Police say the 29-year-old victim was walking along Lyndale Road, Edenthorpe, when a stranger approached and asked for the time, at around 8pm on Monday 18 July.
The unknown man is alleged to have assaulted the 29-year-old when he looked at his watch, attempting to pull the watch off his arm.
The victim understood to have fought off the suspect, before the unknown man fled the scene empty-handed towards Thorne Road.
The suspect is described as being white, aged in his mid-20s, around 6ft tall, of skinny build. He had pale skin with a pronounced chin, and ginger hair that was shorter on the sides and longer on top, which was noticeably gelled.
He is believed to have been wearing a blue Adidas t-shirt and grey jogging bottoms, and spoke with a local accent.
The 29-year-old man suffered a minor injury to his arm.
Police are appealing for witnesses. Call police on 101 or email [email protected] quoting incident number 1152 of 18 July 2016, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.