Should You Wear A Watch While Playing Tennis?


We love our watches, and we wear them everywhere, including during sports such as tennis. But is that a good idea? Should you wear a watch while playing tennis?

In general, you can wear a watch while playing tennis. Professionals do it, and you still need to tell time even when playing tennis. However, the watch should be worn on the non-dominant hand to reduce shocks, and the strap should be waterproof for easier cleaning. 

Should You Wear A Watch While Playing Tennis

However, there are more reasons to look at when deciding to wear a watch while playing tennis or not. We also looked at what makes an excellent watch for tennis and some tips on wearing your watch when playing tennis. 

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Why Do Tennis Players Put On A Watch?

Feels Natural

Some of us love our watches, and we wear them all the time. For these people, without watches, they feel ‘naked and cold’ on their wrists. The odd feeling can be distracting and affect what they are doing at the time. 

So if you are one of these people, feel free to wear a watch while playing tennis. It might just make your game better!

Professionals Wear It

You probably have seen tennis stars wear a watch while playing tennis. If they wear it to play professional tennis, perhaps we can also do the same and play our casual tennis. 

However, it is also essential to know that these athletes are usually sponsored by the watch company to wear these watches. This is because cameras often zoom up close to these players during replays, and the watches they wear will be visible. 

So we will never know these professional players’ actual preferences on watches. But if watches do not affect their performance, we can assume that we can wear a watch while playing tennis. 

You Still Need To Tell Time

This is just common sense. We usually are on open courts where clocks might not be visible to help us tell the time when we play tennis. We also tend to not carry our phones in our pockets when playing tennis. 

So naturally, we will need to wear a watch while playing tennis to help us tell time. Having a watch is definitely more efficient here. A flick on the wrist is all you need to do.

Imagine the other situation if you do not have a watch: you will need to run to the sideline bench from the court and pull out your phone to tell the time. 

Why Do Some Tennis Players Not Wear Watches?

Sweat & Grime

If you wear a watch while playing tennis, you would have some issues with sweat and grime. Tennis is an intensive sport involving lots of running and muscle strength to serve or return shots. 

Perspiration will occur, and your watch will catch some of that. Your watch may also trap some dirt and grime from your dead skin. 

This will be much more pronounced on watches with metal bracelets since they have many uneven surfaces and holes. 

Scratches & Knocks

Some players decide not to wear a watch while playing tennis, because they cannot bear to see their beloved watches get scratched up and get knock marks

Racket hits on your watch can happen, and scratches can develop over time as you execute a two-handed forehand swing. 

Shocks

Tennis requires massive arm swings to deliver shots at the right speed and angle. When the racket and the ball meet, a large force is generated. The force helps push the ball to the other side of the court. 

Your hand will then absorb some of the impacts as well. This impact often travels up your wrist. If you wear your watch on your dominant hand (the hand that holds the racket), your watch will also have to absorb part of the shocks. 

Imagine these shocks being delivered repeatedly to your watch every time you hit a ball with your racket. The watch movement may lose or gain time due to repeated shocks, affecting its accuracy. 

This problem is especially acute with automatic watches. This is also why some players do not wear a watch while playing tennis.

We can see here that there are upsides and downsides to wear a watch while playing tennis. The key is to first decide whether you want to wear a watch while playing tennis, or not.

If your decision is ‘yes,’ then perhaps you can try to see what kind of watch better suits the condition of tennis players. 

Should You Wear A Watch While Playing Tennis

What Kind Of Watch Suits Tennis Players?

Watches for tennis players should have a smooth, waterproof surface such as resin. This prevents the watch from absorbing and trapping sweat and grime. A softer watch case protects it from scratches and nicks, and quartz movements are more shock resistant than automatic watches. 

Waterproof Surface 

If you want to wear a watch while playing tennis, the watch should have water resistance and a waterproof surface. This means the case and strap should be made of water-resistant material. 

For watch cases, stainless steel and watch crystals are often used, so they are water-resistant by default. It is best to avoid straps such as cloth or leather for the straps, as they could absorb sweat. Resin or silicone straps might be better.  

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Smoother Surface

The watch should also have a smooth surface, without too many folds and crevices. This helps reduce the amount of sweat and grime trapped on the watch. A smoother surface also allows easier cleaning on your end. 

