A 29-year-old man was walking along Lyndale Road, Edenthorpe, when another man approached him and asked the time.
As the victim looked at his watch the other man attempted to pull it from his wrist before running off empty-handed towards Thorne Road.
The victim suffered a minor injury to his arm during the incident, which happened at around 8pm on Monday, July 18.
The offender was white, aged in his mid-20s, around 6ft tall, skinny and spoke with a local accent.
He had pale skin, a pronounced chin, and ginger gelled hair that was shorter on the sides and longer on top
It is believed he was wearing a blue Adidas T-shirt and grey jogging bottoms.
Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.