Adjusting to 5 Positions: Wristwatch Positions

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Our other post described the 5 positions for adjusting pocket watches. What are the 5 positions for wrist watches?

The Horizontal Positions: DU, DD


Like pocket watches, wristwatches are first adjusted to keep close time in the dial up (DD) and dial down (DD) positions.

The Vertical Positions: PD, PU, PL


The vertical positions, or hanging positions, are different for wrist watches.

The first position, on the left, is the pendant down (PD) position. For watches adjusted to 3 positions—common for quality vintage wrist watches—the positions were DU, DD, and PD. When the jet-setting gentleman of the 1950s went about his business, his Hamilton wrist watch was pendant down when his arm was at his side. Pendant down is the most important vertical position for wrist watches, but recall that it is the sixth position for pocket watches.

The next positions are pendant up (PU) and pendant left (PL). Pendant left might seem counter-intuitive as the fifth position, but think about your wrist watch’s position when your left hand is resting on your desk, holding a coffee mug, a common position for some of us.

The Sixth Position: PR


For wrist watches, the sixth position is pendant right (PR). This is an attractive position for your eBay auction’s photo, but it is a uncommon position for your watch when it is actually used. Unless you check the time by holding your forearm dramatically in front of your face or scratch the back of your neck incessantly, your watch won’t spend much time PR.

This is a good spot to remind you that PR and PL are defined by the dial side. When you are adjusting the watch, you’ll be viewing the mechanism side, where the PL position has the crown on the right.

It’s a Right-Hander’s World

Watch adjusting, like most everything else, is biased toward right-handers. If you are a lefty and wear a watch on your right hand, then you would reverse the pendant down and up positions. When your arm is hanging by your side, the crown is up instead of down, so a wristwatch adjusted to 3 positions would be DU, DD, and PU. The world is indeed a tricky place for southpaws.