What is the most worn watch in the world?

Photo of author
Written By Dominic Howard

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Watches have been around for centuries, evolving from simple timekeeping devices to complex, multi-functional accessories. In today’s world, the watch remains an important part of many people’s daily attire. But amidst the countless watch brands and models available, which timepiece takes the title of the most worn watch in the world?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history of watches, examine what makes a watch popular, and reveal which watch holds the distinction as the most worn worldwide. From luxury icons to humble utilitarian models, the story of the world’s watches is fascinating. Read on to uncover the watch that sits on more wrists than any other.

History of Watches

Humans have attempted to measure time for millennia, beginning with sundials and water clocks. The first portable timepieces emerged in 15th-century Europe, but these early watches were incredibly rare and expensive. It wasn’t until the 1800s that watches began to be mass-produced, making them affordable to the middle class.

Brands like Patek Philippe pioneered more accurate pocket watches, while Cartier popularized the wristwatch. By World War I, soldiers realized the utility of wristwatches in battle, propelling the timepiece from a woman’s jewelry item to a mainstream men’s accessory.

The early to mid-1900s saw a boom in watch innovation. Brands like Rolex patented the first waterproof watch in 1926. Seiko invented the quartz movement in 1969, which increased accuracy and affordability. LCD digital watches emerged in the 1970s.

Today, while smartphones have replaced watches as many people’s primary timekeeping device, the watch remains an important men’s accessory and status symbol. Classic brands co-exist alongside smartwatches and fitness trackers, giving watch lovers plenty of options.

So against this backdrop, what watch has endured as the world’s most worn?

Factors for Watch Popularity

Several key factors typically contribute to a watch becoming extremely popular and widely worn worldwide:

  • Affordability – For a watch to achieve widespread popularity, it must be relatively affordable and accessible to the average person. Ultra-luxury watches have a small market share.
  • Design – An iconic, timeless design that can transcend fads and trends is key to a watch remaining popular over decades.
  • Durability & Reliability – Watches that withstand daily wear and provide accurate timekeeping tend to remain in use.
  • Brand Heritage – Watches from brands with long legacies tend to inspire loyal followings and continued use.
  • Functionality – Useful features like water resistance, chronographs, and calendars increase a watch’s utility.
  • Fashion Trends – Watches that align with popular styles and culture often see increased use.
  • Celebrity Endorsements – When major celebrities wear a watch, it influences fans to purchase that brand.
  • Innovation – Groundbreaking watches with new technology or design elements can capture the public’s imagination.

So the most worn watch should have an optimal blend of affordability, enduring design, durability, brand heritage, functionality, trendiness, and celebrity/cultural appeal.

World’s Most Popular Watch

Taking all of these factors into consideration, which timepiece has found its way onto the most wrists globally? The winner may come as a surprise to some while being an obvious choice to others:

Casio F-91W digital watch (The world’s most worn watch)

Released in 1989, the Casio F-91W is a digital watch known for its simple, clean aesthetic, affordability, and durability. Retailing for around $20, it’s one of the most inexpensive watches on the market. Its battery lasts up to 7 years, giving it longevity.

While digital watches surged in popularity in the 1980s and 90s, the F-91W remains perennially fashionable. Its slim rectangular case and resin strap give it a retro-futuristic look. The black plastic casing with small silver buttons makes it understated yet sleek.

The F-91W pioneered features like an alarm, stopwatch, and calendar in an incredibly compact case. This functionality and versatility make it appealing to everyone from students to soldiers. It’s water resistant up to 50 meters.

Casio itself benefits from being an established electronics company founded in 1946. The F-91W emerged at the height of the Casio brand’s popularity and cemented its iconic status.

In terms of distribution, Casio has sold over 100 million F-91W units worldwide. Places like street markets in Asia and the Middle East often sell counterfeit versions as well, adding to its ubiquity. The F-91W’s global reach spans economic classes.

Interestingly, the F-91W has been used in terrorist plots due to its untraceability. However, its overall cultural image remains trendy and harmless. Famous musicians like Kanye West and Danger Mouse have worn the F-91W as a fashion statement.

Ultimately, the Casio F-91W’s affordability, design, reliability, brand heritage, and functionality outweigh any singular association and propel it to status as the world’s most worn wristwatch. No other timepiece can rival its combination of accessibility and cool retro styling.

