Which arm do you wear your watch on is not a common question we’re commonly asked. Depending on if you’re left-handed or right-handed, you generally From as far back as I can remember, I have always worn my watch on my right hand. Despite being right-handed, this never struck me as odd until it was pointed out to me to a bemused Russian woman who had just asked “which arm do you wear your watch on”. After showing her she replied ”Interesting, wearing a watch on the right hand. Just like President Putin.”

As one of the most heavily observed characters in the current political sphere, many observant people have noted the various quirky traits of Vladimir Putin, wearing a watch on his right hand is one of the most prominent. This has also spurred on the question of why he does it. Is Putin ambidextrous, left-handed, or is that just how he likes it? Exploring the theories and finally, the answer, let’s find out!

Is Putin Left-Handed?

When it comes to wearing a watch on the right hand, it can serve as an inconvenience when carrying out everyday tasks. The watch can become intrusive when writing or (before coronavirus) shaking hands for example. This is the reason for right-handed and left-handed people alike wearing their watch on the opposite wrist. However, Putin is right-handed.

why does Putin Wearing Watch on Right Hand
Vladimir Putin meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Whilst the various examples of Putin using his dominant hand serve to push aside the theory that explains his wearing of a watch on the right hand, some have come up with the theory that Mr. Putin is in fact a “closet left-hander”. This is a term used to describe those who carry out most everyday functions with their right hand. However, when it comes to lesser important tasks they often change to their left hand, sometimes subconsciously. There is next to no evidence, however, that Vladimir Putin is a so-called ”closet left-hander”.

Is Putin Ambidextrous?

Of course, with the left-handed theory made defunct and a major lack of evidence on the theory that Putin is a ”closet left-hander”, another theory rose surrounding the question of whether Putin is ambidextrous. This is a term used to describe people who have the ability to functionally use their left and right hands with equal efficiency. However, similar to the theory of being a closet left-hander, there is a lack of significant evidence to say that Putin is indeed ambidextrous.

Meridian Lines on the Human Body

It’s no secret that Vladimir Putin is a well-experienced practitioner of the Japanese martial art of judo known as a Judoka. However, many judokas are well versed in Meridian Lines on the human body that, according to the centuries-old Chinese meditation system called “Fukuri”, that serve as energy channels that can be used for meditation or against an opponent. The latter is a technique studied by various martial arts practitioners.

According to Fukuri, the function of the male heart can be traced to Tsun which is one of three meridian points situated on the wrist of every man. Naturally, the question of which arm do you wear your watch on is an important one as a watch strap on the left hand would create an obstacle for such specific meridian points on the human body. It’s believed that the watch strap, whether its leather, gold, or silver, will interfere with the functioning of the human heart if worn on a man’s right wrist.

A 2001 article by the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda speculated that Putin’s Judo background and likely adherence to the laws of Fukuri were the reason for Putin wearing a watch on the right hand. However, this was never confirmed by the Russian president himself.

When Putin became president, everyone noticed he wears a watch on his right hand. Why? After studying books on oriental medicine, we came to the conclusion that our president is familiar with the ancient Chinese system of meditation “Fukuri”.

– Komsomolskaya Pravda

An interesting fact about the Russian president. In 2012 he achieved the 8th dan in Judo. This made Vladimir Putin the first Russian citizen to have been awarded the eighth dan and incorporating him into the small number of international judo fighters to have achieved such status.

The Answer Lies in the Watch Crown

Whilst exploring all of the possible theories is certainly fun, it’s time to give you the answer as to why Putin is always wearing a watch on the right hand. The answer comes from the mouth of the president himself and lies in one characteristic of the watch itself: the watch crown!

In 2002, a year after the article on Putin’s watch wrist was released by Komsomolskaya Pravda, the Russian president was coming to the end of a two-hour-long phone in with the Russian nation when one of the final callers put the question to him: “Why are you always wearing a watch on the right hand?”

why does Putin Wearing Watch on Right Hand
A younger Vladimir Putin wearing his watch on the right wrist.

In the blunt, no-nonsense approach we have come to associate with President Putin, he replied with the following answer: “I’m always wearing a watch on the right hand because that way, the crown doesn’t scratch my wrist. And that’s all there is to it”.

Interestingly, according to Russia Beyond, Putin’s answer was forgotten about over the years and the question of him wearing a watch on the right hand arose again in 2018. When it was put to him over a decade and a half later, his response was pretty much the same with an emphasis on comfort: “If you wear it (your watch) on your left hand, the crown, which turns, makes it uncomfortable and painful. That is why I moved it to the other wrist.”

The Russian factory worker sporting his Swiss Blancpain watch given to him by President Putin.

It’s believed that Putin’s watch collection is worth an estimated $700,000 dollars. Putin has also been known to give some serious timepieces away as gifts. Amongst those lucky enough to receive some have been a Russian factory worker Putin met back in 2009. The watch was identified as a Swiss Blancpain worth around $7,000. Such lavish generosity goes both ways as it was reported that Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister and a close friend of Putin’s, gifted him luxury watches in exchange for various contracts.