This means a metal bracelet might not be a good idea, as it has many folds, crevices, and holes. The watch case itself should not have too many uneven surfaces as well. 

Quartz Movement

Automatic movements rely on the balance wheel and spring to keep time, and these parts can be sensitive. Constant shocks may affect the watch’s accuracy and make it gain or lose time. 

Quartz movements are primarily electronic and have fewer moving parts than automatic watches. This makes quartz movement more suitable, if you want to wear a watch while playing tennis.

Softer Case

If you want to wear a watch while playing tennis, consider a softer case. It would handle scratches and impacts better, reducing the likelihood of getting nicks. A typical stainless steel watch case might not be too suitable. 

A resin, silicone, or plastic-based case could take scratching and not be too visible. These materials are also softer than steel, so they could take impacts better and not develop nicks. 

Beater Watch

As you play tennis, you sweat, you expose the watch to scratches and shocks, and the watch might get nicks on it over time. Conditions like this call for a beater watch, not the expensive, beautiful watch you usually wear. 

That means the watch needs to be cheap, sturdy and can handle punishment. Wear it to play tennis, and when the watch has deteriorated too much, and you cannot accept it anymore, discard it and buy another beater. 

Affordable Watches For Tennis Players

The watches listed below have the characteristics that make them suitable for tennis, as discussed in the section above. If you want to wear a watch while playing tennis, consider these watches as a start.

But most importantly, they are affordable, with all watches under $100. They can also take punishment like a true beater watch. 

Casio W-217H-1AVCF

The first watch to think about if you want to wear a watch while playing tennis. Tough, rugged, affordable. The Casio FW-91 is the watch of choice for terrorists and will handle the tennis court well. 

The watch runs on digital quartz and has a smooth resin case and strap. Cleaning should be a breeze since the resin is waterproof. It is also small and light and will not interfere with your hand movements as you play your game. 

Timex Ironman Essential 30

If you like a watch with a more modern and minimal look, then this watch might work. It has a smooth surface, with silicon casing and strap – cleaning would be easy on this watch. 

The digital display is large and can help you to tell time easier. The quartz movement inside would handle shocks better, and the overall construction makes the watch more scratch and nick resistant. 

Scoreband

This will appeal to gadget enthusiasts. Aside from telling time, it also allows you to keep scores of golf, tennis, and many others. It is also small and looks more like a band than an actual watch. 

The watch has a smooth surface with a waterproof silicone strap. The silicone material also envelops the watch case itself. This will make clearing a lot easier. 

Casio G-Shock DW5600

We added the watch to the list as some of you would like chunkier watches. It also sports a resin case and straps for water repellence and easy cleaning. 

The watch might have more folds and crevices, but you can still clean the watch properly with an old toothbrush.

This watch also has shock resistance, meaning if you like to wear your watch on your dominant hand (the hand that holds the racket), this watch will handle the shocks well. 

Timex Endure 30

This watch trades away some surface smoothness for smaller overall size and shock resistance. The watch still has a resin case and strap for waterproofness and ease of cleaning. 

The watch also has a built-in shock absorber, which will protect the movement further from shocks. This makes the watch suitable for those that wear their watch on their dominant arm while playing tennis.

How to Wear A Watch While Playing Tennis

In general, ensure that the watch is worn with a snug fit, meaning you can fit your index finger between the wrist and the watch. This prevents the watches from sliding. Wear your watch on your non-racket-holding wrist to protect it from repeated shocks as you hit the ball. 

Snug fit

You would need to wear your watch snug as you will be running around and swinging your arms aggressively while playing tennis. A snuggly fit watch would allow your watch to grip your wrist and not slide about. 

To ensure a snuggly fit, ensure that you can fit your index finger between the watch strap and your wrist. This ensures a good fit. Avoid wearing watches too tight, as it obstructs blood flow and causes numbness.

ALSO READ: How tight should you wear your watch?

Wear on the non-dominant hand

If you want to wear a watch while playing tennis, protect it by wearing it on your non-dominant hand. The non-dominant hand is the hand that is not holding the racket. 

This protects your watch from repeated shocks as you swing your racket and hit the tennis ball. It also helps keep your watch a little further away from the motion, reducing the likelihood of scratches and nicks. 

ALSO READ: On what hand should you wear your watch?

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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