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The 5 Best Affordable Left-Handed or Destro Watches

Posted on August 15 2021

left-handed and destro watches

We live in a right-handed world.

Ten per cent of the population is left-handed, including four out of the last seven US presidents. But the world is built for right-handed people.

Nowhere is that more true than with watches.

There's a very limited number of lefty watches on the market. And if you're shopping on a budget? Suddenly the list gets smaller.

I've got to admit, as a right-hander, it's not been something that I've worried about. I know Tudor do a left-handed version of the Pelagos and I'd noticed that Omega's Ploprof has a crown on the left.

But I'd never specifically set out to research left-handed watches - or Destro watches as they're also known.

So here's the result of my research.

The five best affordable watches with a crown on the left.

These watches are designed to be worn on your right hand. With the crown repositioned to the left, making setting the time simple for a lefty.

I've included a nice selection of styles and price points. But remember, there's very little competition out there. I didn't have much to work with.

U-Boat Darkmoon Soleil 8701 Lefty Watch
There’s a good chance that you won’t have seen anything like this watch before.

This watch is filled with oil. The oil immerses the movement and the dial. U-Boat has left a single air bubble so you can see the oil move.

If you're not familiar with them, U-Boat is a young Italian brand favoured by celebrities. They've been worn by Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise.

They make unconventional models with the crown on the left. The lefty crown is a central part of their DNA.

The oil-filled watch is something I've not seen before. It gives the watch a unique appearance. This is strengthened by the colourful dial and bold numerals.

Everything is quirky and distinctive about this watch. But that is why the brand's fans are so passionate. It's a strong Italian design and more than a standard watch with a crown moved to 9 o'clock.

It's unique.

U-Boat watches are assembled in Tuscany and the Darkmoon is one of their quartz models. It's available in several colours, with this deep red being my favourite.

If you want a watch with a lefty crown that makes a statement, start here.

U-Boat Darkmoon 8701

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 18mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Citizen Left-Handed Automatic Watch
This is what Citizen do best. Or at least, this is the type of watch that has kept my interest in the brand.

A well designed and affordable legitimate divers watch. This watch ticks a lot of boxes. Especially if you need the crown on the left.

It is a substantial watch, but it’s not oversized. But neither is it a desk diver. It looks too much like a tool. Despite that aesthetic, it's not a chunky and heavy watch. The 42mm case is titanium. It will resist corrosion well and still be lightweight.

The lefty crown position works well here. The design is similar to other Citizen dive watches. So the unconventional crown position differentiates this from the others.

Let's stick to why I’ve chosen to highlight this model.

What a design it is. Bold, colourful, and with all the hallmarks of a functional tool watch. There are two features that make this watch stand out. The crown and the automatic movement. Citizen doesn't do many watches with either.

It’s a high-spec watch and good value for money.

It has titanium construction, a Miyota mechanical movement and 200M water resistance.

If you're after a dive watch that looks like a dive watch. And you're shopping on a budget. Take a closer look at this Japanese piece.

Citizen Promaster NY0100-50ME

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 13.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Titanium
  • Japanese 8203 Automatic movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


San Martin Omega Ploprof Homage Watch

One of the big-name watches with a left-hand crown is Omega’s Ploprof.

It’s a pricey professional dive watch with a rugged aesthetic. I did a piece on the affordable alternatives here. One of the best is by San Martin.

San Martin is a Chinese homage brand and this model is inspired by one of the Ploprof's most colourful variations.

The Ploprof is already bold and eyecatching. But this model ramps that up with a bright orange bezel and strap.

This isn't a watch for the faint-hearted.

Without the crown, it's 48mm wide - it's a lot bigger than the Citizen. But it doesn't just look like a professional dive watch. It has the specs too, including 300m of water resistance.

This is nowhere near the 1200M of the current Omega, but it's more than enough for a hobbyist.

Although San Martin watches are made in China. Like most similar brands (Corgeut, Steeldive & Parnis) they tend to use branded Japanese movements.

However, in this case, they've kept the costs down with a Chinese movement.

This is an inexpensive way to get the Omega's styling. And that styling includes a destro, crown.

San Martin SN077G

  • 48mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance

 


Seiko 5 SKZ211K1 watch

I've cheated a little with this watch.

It has two crowns, only one of which is on the left. But Seiko makes great watches and their Seiko 5 collection is very affordable, so I wanted to get it on the list.

The Seiko 5 line of watches was designed with value for money in mind. The concept is relatively simple. They are well made and affordable mechanical watches. The design emphasis is on a younger demographic.

What this has meant in practical terms, is a series of watches built with Japanese in-house movements. They often take design cues from other, more expensive, Seiko designs.

This model, the Atlas, is one of the series’ bigger, chunkier models. It’s an interesting piece as, like Super Compressor models, it has two crowns. The inner rotating bezel has compass markings and is rotated by the crown on the left.

The outer bezel operates as expected, as a divers timer on a watch that has 200M water resistance.

The yellow hands add a touch of colour and tip the watch towards a sporty feel. And the prominent crown guards give the case an uncommon asymmetrical shape that I really like.

The overall effect works well. But it's not strictly a left-handed watch.

This would be ideal if you want the look of a lefty watch but don't require the functionality of a left-handed crown. And of course, you get a lot of watch for your money.

Seiko 5 SKZ211K1

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Hardlex Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Laco Squad Ocean Left-hand watch

Laco is a German watch manufacturer with over a century of watchmaking history. The Squad Ocean is a dive watch, rather than one of the pilot's models that the brand is known for.

It's the most expensive watch on my list, being a German-made automatic. It's a heavy-duty dive watch too. It has 1000M of water resistance.

That alone means that this isn't a dainty piece. The case is just over 45mm wide and has a helium release valve.

It's a distinctive piece that is reminiscent of a number of other German dive watches. And that's part of the appeal. You can guess this watches roots easily.

Of course, the Made in Germany tag is also appealing. As is the use of a well-regarded Swiss-made ETA movement.

It's not the bargain that the Seiko is. And it doesn't have the flair of the U-Boat. Instead, it's a functional and practical Germanic watch.

It has great specs and build quailty.

This would be my choice for a lefty watch if quality is more important than budget.

Laco Squad Ocean 861704

  • 45.8mm Diameter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1000M Water Resistance


Conclusion


Despite making up ten percent of the population, there are very few watches designed for left-handed buyers.

There are couple from the big brands, but on the whole. it's the more affordable companies that have released lefty models.

I've chosen the five best for this list.

For such a small selection there is a pleasing mix of styles. From U-Boat's spectacular Darkmoon to Laco's high-quality dive watch.

There are left-handed watches from Japan, China, Italy and Germany. I'm sure that you'll agree that gives you a nice spread of styles, prices and specs.

If you know of any more left-handed watches I'd love to hear about them. So pop the details in the comments below.

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