Unlike lefty scissors and lefty can-openers, the best left-handed watches aren’t just for southpaws. So-called “destro” watches, or ones with the crown on the left-hand side of the case, were initially designed to be worn on the right wrist (destro is Italian for “right”), and make it easier for lefties to wind their watches using their dominant hand. After Rolex dropped a destro version of its GMT-Master II in 2022, however, left-hand-drive watches have been on the rise, and not just among lefties.
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“Destro Watches are a quirky phenomenon,” says Leslie Fleischman, owner of the Vintage Watch Room in London. “One of the best-known examples is the Panerai Luminor dive watch, which was made to be worn on the right wrist so other diving equipment could be worn on the left. The other is the original TAG Heuer Monaco, which was designed this way because the mechanics couldn’t fit the pushers and winding mechanism on the same side of the case.”
Changing technology (including the rise of automatic watches, which don’t require winding) has since made destros less useful than they once were. There are, however, still good reasons to choose a destro, in addition to its unusual look. “They’ve become the modern answer to “crown dig,” explains Kaz Mirza, co-host of the podcast Two Broke Watch Snobs. “If you’re working with your hands or using a tool, a traditional watch may have a crown that digs into your hand as you bend your wrist. Since a destro watch has the crown flipped to the other side, it prevents this from occurring.”
Whether you’re a genuine lefty, a collector looking for something unique to flex at your next meetup, or just someone who prefers the feel of a watch on your right wrist, any of these destros—the very best left-handed watches for men—will be the right move.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Watch
In all fairness, this professional-grade pilot’s watch requires two hands (and the ability to do math in your head) to make full use of the drift angle calculator built into its bezel, but we’re claiming it for Team Destro anyhow.
Tudor Pelagos LHD Watch
If you’ve got some cash to spend on a classic diver, but not quite enough to get you a Rolex Submariner, the Tudor Pelagos serves up a similar level of quality and just as much classic style for a fraction of the price—and throws in a titanium case and a left-handed crown for good measure.
Tag Heuer Monaco Watch
The first version of the iconic Monaco (the one this modern-era tribute is based on) had the crown on the left, but it wasn’t placed there specifically for the convenience of southpaws. Instead, it was there as a bold reminder that the Monaco’s advanced automatic movement didn’t require winding—a big deal in 1969.
Rolex GMT-Master II Watch
If you’re in the market for a left-handed Rolex, your sole option is the GMT-Master II, a classic pilot’s watch that received the destro treatment (along with a new green and black “Sprite” bezel) earlier in 2022. As one of the hottest new watches of the year, though, you may have to wait a while (or pay multiples of the retail price) to get one.
Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200m Watch
Even if it didn’t have the crown on the left, Omega’s famously asymmetrical 1970s diver would still be high on the list of the quirkiest watch designs of all time. As it is, this Cousteau-approved watch (Ploprof is short for “plongeur professional”, and this model was a favorite of the Calypso crew) remains a major flex, as much for its unconventional look as its unimpeachable undersea cred. In 2023, it also received a makeover with an O‑MEGASTEEL case and a sun-brushed “Summer Blue” dial.
Serica Ref. 6190 California Watch
This Paris-based indie brand does things a little differently. In addition to crafting vintage-inspired watches that combine high-quality components with obsessive attention to detail, they offer all of their designs in both lefty and right-handed versions.
Stührling Original Aviator Watch
With its big 45mm case, old-school numerals, and oversized winding crown, this homage to 1930s pilot’s watches will look just as right with jeans and flannel shirts as it did with goggles and a shearling jacket back in the day.
Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic Watch
The Promaster’s left-handed crown marks it as a professional diver’s tool, and its Japanese self-winding movement makes it one of the best automatic watches under a grand.
Yema Superman Destro Limited-Edition Watch
This homage to one of the best dive watches of the ’60s (a ticker whose legendary toughness earned it the endorsement of the French Air Force) gets a modern update with a 500-meter water-resistant case and a lefty crown.
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