Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Shape Watch

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Watches come in all different shapes – from classic round faces to funky squares. But which shape is really the best for a watch? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of different watch face shapes to help you decide which one is right for you.

Watch Shapes

Watches have been around for centuries, evolving from simple sundials to complex digital timepieces. While most watches are round in shape, there are many different watch shapes available today. The shape of a watch impacts both its aesthetics and functionality.

Here is an overview of some of the most common watch shapes.

Round Watch Faces

The round watch face is the most classic and common watch shape. It has a clean, timeless look that has stood the test of time.


  • Traditional and timeless aesthetic. Round is the original watch face shape that most people picture when they think of a standard watch. This gives it a classic, elegant look.
  • Displays time most clearly. The round face allows manufacturers to easily fill the face with clear, precise analog clock hands and hour markers. The circular shape draws the eye directly to the hands indicating the time.
  • Wide range of styles. You can find round watch faces on all types of watches – from sporty and casual to formal and elegant. It’s a versatile shape that works for many occasions and outfits.
  • Comfortable fit. A round case contours nicely to fit the curve of your wrist. It doesn’t have any hard edges or corners that would make it less comfortable to wear.


  • Limited space. While round faces utilize space well for displaying the time, they have less real estate overall compared to some other shapes. This can limit the amount of information and features that can be included on the watch face.
  • Can seem boring. For those looking for something a bit bolder or more unique on their wrist, a round watch can seem too safe or conservative of an option.

Square/Rectangular Watch Faces

Square and rectangular watch faces offer a different, eye-catching aesthetic from the classic round. They have an edgier, more geometric look.


  • Unique, fashion-forward style. Square and rectangular watches stand out from the crowd and make more of a bold, fashion statement on your wrist. They have an edgy, contemporary vibe.
  • Increased space for functions. The flat shape provides ample surface area for including useful functions and information like chronographs, calendars, alarms, and more.
  • Sporty look. The edgy, geometric style lends itself well to sporty watch designs. Square cases nicely complement the no-nonsense aesthetic of many sports watches.
  • Stackable with bracelets. The straight edges give a clean look when stacking rectangular watches with bracelets on the same wrist.


  • Not as versatile. While the rectangular style works well for digital sports watches and sleek designer watches, it may seem out of place with more formal ensembles. Not as universally flattering.
  • Can catch on to things. Unlike a smooth round watch, the corners on a square case can more easily be caught on sleeves, pockets, gloves, etc.
  • Hard edges. Some people find the straight edges and corners dig into their skin over time and are less comfortable than a rounded case.

Oval/Elliptical Watch Faces

Oval and elliptical watch faces offer soft, curved edges while still maintaining an elongated shape. They give you a middle ground between round and rectangular.


  • Smoothed, rounded corners. The softer oval case won’t have the hard edges of a square that can dig into your wrist over time.
  • Sleek look. An oval face has a clean, contemporary look without being too bold or funky.
  • Stands out subtly. While still versatile enough for daily wear, an oval watch adds a touch of distinction from the crowd of round watches.
  • Art Deco style. Oval and elliptical faces recall the sleek Art Deco watches of the 1920s/30s. This retro flair adds vintage appeal.


  • Not as sporty. The oval shape doesn’t lend itself as well aesthetically to sports watches that typically favor round or rectangular cases.
  • Less space than a rectangle. While an oval still provides more real estate than a circle, it doesn’t offer as much space for functions and details as a full square/rectangular shape.
  • Hard to read time. If an oval face gets too elongated, it can start to squeeze the hour markers and make it harder to quickly read the time.

Hexagonal/Octagonal Watch Faces

For an edgy, geometric look, watches with hexagonal or octagonal faces have an eye-catching shape. The six or eight straight sides create a bold, fashion-forward style.


  • Lots of wrist presence. The pronounced geometric shape makes the watch highly noticeable on your wrist – it certainly won’t go unobserved.
  • Sporty/futuristic look. The hexagonal or octagonal shape has a high-tech, futuristic aesthetic that’s right at home on sports watches and smartwatches.
  • Great for aviation/nautical watches. The polygon shape fits beautifully with aviation watches inspired by airplane cockpits. It also conjures images of porthole windows and works well for nautical themes.
  • Increased functionality. The straight edges allow more space and surface area for displays and functions on the watch face.


  • Less versatile. The pronounced geometric look makes these watches harder to incorporate into a business suit or formal attire. They skew very casual and sporty.
  • Can catch on sleeves. Those same straight edges that give it style can also more easily snag on shirt cuffs and tight sleeves.
  • Busy look. Many hexagonal/octagonal watches look busy or crowded with text and indicators crammed into the angled spaces.

