Is two-timing in vogue? Okay, not the one you might think. The other kind, where one dons two watches on both their wrists, also popularly known as “Double Wristing”. My earliest memory of this phenomenon was noticing Yashoo Saboo, founder of India’s biggest luxury watch retail store, Ethos Watch Boutiques, sporting two interesting timepieces on both his wrists some seven years ago. Since then, I have regularly spotted many stalwarts of the watch industry double wrist locally and internationally, especially at watch fairs.
This phenomenon of double wristing is not new. Historically, we have seen many celebrities and personalities double-downing horological masterpieces in their stylistic preference. From Fidel Castro wearing two Rolex watches in the Kremlin back in 1963 to Princess Diana double wristing (albeit on one wrist) to Prince Charles’s polo match in the 1980s are historical examples of the long-standing yet gradually rising trend of double wristing. Recently, we have noticed celebrities like Chris Patt, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, and Drake flaunt their double wristing game. One of the most extreme instances of double wristing in the public eye was when Nicholas A. Hayek, also called Mr Swatch, would wear close to eight watches on both his wrists.
The different permutations and combinations of double wristing have evolved with time. While the trend entails an entire gamut of preferences, the basic idea behind double wristing is wearing more than one watch. Karan Madan, a doctor by profession and founder of the biggest watch collector group in India called Watch Enthusiasts India, has been double wristing for a long time. “I have never honestly noticed people double wristing, but I have been doing it myself for some time. It is a pretty fun way to enjoy my watches and my collection.” Madan is usually spotted wearing a mechanical timepiece on his left hand, and a Casio G-Shock on his dominant right hand. “I wear a G-Shock on my right hand, so whenever I am writing notes or using my right hand more often, I do not worry about it getting scratched or dented. The watches that I tend to choose to wear on my left hand are more of the cherished timepieces I have in my collection.”
While Madan finds double wristing quite convenient and satisfying, many understand the impracticality of the entire process. One of them is avid watch collector Sarat Bhogavalli, a member of J9 — the watch collecting group. He mentions, “I have tried double wristing with a mechanical and smartwatch maybe 10-15 times. I usually double wrist when I need to be on top of things on that particular day. However, I always found it a little uncomfortable, especially because I wear a kada (a steel or cast iron bangle worn by Sikhs who have been initiated into the Khalsa) on my right wrist. Personally, it never felt completely right.”
Another practical issue with double wristing is the constant need to change bracelet sizes according to your wrist size. “The fact that our wrist size is larger on the right (if that is your dominant hand) creates the problem of resizing your metal bracelet every time you change your wrist. So, the fit of the watch is not the same unless you adjust the links on the bracelet, which, to be honest, is demanding,” adds Bhogavalli.
One has to agree that double wristing has been increasingly popular with the advent of smartwatches. Many budding watch lovers or hardcore collectors have found a kind of novelty in combining their luxury mechanical timepiece with a smartwatch. It has allowed many to access both passions simultaneously — the digital functionality of a smartwatch and the timeless beauty and craftsmanship of a luxury watch. But double wristing has always been a very polarising subject. While loving the idea of wearing two watches, many in the industry do not necessarily prefer the combination of a smartwatch and a luxury watch. “First and foremost, let’s clear the air; I am dead set against smartwatches. I do not consider them as watches,” says Madan, who considers smartwatches as gadgets that are worn on the wrist. “I don’t consider them as real watches because if the purpose of a watch is telling time, I can do that with my phone, my fridge, or even my microwave. The only reason why I double wrist is to give the watches in my collection enough wrist time.”
Despite his strong opinions on smartwatches, he is also not wholly opposed to the idea of one day wearing a smartwatch on his wrist. “In the next few years, if I want to get into fitness and require that kind of data tracking of information to be available to me at a glance, then a fitness band or a smartwatch would make sense for me. Right now, I am not comfortable to have all of that information on my wrist when I can pull my phone to get it,” adds Madan.
So, can we safely say that this trend is here to stay? “Double wristing has been more of a common trend now, and I have been seeing a lot of people do it, but I don’t think it is going to blow up. While I understand the productivity of doing it, I can try it every day only if Apple comes up with smaller smartwatches or Casio releases G-Shocks with more connected features,” says Bhgavalli.
I, on the other hand, am hopeful.