Notable Most Worn Watches

While the inexpensive Casio dominates global market share, a few other watches deserve mention for their popularity and cultural impact:

  • Rolex Submariner – Rolex’s iconic diving watch has transcended its tool watch roots to become a luxury status symbol. Its timeless stainless steel design makes it popular among celebrities and the wealthy.
  • Timex Weekender – Another affordably priced watch, the Weekender’s minimalist, casual design makes it a favorite among young people for its versatility.
  • Omega Speedmaster – With its connection to moon missions, the Speedmaster remains sought after by watch enthusiasts for its history and chronograph functionality.
  • Apple Watch – As a smartwatch built by the world’s biggest tech company, the Apple Watch has quickly gained ground to become the top-selling watch globally with over 100 million sold.
  • Swatch – Swatch helped revolutionize quartz watches in the 1980s with its colorful, inexpensive plastic watches. The quirky Swatch brand remains popular in 90s-loving youth culture.

While none of these have the across-the-board reach of the F-91W, they represent key watches worn and loved by millions around the world.

Enduring Appeal of Tool Watches

Analyzing the most worn watches worldwide reveals that affordable, well-designed tool watches have the broadest global appeal. The top contenders prioritize function over luxury. Watch collectors may covet complex Swiss timepieces, but the average person wants an accessible, durable watch.

Companies like Casio, Timex, and Swatch democratized watch ownership. By using quartz movements and plastic cases, they brought inexpensive, reliable timekeeping to the masses. Their watches focused on useful features like alarms, stopwatches, and calendars that enhanced daily life. Even centuries later, these practical tool watches remain fashionable for their retro styling and simplicity.

While the Apple Watch introduces smart functionality to the wrist, its hefty price tag limits its saturation, especially in developing markets. Only time will tell if an Apple Watch can one day dethrone the accessible F-91W.

For now, the world’s most worn watch remains an unfussy $20 piece of classic Japanese electronics. The Casio F-91W’s affordability and durability make it the timepiece of the people.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What is the most worn watch in the world?

The most worn watch in the world is the Rolex Submariner.

2. Why is the Rolex Submariner considered the most worn watch?

The Rolex Submariner is renowned for its timeless design, durability, and versatility. It has been a popular choice among watch enthusiasts, celebrities, and professionals for decades.

3. What makes the Rolex Submariner so popular?

The Rolex Submariner’s popularity can be attributed to its iconic design, exceptional craftsmanship, and reputation for precision and reliability. It’s also considered a status symbol.

4. Is the Rolex Submariner suitable for both formal and casual occasions?

Yes, one of the key features of the Rolex Submariner is its versatility. It can be worn with a formal suit or in a casual setting, making it a versatile choice for any occasion.

5. What are the key features of the Rolex Submariner?

The Rolex Submariner features a waterproof case, a rotating bezel for timing, luminous markers for readability in low light, and a self-winding mechanical movement.

6. Is the Rolex Submariner available in different models and variations?

Yes, the Rolex Submariner comes in various models with different materials, colors, and features, allowing customers to choose the one that suits their preferences.

7. How accurate is the Rolex Submariner’s timekeeping?

Rolex watches are known for their exceptional accuracy. The Submariner typically has a chronometer-certified movement, which means it meets strict accuracy standards.

8. Is the Rolex Submariner suitable for diving?

Yes, the Rolex Submariner was originally designed as a diving watch and is water-resistant to significant depths. It is equipped with features that make it suitable for diving, such as a unidirectional rotating bezel and luminescent markers for underwater readability.

9. Can I buy a Rolex Submariner new, or are they only available on the secondary market?

Rolex Submariners are available both from authorized dealers as new watches and on the secondary market through resellers and collectors.

10. Are there any maintenance requirements for a Rolex Submariner?

Like any mechanical watch, the Rolex Submariner requires regular servicing to maintain its performance and longevity. Rolex recommends servicing every 5-10 years, depending on usage.


Tracing the history and evolution of watches reveals that a timepiece’s popularity stems from key factors like cost, design, brand legacy and functionality coming together to create an accessible, long-lasting product.

By these metrics, the world’s most worn watch is conclusively the Casio F-91W digital watch for its affordability, enduring styling, brand heritage, and usefulness. No other watch can match its ubiquity across age, gender, culture, and economic status.

While luxury watches remain aspirational icons, everyday watch lovers continue to embrace the practicality and style of a classic Japanese digital watch. The F-91W’s enduring global popularity cements its status as the watch worn on more wrists worldwide than any other.

Leave a Comment