Can You Wear A Watch While Doing Carpentry?

Carpentry turns wood into functional pieces to enhance our lives. However, the process can be messy and involves using sharp tools that might be dangerous to watches. So, can you wear a watch while doing carpentry? Or is it better to just work with a naked wrist?

You can wear a watch while doing carpentry. The watch should be thin, small, and light to not disrupt the movement of hands. The case and strap should be smooth and made of waterproof materials such as resin to avoid trapping and absorbing dust, glue, or sweat. A quartz watch absorbs shock well.

wear a watch while doing carpentry

In this article, let’s explore why you should or should not wear a watch while doing carpentry. Then if you decide to still want to, lets look at characteristics of a good watch to wear, and some recommendations from us.

You may also check out some of our recent articles on wearing a watch to do activities such as farming and also cooking.

ALSO READ: Can You Wear A Watch To Do Farm Work?

ALSO READ: Can you Wear A Watch In A Kitchen?

Why Should You Wear A Watch While Doing Carpentry?

In general, even while doing carpentry, you still need to tell time, and some woodworking processes may require a timer, such as during gluing. Watches can help with that. Plus, you might want to wear a watch for comfort, as you are not used to a naked wrist. 

Tell Time 

Carpenters work with their hands and often at worksites or outdoors. This means they might not have a clock accessible to them to help them tell time. 

If you wear a watch while doing carpentry, you can tell time by just turning your wrist up. 

This would be much easier than asking someone for the time or walking back to your garage to look at the clock.

You could also try to tell time by looking at your smartphone. But you might be working with your gloves on, which means it might be challenging to pull out your phone from your pocket and operate it.

Even if you are not wearing gloves, your hands may be dirty, and you need to wash them up first before touching your phone. 

So much hassle just to tell the time. A watch on the wrist would be much, much easier.


Some people just like to have something strapped to their wrist every day. These people sometimes say they feel ‘naked and cold’ on their wrist if they do not have a watch on. 

Some also say they feel ‘light and empty’, as they are used to having some weight on their wrist. 

If this is something you identify with, feel free to wear a watch while doing carpentry. There is nothing wrong with this, and if having a wrist candy helps you produce better work, wear one!


A watch can function as a timer to help you do your job. Specific tasks in woodworking may require timing precision to ensure good results. 

For example, applying glue or mixing adhesives. You may need to wait for a few minutes for the glue to cure or for the adhesive to activate.

If you wear a watch while doing carpentry, you can time the duration much easier than trying to reach out to the phone, which may require you to first take off the gloves and then wash your hands.

Why Should You Not?


During woodworking, you would likely use hammers, drills, saws, and carrying and dropping materials.

If you wear a watch while doing carpentry, these impacts could travel up to the wrist and generate shocks to the watch. 

Some watches handle shock finely, but many automatic movements may suffer from repeated shocks. The balance wheel and mainspring may not have strong shock absorbers to deal with harder shocks. 

Repeated shocks may cause your watch to lose accuracy and gain or lose time. 


Woodworking does not involve too much water. However, if you wear a watch while doing carpentry, wood or sawdust can fly everywhere and land on your watch.

Certain watches with more intricate designs may trap this dust. The cleaning might also be problematic as this dust may have lodged itself between tight spaces, such as the gaps between your bracelet links.

Glue and Wood Finishings

If you wear a watch while doing carpentry, perhaps the only liquid risk you have to deal with is glue and finishings such as lacquer or shellac. 

Glue may stick to the watch surface and permanently attach itself to the watch. This would require massive time and effort to be removed. 

Certain straps may absorb the glue and wood finishings, such as leather or cloth. They then will suffer from discoloration and develop a smell. 

Impacts and scratches

Carpentry is physical work where heavy tools are used to turn wood into functional pieces. A carpenter would be using hammers, drills, saws, and carrying and dropping materials.

If you wear a watch while doing carpentry, these actions would introduce scratches and nicks to the watch, especially if they are made of harder materials that do not ‘give’ to impacts, such as steel or titanium.

wear a watch while doing carpentry

What Makes A Great Watch For Carpenters?

Now that we have looked at why and why not wear a watch while doing carpentry let’s look further and see what kind of watch suits woodworking. 

A good watch for carpentry should be small, light, and thin to avoid obstructing the movement of hands. The watch should have a water-resistant and smooth case and strap to avoid trapping dust, glue, or finishings. Quartz movement helps to reduce shock. It should also be cheap.

