watch lug

Watch 101: What are the Watch Lug, Types, and Sizes?

Get to know the watch lug and avoid buying an improper watch.

Date Published
November 25, 2021
Author
Gnomon Watches
Category
Shop Highlights

Wearing a watch is about going with your personal preferences. Nothing beats a watch that you love the most. The perfect feel on your wrist and splendid design, who doesn’t want that connection? A watch is simple, or so they said. Yet, there are some considerations to get the ideal size for one’s wrist. Here, let’s talk about something that most people tend to forget, the watch lug.

If you’re going to buy a new watch, you probably have seen the watch specification on the site. Its dimensions explain the watch’s overall size. Now, what exactly is the watch lug? How about the types and sizes? Should we pay attention to those things? It’s simple yet remains essential for the overall impressive look of wearing a watch. 

What exactly is the watch lug?

Watch lugs or horns are small sticking-out metal pieces. The lugs are essential for a wristwatch for they attach bracelets or straps to the watch case. They keep the watch band with the help of spring bars (the pins).

The watch lug types

Talking about this topic, I was surprised by the number of styles. Watchmakers are truly creative in creating a new, different type of lug. In some cases, a lug-less and hidden-lug watch are also possible. It depends on the design and case construction. For those, it’s safe to assume that the watchmaker wants a clean and spotless watch without any noticeable holes and screws.

Yet, today, we’re going to talk about watch lug types that are visible to the naked eye. There are 8 types so far. This piece of knowledge might seem unimportant to some yet every part of a watch has its own aesthetic and practical value. Before deciding to buy one, it’s better to know the lug type that suits your eyes and wrists.

1. Wire lugs

This is the oldest type and isn’t common in today’s watches. The first who patented the design of fixed wire lugs on a watch wristlet was the Garstin Company in 1898. Wire lugs are fixed lugs, often seen on trench watches, a single wire soldered onto the watch case with a gap for straps. There is no need for spring bars as they have a solid metal wire.

2. Straight lugs

As the name indicates, the lugs are simply straight. They can be big or thinner, mostly appearing in modern and minimalist watch designs. They’re uniform in size. The Nomos Ahoi is one of the minimalist watches with straight lugs. The use of straight lugs also appeared on the first perpetual calendar wristwatch by Patek Philippe in 1925.

3. Explorer lugs

The name explorer comes from its iconic timepiece, the Rolex Explorer. The Rolex Explorer was first launched in 1953. The lugs appear to be straightly pointed with a squared and geometric appearance. They differ from the straight lugs in size; wider near the watch case and slimmer near the bracelet.

4. Speedy lugs

Similar to the explorer, speedy lugs is named after the popular Omega Speedmaster released in the 1960s. Some call them bombe, lyre, or twisted lugs. A straight shape with an inward curved edge, this model is one of the most common in today’s watches.

5. Shrouded lugs

Shrouded lugs, also known as hooded lugs, are common in vintage watches. Their shape looks like a rectangle with a horizontal bar. Close to each other, the lugs connect an integrated bracelet to the watch case. Seiko SNE537 is one of the examples who uses this type of lug.

6. Crab claw lugs

This type is also common in vintage timepieces. Similar to the name, the lugs look like crab claws. They’re robust, curved but angular in design with a room between the case and bracelet. This type can be seen from Longines and Audemars Piguet vintage watches from the 1950s.

7. Cushion lugs

You can see this type in cushion-shaped case watches, mostly found in vintage dive watches. Vacheron Constantin vintage watches have especially used this type of lugs since the late 1910s. The size has a square with rounded edges, similar to a pillow.

8. Teardrop lugs

The lugs resemble the vivid teardrop shape, hence the name. They are prevalent in dress and classy vintage watches with a round or rectangular watch case. To name one, Vacheron Constantin Cornes de Vache (cow horns) watch, a slight variation of teardrop lugs, was in production from 1955 to the mid-1960s.

The watch lug size

Lug width and lug to lug, you’re familiar with these terms, I believe? Almost every website has a description of the watch lug sizes. Both are measured in millimeters. The lug size or width refers to the gap between the two lugs on the same side of a case. In contrast, lug to lug describes the measurement from the tip of a lug to another tip of a lug on a different side.

Oris Aquis Date Blue - Bracelet - 41mm - Ref. 01 733 7766 4135 07 8 22 05PEB
Oris Aquis Date Blue – Bracelet – 41mm – Ref. 01 733 7766 4135 07 8 22 05PEB

Most people don’t concern themselves with these sizes. Yet, lug to lug measurement can determine whether a watch is either too big, too small, or fits perfectly. Let’s illustrate it with an example in case you go for a watch to adjust ideally on your wrist. I’m convinced that case diameter tells whether a watch is in proportion to size on the wrist, while lug to lug measures whether a watch is going to fit around the wrist. Oris Aquis Date with 41.5mm in case diameter and 50mm lug to lug appears bigger than Seiko Prospex Street Series with 43.2mm in case diameter and 44mm lug to lug. In this case, the former isn’t suitable for smaller wrist sizes because the lugs are going to stick out from the wrist even though it has a smaller case diameter.

Seiko Prospex Street Series "Urban Safari" Khaki Ref. SBDY059
Seiko Prospex Street Series “Urban Safari” Khaki Ref. SBDY059

Measuring the lug width is also important in knowing your strap’s actual wideness. If you don’t have the measurement of your old strap, you can use calipers or a millimeter ruler to measure the space between your watch’s lugs. After the measurement, you can go check out the watch’s lugs and strap sizes that suit your favorite watch.

Some gentlemen and ladies love to wear a watch that is big or appears bigger on their wrist. However, if you’re the type that wants a watch to secure comfortably on the wrist, you have to be familiar with the watch lug types and sizes. All is well as long as you get the ideal one out of the bundle of watches.

Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.

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