Disclosure: *Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the links and make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This helps support our small blog.
We are often asked by customers how they should wear or style a particular piece of jewelry.
One of the questions we’ve been asked a few times is how to wear a tennis bracelet. In particular, how to wear a tennis bracelet with a watch – can you, should you and, if so, how – are there any “rules”?
Luckily these days there are no rules when it comes to jewellery. There may have been in the past but nowadays personal taste and what looks good overrides what was traditional to do.
Wearing a tennis bracelet with a watch looks great and below we outline conisderations to bear in mind if you do decide to do this.
Traditional Rules vs Modern Style
Traditionally people believed a bracelet should be worn on the opposite wrist to a watch to “balance” the look.
A watch was worn on the left wrist therefore the bracelet or bangle had to be worn on the right wrist.
But this isn’t the case anymore.
It has never been unusual to see people wearing a few bangles together, indeed it’s a popular choice.
Indeed, with the arrival of the “stacking” style of jewellery, wearing a bracelet – including a tennis bracelet – with a watch has a lovely allure. Even wearing multiple bracelets with a watch can be a great style choice.
The gentle feel and sound of your bracelet tapping your watch is quite attractive (as long as it doesn’t jar and scratch).
A Brief History of Tennis Bracelets
We have talked in full before about tennis bracelets and how they came about being such a great style of bracelet in our article, “What is a Tennis Bracelet” here, but we’ll give you a few brief facts here.
A tennis bracelet was so named after hugely sucessful and glamourous tennis player Chris Evert who famously stopped play during a US Open match she was competing in, exclaiming, “I’ve lost my tennis bracelet!”. She only returned to play once she’d found it.
Her beautiful bracelet set with white diamonds was a piece of jewellery that she’d considered lucky.
The next day jewellers and the fashion industry all over the world were inundated with questions about “tennis bracelets”, even though there was no such thing the day before!
The name “tennis bracelet” has stuck, even decades later, and now extends to “tennis necklace” too, if it is a similar style.
The definition of a tennis bracelet (or necklace) is a one that is made with identical gemset links. The links are hinged together such that they move like a bicycle chain (in one direction). It is a very elegant bracelet, traditionally made in precious metal with small to average size precious stones, conventionally diamonds.
A perfect diamond tennis bracelet offers a sophistication and allure that other pieces of jewellery just can’t do. They were a delicate bracelet that oozed femininity and became a perfect gift especially for your special day – they are a classic bracelet to wear on your wedding day.
Of course there are many other styles of bracelets, which we’ve talked about here, but a tennis bracelet is a classic which never goes out of fashion.
But, as jewellery has become more reasonably priced by using cheaper materials – silver, stainless steel, cheaper precious and semi-precious stones instead of diamonds, for instance – they are much more of a daily wear bracelet with a casual outfit.
Tennis Bracelet Styles
The traditional tennis bracelet is one of a diamond line bracelet, each stone was of equal size either set in claws or in a rub-over setting, with a clasp.
The classic white gold tennis bracelet set with diamonds offers the right amount of sparkle both for special occasions, a formal event or everyday wear. Yellow and rose gold is also a popular choice.
Whilst traditionally all the stones were of an equal size and used small diamonds – this made them very expensive bracelets. There are, after all, quite a number of diamonds used in these styles of bracelets.
It doesn’t have to be diamonds or gold used in your bracelet – cubic zirconia’s set in sterling silver is a great way to get the look but at a hugely reduced price tag.
Designer tennis bracelets offered even more different styles.
Maybe you will go for a bracelet with gemstones and pearls alternating, or even different cuts of stones.
Baguette tennis bracelets, with baguette cut gemstones, are a lovely type of bracelet and look fabulous with white or multicoloured stones.
There are many more styles out these days. The design of your tennis bracelet can include different sized, graduated stones, alternate coloured stones or stones of different colours.
There really are so many options available.
Styling a Tennis Bracelet
Traditionally worn on the right hand (as were all bracelets as your watch was worn on the left hand). This was so as it was believed to balance the overall look.
Wearing a tennis bracelet on your left wrist along with a diamond-set eternity band has a matching “eternity bracelet” effect.
They can also be worn as a statement piece with a heavier carat weight and difference coloured gemstones, often with a symmetrical pattern of diamonds.
This style of bracelet works so well with everyday outfits adding a touch of sophistication and a subtle sparkle.
They were the kind of bracelet that was worn on their own, with no other pieces of jewellery next to them and often only worn for formal occasions and special events.
