What are the opinions on wearing a wrist watch.

We see many biblical figures that wore jewelry, the golden calf was made from jewelry belonging to man, you can say that only erev rav contributed to the calf, though it does not negate the Jewish men who did not participate from having jewelry. Even then, you have many poskim that rule for a wrist watch, I’m aware that hacham ovadia ruled if you have a real gold watch you don’t have to remove it from your wrist during teffilin.

So, in summary, begged isha is not technically defined by jewelry. Curious then on rabbi Chaim’s opinion on a wristwatch.

  • 1
    It's subjective to time and place. It was common back in the day for men to wear rings. Not as much today.
    – robev
    Apr 14, 2022 at 6:00
  • There is a whole discussion amongst the poskim as to whether one can wear a watch in an area that does not have an eiruv, and one point of the discussion is whether or not it is viewed like a piece of jewellery which would allow you to wear it.
    – Dov
    Apr 14, 2022 at 8:32
  • For the opinion of R' Chaim Kanievsky זצ"ל see this from 1:57: youtube.com/watch?v=lLMecpTvGTI Apr 14, 2022 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The prevalent opinion (meyikar hadin) is that it is permitted for men to wear a wristwatch and it doesn’t violate “lo yilbash” (prohibition against wearing opposite gender’s garments), it is only a stringency to refrain from doing so. לא תעדה אשה עדי האיש כגון שתשים בראשה מצנפת או כובע או תלבש שריון וכיוצא בו (ממלבושי האיש לפי מנהג המקום ההוא) (טור) או שתגלח ראשה כאיש ולא יעדה איש עדי אשה כגון שילבש בגדי צבעונים וחלי זהב במקום שאין לובשין אותם הכלים ואין משימין אותו החלי אלא נשים: הגה ואפילו באחד מן הבגדים אסור אף על פי שניכרים בשאר בגדיהם שהוא איש או אשה (ב"י) טומטום ואנדרוגינוס אסורים להתעטף כאשה: A woman may not clothe herself in men's clothing, e.g. put on her head a mitre or helment, or wear armor, and so on (Rama: from that which men wear in accordance with the local custom (Tur)) or shave her head like a man. A man may not clothe himself in the clothes of a women, e.g. wear colored clothing or golden ornaments in a place where only women wear those things. (Rama: Even wearing just one of the garments is forbidden, even if it is apparent by his other garments that this is a man or a woman (Beis Yosef).) A tumtum and an androgynos are forbidden to dress like women. https://www.sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Yoreh_De'ah.182.5

It is widely know that HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky z”l was of the opinion that wearing a wristwatch violates “lo yilbash”. Rav Chaim z”l gave many people a bracha and advice when they visited with him seeking just that. The Rav also frequently requested that they accept upon themselves something to uplift themselves spiritually, such as growing a beard, peyos, and not to wear a wristwatch to avoid “לא ילבש”. He points out that the Chazon Ish and his father, the Steipler, did not wear wristwatches because of the prohibition. Rav Kanievsky z”l was shown photos in which Rav Shach z”l and Rav Elyashiv z”l were wearing watches. The Rav reportedly responded explaining that he too used to wear one until he received reliable eidus from Maran Chazon Ish that it is prohibited.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe also wore a watch before he took on the Nesius (leadership). You can see the Rebbe wearing a wristwatch here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qgcDbDnto1k https://www.kikar.co.il/amp/393478

Chatzitza by Tefillin: From the letter of the law, it is permitted to have a Chatzitza under the areas of the straps that are on the arm, and hence it is permitted to wrap the straps over a watch that one is wearing. Nonetheless, it is initially proper to be stringent to remove the watch in order not to have a Chatzitza even under the straps. Doveiv Meisharim 2:37; Cheshev Haeifod 1:21; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:26; Piskeiy Teshuvos 27:9 https://shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/may-one-wrap-the-tefillin-over-his-wristwatch-or-must-he-remove-it/


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