Irregular Shaped Watch Faces

For the most unique and avant-garde look, irregularly shaped watch faces offer artful, asymmetrical designs. They have an ultra-modern, cutting-edge aesthetic.


  • Makes a bold artistic statement. Irregular watches are like wearable art, with their sculptural shapes and unconventional style acting as an eye-catching accessory.
  • Lots of individuality. With so many possible irregular shapes, these watches all offer their own individual look that helps you stand out.
  • Conversation starter. A watch with an unusual irregular face is sure to elicit questions and compliments due to its exceptional design.
    Comfortable to wear. With curved, rounded edges, irregular shapes avoid hard corners digging into your wrist. The asymmetrical case contours nicely.


  • Hard to read. It can be difficult to cleanly fit hour indicators and watch hands on an irregularly shaped watch face. Telling the time quickly is tougher.
  • Limited versatility. The unusual designs mean irregularly shaped watches fit best in very avant-garde, casual, or arty settings. They may clash when worn with professional office attire.
  • Not to everyone’s taste. If you have a subdued, conservative sense of style, the out-there look of an irregular-shaped watch may not be for you.

How to Choose the Best Watch Shape for You

With so many watch shapes available today, how do you choose what’s right for your needs and personal style? Here are some tips for picking the best watch face shape:

Consider your style and existing wardrobe. Do you need something classic and versatile to wear every day, or a bold fashion statement piece?

Think about the occasions you’ll be wearing it for most. A dressy watch for the office will have a different shape than a rugged sports watch for hiking.

Opt for improved comfort and legibility if those are your priorities. Round or oval watches are most comfortable, while square/rectangular offer increased functionality.

Choose a watch shape that complements your wrist size. Larger wrists can pull off bolder shapes, while smaller wrists pair best with smaller, more delicate rectangular or oval faces.

Look for a shape that aligns with your personal taste and aesthetic sensibilities. There are no universally “right” answers when it comes to design appeal.

Don’t overlook the style of the watch band, which should integrate well with the case shape. For example, a rounded case works well with either a smooth leather strap or a metal bracelet.

Consider the size and proportions of the watch face, not just the shape. A 42mm round watch will look different than a 28mm one, for example.

If versatility is important, the round watch face is always a safe choice. But don’t be afraid to add a watch with bolder shapes to switch up your look. The most important rule is to choose a watch face shape you feel confident and comfortable wearing. Don’t compromise your personal style just to follow the crowd. The right watch can act as a timeless accessory and signature part of your wardrobe when thoughtfully selected.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What are the most common watch shapes available?

Round, square, rectangular, oval, and tonneau are some of the common watch shapes available.

2. Which shape of the watch is considered a classic choice?

The round watch is often considered a classic and timeless choice due to its versatility and traditional design.

3. Are there any advantages to choosing a round watch over other shapes?

Round watches tend to be more versatile and suitable for various occasions, making them a popular choice. They also often provide better comfort on the wrist.

4. What occasions are square or rectangular watches best suited for?

Square or rectangular watches are often associated with a more formal or vintage style, making them suitable for dressier occasions or when you want to make a statement.

5. Are oval watches a good choice for both men and women?

Oval watches can be suitable for both men and women, depending on their design and size. They often have a unique and elegant look.

6. What is a tonneau-shaped watch, and when should I consider it?

Tonneau-shaped watches have a barrel-like design. They can be a stylish choice for those looking for something unconventional and fashion-forward.

7. Are there any shape preferences for specific wrist sizes?

Some people believe that certain watch shapes complement specific wrist sizes better, but personal preference and comfort play a significant role in choosing the right shape.

8. How do I choose the best watch shape for my personal style?

Consider your personal style, the occasions you’ll wear the watch for, and your wrist size when choosing a watch shape. Try on different shapes to see which one you feel most comfortable and confident wearing.

9. Can I wear any shape of a watch for everyday use, or should I have different shapes for different occasions?

While you can wear any watch shape for everyday use, some shapes might be more versatile and appropriate for various occasions. It’s a good idea to have a variety of watch shapes in your collection if you enjoy different styles.

10. Are there any trends in watch shapes that I should be aware of?

Watch shape trends that can change over time. Currently, minimalist designs and vintage-inspired shapes are popular, but it’s essential to choose a shape that reflects your personal style rather than following trends.


Determining the best watch shape is a highly subjective matter. It hinges on personal style, occasion, comfort, and individual preference. Round watches are often considered a classic choice due to their versatility, while square, rectangular, oval, and tonneau shapes offer unique aesthetics that can complement different outfits and occasions. The key is to select a watch shape that resonates with your style and makes you feel confident when wearing it. Ultimately, the “best” watch shape is the one that aligns with your personal taste and meets your specific needs, be it for daily wear, formal events, sports, or any other purpose.

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