If you’re a southpaw, you already know what it’s like to live in a right-handed world. Whether we’re talking about doorknobs, dinner tables, or desks, all of this right-hand dominance can get a little annoying; even more so if you’re a watch enthusiast.
Lefty watch owners have long suffered with right-sided crowns and other complications. While you can wear your watch in any way you like, conventional wisdom suggests the best place for your timepiece is on your non-dominant wrist. Why? One reason is that since you use that appendage less often, wearing it there instead of on your dominant wrist will protect it from the dings, bangs, and shocks of your daily routine.
Another common explanation – the fingers on your dominant hand often have better dexterity for fine motor activities like winding a watch, operating a pusher, or adjusting a bezel. As a right-hander, then, wearing a traditional right-side crown watch on your left wrist will give you increased protection as well as easy access to the crown with your right hand.
However, if you include yourself in the roughly 10 percent of the world’s population who use their left hand for almost everything, you’re out of luck. For easiest use, you really only have one option with a classic timepiece: to wear it on your dominant wrist.
So what’s a left-hander to do?
Albeit only a handful, some major brands heard the laments of their left-handed collectors over the years and created a small number of ‘destro‘ watch offerings to appeal to discerning southpaws. (Destro is Italian for “right,” meaning the crown sits on the left so the wearer can sport their watch on their non-dominant right hand.)
Our Swiss-trained watch repair specialists took a closer look at what’s out there and came up with a list of their five favorite left-handed timepieces:
1. Rolex GMT-Master II Green Left-Handed “Sprite”
Released this past Spring at Watches and Wonders 2022, Rolex made history by introducing its first destro timepiece for the general public, a lefty version of the GMT-Master II. Granted, famous southpaw Charlie Chaplin owned the very first left-handed Rolex in 1945, but that was only because Rolex had it custom made for him.
Rolex initially created the GMT-Master II as a tool watch for pilots navigating through multiple time zones. True to Rolex form, however, this timepiece would look stunning anywhere, whether in the air or at the opera. Encased in Oystersteel and measuring 40mm, the new Sprite dons a black dial surrounded by a striking two-tone Cerachrom bezel in green and black.
2. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch “Right Hander”
Arriving on the watch scene in 2019, the Big Pilot’s Watch represents the largest on our list, measuring a whopping 46.2mm. Some of its cooler features include IWC’s own 52010 caliber movement, Pellaton automatic winding, protection from magnetic fields and loss of pressure, and a 7-day power reserve.
Unfortunately, IWC only made 250 of these big beauties, so you may have trouble finding one. Lefty IWC enthusiasts can only hope the Swiss icon will introduce more specialized models in the future.
3. Panerai Luminor Left-Handed 8 Days
Panerai has a long history with left-handed watches. The Italian watchmaker introduced its left-handed model in the 1940s for the divers in the Italian navy. Some were left-handed, while others simply preferred to wear their timepieces on the right to keep their left wrists free for other mission-critical items like depth gauges and compasses.
The Luminor Left-Handed represents a giant step forward for left divers who enjoy the professional quality and superior function of a Panerai dive watch without having to spend the extra time and money to special order a left-handed one.
This Luminor enjoys a hand-wound mechanical movement and an 8-day power reserve. Like other Panerais, the left-side crown sits protected in an extension of the 44mm polished solid steel case.
4. Tudor Pelagos LHD “Left-Hand Drive”
Launched in 2016, the Pelagos LHD represents Tudor’s left-handed version of its professional dive watch line. Enclosed in a robust 42mm titanium and steel case, this bit of mechanical genius has a self-winding movement with a 70-hour power reserve and is waterproof up to 500m.
Like Panerai, Tudor has provided French Navy divers specially-made dive watches for several decades. However, the company did not create a destro version of the watch until 1981, when a lefty French naval instructor requested one. The 2016 LHD marked the first time Tudor introduced a left-handed timepiece to the general public.
5. Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 11
No list of southpaw-friendly watches would be complete without the Monaco Calibre 11. Actor Steve McQueen made the singularly square timepiece famous when he wore it on his right wrist in the 1969 racing film Le Mans. With the crown on the left and chronograph pushers on the right, Tag Heuer’s newer models of this celebrated watch stay utterly true to its original, classy design.
One does wonder, though, if Tag Heuer had lefties in mind when it created the Monaco Calibre 11. Their website indicates that they may have made the design move more to illustrate that manual winding was now moot with an automatic movement. But with a dazzling southpaw like McQueen sporting one, this unintentional nod toward left-handed watch enthusiasts turned into a happy coincidence. As Tag Heuer watch repair gurus, we think the Calibre 11 makes it incredibly cool to be left-handed.
Some other honorable mentions include the Oris Aquis Red Left-Handed Limited Edition, the Sinn Mission Timer EZM7, and the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Automatic. It remains to be seen whether Rolex’s move this year will spur other high-end Swiss watchmakers to deliver a greater variety of left-handed watches in the near future. Time will tell.