Wearing your bracelet in various ways and on various occasions can be fun, this includes wearing your tennis bracelet with a watch.
You can wear one dressed up in a little black dress for a formal occasion with no other jewellery other than a simple necklace. Or you can wear one alongside a nice watch for a more casual look for everyday wear.
Wearing a Tennis Bracelet with a Watch
Whilst, as we’ve said, a basic rule of wearing classic tennis bracelets was that they were to be worn on the right wrist for a symmetrical look with the watch on the other hand. This offered a similar “visual weight” to both wrists.
But the modern way of wearing jewellery, particularly with the stacking jewellery trend, a tennis bracelet is a great bracelet to wear with a watch because they are often not heavy. Worn stacked with other bracelets can mean they get “lost”, but next to a watch they get noticed.
Also, the larger style of many designer watches has become prevalent over recent decades. Ladies watches often used to be tiny, dainty little things – so wearing more rather than less jewellery is perfectly acceptable and offers a perfect fashion statement.
The colours of the watch also doesn’t seem to matter too much. As many of us wear mixed metals in our jewellery, a gold watch colour can be paired with a silver coloured bracelet and vice versa without upsetting the look.
Tips for How to Style Your Tennis Bracelet when Worn with a Watch
You may or may not decide to match the precious metals or go for a mixed metal tennis bracelet which will go with any wrist watch. If you wear a two tone metal watch, a nice idea is to pick out one of the colours in your bracelet.
Tennis bracelets work really well if you have a new watch with a leather strap – there isn’t as much metal rubbing against metal and the look of the bracelet against the colour of the strap looks fabulous.
Try and think of the style of the bracelet matching or tying-in a feature on your watch.
For instance a pearl tennis bracelet looks fabulous with a watch with a mother of pearl dial. Or a cubic zirconia or diamond bracelet looks lovely alongside a plainer or more minimalist watch as much as it does a watch with crystals around the dial or case.
A plain watch face may look better alongside a larger or fanicer tennis bracelet.
When selecting a bracelet from a jeweler that you intend to wear with a watch, take the watch with you when you go shopping and try them on together. Ask for a mirror and see how it looks by moving your wrist as you would during your day to day activities to see how it will look.
Which Wrist to Wear Your Bracelet On
If you do wear your watch and bracelet together on your dominant hand, ensure you won’t lean on them, for instance, as you write. This will likely to cause scratches, particularly if the watch is plated.
If you wear a diamond tennis bracelet, be aware that diamonds, being the hardest mineral, will scratch any other material so you want to make sure that it won’t damage your watch by scratching it, particularly the watch glass.
A chunky chain bracelet worn with your watch could well bang against your wristwatch and damage it.
Equally steel is a much harder metal than gold. Most metal bracelets in watches use stainless steel links – you definitely don’t want these rubbing, pressing or grating against a precious gold bracelet. In this instance, a leather band can be an excellent choice of watch to wear longside a gold tennis bracelet.
It may be a good idea to ensure you wear a watch that has a sapphire crystal glass which is scratch resistant, although even here we’d advise caution when wearing them together.
The Length of the Bracelet
Make sure that your bracelet is the right fit. Too large and it will get caught and could be pulled. It is also more likely to scratch your watch. Too small and it can ride underneath your watch and scratch both bracelet and watch.
Most ladies’ bracelets are 7.5” long. You can get adjustable bracelets which have an extension chain and, if your wrist is very small or large, we’ve advise on getting a bracelet that is adjustable.
If your wrist is large you can also buy bracelet extender chains which fit any watch by just clipping to the end to ensure the correct fit.
Check for Damage
Make sure regularly check the claws which hold the stones in your bracelet. A pulled, protruding or rough claw will scratch and cause damage to your watch and compromise your bracelet.
We always encourage our customers to regularly check their jewellery for snagged claws, etc. It makes repairs so much harder if you’ve lost a stone – a regular check will prevent this before it happens.
Ensure that there are no sharp bits on your bracelet that may scratch your watch.
To Sum Up
All in all, there is nothing wrong with wearing your tennis bracelet with a watch, in fact it can be a simple, perfect way to change your look.
But do take precautions that they won’t scratch or rub, or get caught. Try to match the hardness of the materials (see the Moh’s Hardness Scale).
Ensure the fit is correct (for both bracelet and watch) and that the weights of the bracelet and watch are compatible.
With the trend in stacking jewelry a tennis bracelet worn with a watch can be styled beautifully and really catch the eye.