potentially a life-or-death issue for a soldier, it can also be a big problem for a normal civilian working a job with heavy machinery or driving long distances. A glare can be extremely distracting and lead to accidents if it draws your attention away from a task at hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Luminox 3051 SEAL Watch (Menu Menu)

What watches do Navy SEALs use?

Luminox SEAL watches are generally considered the official watches of the Navy SEALs thanks to their rugged construction, comfortable fit, and limited glare. However, they’re just one of a two brands which are actually popular with both Navy SEALs and Special Ops soldiers in other branches of the military.

The other watch brand popular with Navy SEALs is the aforementioned Casio G-Shock series. Casio G-Shock watches offer peak shock and water resistance at an agreeable price point. They are tested under the most extreme of circumstances to ensure that they hold up, and there are some Navy SEALs who swear by them as their watch of choice in training and on missions alike.

Can you wear an Apple Watch on your right wrist?

While the placement of an Apple Watch on the right wrist may be uncomfortable to some due to the button layout and how the crown sits, Apple has made it easy for you to wear your watch on either wrist or even inverted. An Apple Watch will automatically rotate its screen to match your orientation, making the wrist you place it on a matter of preference.

Can you wear your Fitbit on the inside of your wrist?

You can! While Fitbit’s official website recommends that you wear it on the outside of your wrist for maximum efficiency and accurate readouts, your Fitbit will provide the same utility as long as it’s fit correctly around your wrist and isn’t hanging loosely. As long as the Fitbit is in contact with you skin while you’re working out, you’ll get the information you need such as heart rate and calories burned.

And if you have a Fitbit Blaze which is basically a smartwatch for fitness buffs, you’ll get all of the aforementioned protective benefits wearing it inverted!

Closing Thoughts

Wearing a watch upside down may seem silly for the uninitiated, but it’s actually a really smart practice in both specialized professions such as Navy SEAL work and for normal citizens. You protect your watch facing in a way that you can’t in a normal setup, you reduce glare, and it’ll be much easier to read the time!

No matter what watch you choose for daily or occasional use, invert its positioning at least once and see if you like it. Chances are that you will!

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