The term “destro” in watches refers to a watch with the crown on the left side instead of the right side.
“Destro” means “right” in Italian (destra for feminine). Not right as in correct, but right in relation to a direction or placement of something. This is where we get the term destro watch. It simply means a lefty watch. That’s not to say destro watches are only for a left-handed watch collector…
There is no correct way to wear a watch, and don’t let anyone tell you there is. Wear your watch the way you feel the most comfortable! However, the typical way to wear a watch is for right-handed folks to have the timepiece on the left wrist – and left-handed people to sport their ticker on the right wrist.
The practical reasoning behind this sidedness is to be able to wind the mechanical movement in your watch with your dominant hand, but this is not as necessary for the modern age of automatic and quartz watches. Some watch enthusiasts wear their watch on the other wrist because they don’t like the feeling of a crown digging into their hand. Especially watches with an onion crown.
Brands that make destro watches
But despite the term itself being Italian, there are brands all over the world that produce destro style watches. Some brands even offer both versions of a single model.
Does Rolex make a destro watch? No, but Tudor does (Update 3/29/2022 – Rolex now sells a destro watch option)! Charlie Chaplan did, however, wear a custom destro Rolex that was auctioned off by Antiquorum for over $50,000 back in 2013.
Another destro chrono is the Hamilton X-Wind:
The Hamilton watches above are proper examples of destro watches with crowns on both sides. But just because a watch has crowns and buttons on both sides, doesn’t mean they should be considered ambidextrous watches. For example, the Omega Seamaster has a “crown” on the left side, but its purpose is for the helium escape valve and not for winding or time setting functionality, therefore, it’s not considered to be a destro or ambidextrous watch.
The Casio G-Shock has buttons on both sides:
How to make a destro watch?
Creating a destro watch case is actually not all that big of a deal for a watch manufacturer. It simply requires flipping the case upside-down. If it is a basic 3-handed movement, the only changes will be the text and markers on the dial. A movement with a calendar and/or chronograph complication will change the placement of the date window or subdials. Again, the design of the dial (and datewheel text) simply needs to be repositioned and printed in destro form.
If you want to mod a no-date watch to be destro, just find a blank sterile dial (a dial with no text and dot/stick markers) and install your strap on opposite sides of the watch. Destro presto!
Update: Destro Rolex GMT-Master II
With the 2022 Watches and Wonders watch show being so close to the end of March, seeing a green bezel lefty GMT in the New Rolex lineup felt like an early April Fool’s joke. It’s not a joke. The left-handed GMT-Master II is the first modern lefty Rolex. Read the full story here.
Do you wear a destro watch? Are there any we missed in this article? Comment below…