Why Do Soldiers Wear Watches Backwards? In 6 Easy Steps

Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Luis Cooper

Have you ever noticed that the military always wears watches backward or upside down?

Wearing watches backward was a fashion in the late 1940s, but we observe and see that still, some people wear watches in the same manner.

Some people wear watches in this manner because of their habit.

At the same time, others wear them in such a way as to protect their watches.

But the question is, Why Do Soldiers Wear Watches Backwards?

It’s common sense that if they wear watches for the same reasons mentioned above, only a few people will wear them, but we see that the whole military wears the watches backward. Why?

Military people use smartwatches more commonly and abundantly than typical people or civilians because they use them to communicate with their members and to look at the time whenever required.

Also, they wear watches to synchronize their time with their team or other military branches.

In this article, we will discuss Why Do Soldiers Wear Watches Backwards?

Reasons Why Soldiers Wear Watches Backwards?

After deep research on why military or soldiers wear watches backward, we have come to the following analysis or results.

So here are the fundamental reasons soldiers wear watches backward or upside down.

For Better Focus:

When wearing a watch, as usual, you’ll be aware of its presence in your subconscious.

Also, the beautiful and big dial of the watch will distract your attention, and you will look again and again at the watch’s dial.

As we all know, the military or soldiers require more attention and focus than ordinary people.

Focus and attention is the critical factor in the military.

That is why they wear their watches backward or upside down to focus more on their task.

This way, you will only check the watch when required, like when you want to see the time.

Other than that, you won’t be distracting your focus by repeatedly visiting the watch.

To Minimize The Damage:

You can notice that the watch’s upper side is more prone to damage than the inner side.

The dial, bezel, face, crown, and the watch strap’s external surface are more prone to damage than the watch’s interior.

For example, the soldiers might damage their watches while opening a door, moving heavy objects from one place to another, or doing military chores.

We often see that the external surface of the watch has more scratches, strains, and tarnishes than the internal surface.

The interior surface is safe and sound in most scenarios.

It is the reason why soldiers wear watches backward so that they can minimize the damage to their watch.

Reduce The Reflection:

As we all know, the watch’s glass or mirror surface tends to reflect the light and produce glare.

It cannot be very pleasant in many circumstances.

On a sunny bright day or even when you are attending a function late at night in the artificial light, the watch can reflect that daylight or artificial light at night and produce a glare that the audience or people can quickly notice.

It is disturbing for some people.

It is also hazardous for the military, especially if they are in any secret place.

The glare can give a clue of their location.

That is why soldiers mostly wear their watches backward.

Improve Gun Handling:

Most military people are right-handed, meaning they will wear their watches on their left wrist.

But One needs to support the firearm with their left wrist.

If a person is wearing watching outward, he may come in contact with the firearm and would not be able to complete his goal of the gun.

Wearing the watch inside offers better handling and control of the gun.

Military Fashion:

Military people or soldiers have to wear a wristwatch and their gloves at the same time.

Wearing both items simultaneously can hurt the soldiers.

Moreover, it becomes easier for them to look at the time while wearing watches backward.

Hence, the soldiers prefer to wear their watches backward or upside down to quickly look at the time and prevent themselves from revealing their location.

Since the First World War, that was the time when the wristwatches first gained popularity among men, wearing your watch on the inside of your wrist has been a military trend (previously, they had been worn chiefly by society ladies).

Tactical Purpose:

Let’s start by making it obvious.

Most operators only face their wrist timepieces inward in a tactical manner.

Checking the clock is more practical, especially when aiming your primary weapon. 

Nevertheless, this capability to monitor the time without rotating your wrist is preceded by one cause.

In particular, any light source directed at the watch screen will reflect off it.

Additionally, it need not be a noticeable light—its screen can reflect anything.

Goes against the spirit of light discipline.

Best Watches For Soldiers:(Why Do Soldiers Wear Watches Backwards?)

It’s time to find a military time wristwatch for yourself now that you know why many in the military wear their timepieces backward.

A watch company with an army heritage called Praesidus used the renowned A-11 as inspiration to develop a wristwatch with military aesthetics and contemporary features.

So these are your most fantastic choices if you’re looking for the best military wristwatches.


With its minimalist night-black dial, vast bright Arabic numbers, brown leather band, NH35 automatic movement, and cream-filled hour hands and dots, this watch shouts quality and unmatched functionality.

This model has a double dome glass with an anti-glare coating and a stainless steel case with a sandblasted finish.

It’s an excellent idea to wear your watch for longer than eight hours each day because the movement of your arm powers it.

If you’re not wearing the watch, you can charge it using an automatic watch winder.

This watch is suitable for swimming because it is 5ATM water-resistant.

So the Praesidus A-11 is one of your most excellent choices if you’re looking for a vintage military wristwatch that you can wear every day and match with any outfit.


With 5ATM water resistance, the Praesidus A-11 is a multipurpose and fashionable timekeeping device that you may wear when swimming or having a shower.

It has a thick leather strap and a black dial for added durability.

You don’t need to be concerned about periodic battery replacements because it relies on the wearer’s wrist motions and an NH35 movement.

The watch will provide the correct time if you wear it every day.

Even at night, the Arabic numerals and luminous hands are clear and readable.

This watch is perfect for daily use due to its toughened glass and sandblasts finish.

This watch is the ideal timepiece for individuals who want accessories with a vintage feel, thanks to its 5ATM water resistance, tough casing, clear dial, and vintage appearance.


This watch influences the storied A-11 timepieces but has better materials and engineering.

It sports a crisp white dial with large, legible black Arabic numbers. Lumia has been applied to the numbers, hour hands, and green dots to enhance their visibility and readability at night.

This model is perfect for everyday wear because it has a green canvas strap and an automatic Seiko NH35 movement.

A sturdy crown and a double-domed, scratch-resistant crystal with an AR coating protect from dust and other environmental factors.


Not all people wearing their watches backward are soldiers, operators, or working with them.

Some individuals become used to or prefer it that way.

However, there is a good likelihood that anyone you encounter wearing a watch backward on their wrist is either a military member, law enforcement member, or a veteran.

Related Posts:

The Ultimate Guide to What Watches Do Marines Wear? | 5 Step By Step


Hi, I'm Luis, the guy behind this site. I love wearing watches, especially ones that look great on small wrists (mine are about 6.3" around). The Watches Geek is dedicated to helping you learn about and buy watches that you will love wearing. I want this website to be the last destination for people to pick the best watches to fit their needs. You can find our unbiased reviews here on Thewatchesgeek.

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