Small, Light, Thin

If you want to wear a watch while doing carpentry, keep it small, light, and thin.

These features will allow you to enjoy the benefits of wearing a watch while doing carpentry work. On top of that, you avoid the watch obstructing your work. 

Sometimes, if the watch is too thick and chunky, you might find it hard to have your hand reach tighter corners of a wall, etc. You might have to take off your watch just to do that. 

This means you need to leave your thick and chunky dive watches or your large racing chronographs at home if you wear a watch while doing carpentry.

Water Resistant and Smooth Case

Aside from being small and thin, the watch case should also be made of waterproof materials and have a smooth surface. 

The smooth surface helps to avoid trapping liquids involved in carpentry, such as glue or wood finishings. Sawdusts are also less likely to stick to the watch since there are no folds, crevices, or nooks to trap it.

Waterproof and Smooth Strap

Watch straps for woodworking need to have a smooth surface and be waterproof.

This is especially important for woodworking. The type of liquids in carpentry may be more of a hassle than just simply water and sweat – we’re talking about glue and wood finishings such as shellac or lacquer. 

If your watch caught any of these, it would not absorb any of them, and you can quickly wipe your watch and clean it quickly. 

Waterproof straps also do not absorb sweat and turn smelly, unlike straps such as leather or cloth. 

A resin or rubber-based strap would be a great example here. Avoid leather or cloth-based straps as they absorb liquids. Also, avoid metal bracelets. The gaps between bracelet links can turn grimy quickly with sweat and are hard to clean. 


Quartz watches have fewer moving parts compared to automatic watches. This is because quartz watches rely on electronic circuit boards to calculate time. 

Automatic watches rely on springs and gears, which are more intricate. 

This means quartz watches are less likely to be affected by shocks and can keep their timing accuracy much better than automatic watches. 


Woodworking is hard on watches. Impacts, scratches, liquid exposure, dust, etc. 

We can choose watches with the best features to handle the harsh environment, but in the end, the watch will still be pushed to the limit and ‘die’ – It will still catch glue, you might knock it against a wall and all. 

Perhaps rather than trying to wear the most expensive, toughest watch, consider just wearing something cheap and tough.

You then ‘beat’ it down, and when it is tired and no longer functioning, change to a new watch instead. 

Watches that are tough, cheap, and meant for abuse are called ‘beater watches,’ and perhaps strapping on a beater for woodworking is not a bad idea. 

Best Affordable Watches For Carpenters

We scoured the net to find watches that suit our descriptions for great watches for woodworking, and here are some we think will work well. 

They are small but rugged watches. But most importantly, affordable, with nothing over $100 here. 

If you like more recommendations from the five below, feel free to check out our review on rugged, hiking watches under $100 that will work just fine with woodworking too.

Casio W-217H-1AVCF

Small, thin, tough, with a smooth case. This has been our go-to beater for many physical activities, and we think it works for woodworking too!

It has an all-resin construction for the case and straps, meaning the watch is waterproof and very easy to clean. It will also not trap dust since the surface is smooth and does not have too many folds, crevices, or gaps. 

Armitron 40/8447

If you want something more comfortable than the W217H, consider this model. It is essentially the same with the W217 – small, thin, smooth case, all-resin case.

The exception is that it has a silicone strap, not resin. Which means it is softer and comfier to wear. Silicone straps are also waterproof, although they may attract dust more than resin straps. 

Casio W-218H-1AVCF

If the W217H or the Armitron is too spartan, then perhaps this model would be better suited for you. It has a chunkier presence but is still not to the point that it may cause issues with working. 

It also sports an all-resin construction on the watch case and strap, meaning excellent waterproofing and easy cleaning. The watch also has a raised bezel to protect the digital display. Quartz movement ensures excellent accuracy and shock resistance. 

Casio G-Shock DW5600

If you want a real, tough, true-blue beater, the OG G-Shock would be for you. We pick this model as it has one of the smoothest surfaces compared to other G-Shocks, which means it would be least likely to trap dust or sweat and glue. 

It has active shock absorbers built into it, further protecting your watch movement. The all-resin construction ensures excellent waterproofing and easy cleaning. 


This watch made it to the list because it is small, light, and thin. The waterproof plastic strap also extends and wraps around the watch case, meaning excellent waterproofing.

You can also separate the watch case from the strap easily for cleaning. The watch surface is smooth, meaning fewer chances of trapping and catching nasties while woodworking. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of, 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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