Almost six years ago I published a post entitled, The Timepiece as Art. I am still into wristwatches and have added to my collection significantly since then (Thanks, Dad!), but I wrote a line in that post that stated that I wanted a watch to feed me information. In addition to the local time, a typical mechanical watch can offer one or more of the day, date, month, world time or other time increments. But there are limits of what information can be offered. All of that is about to change.
Smart watches that link to a user’s phone is not a new concept; fitness trackers and other smart watches have been on the market for many years and have been meaningfully improved recently. But similar to my post below, because of the Apple Watch that was further detailed today in San Francisco by Apple, I am excited at the possibility of what the coming years hold. When the iPhone was announced in 2007, competitors’ phones began improving immediately. The Samsung Note 4 that I use today is a great phone, but is the sum of the successes and failures of prior phones across the global market the last eight years. I would expect a similar trajectory for smart watches.
But here is my conundrum. I still love mechanical watches. Having the time, day, date or other information in my palm or pocket on my phone has not caused me to stop wearing a wristwatch on my left wrist everyday. But when I can get all of that information and more on my left wrist, what do I do then? I don’t think we’re going to see the days where people wear multiple wrist accessories that are intended to do the same thing – for example, no one will be wearing an Apple Watch, FitBit, Rolex, etc. There will be only one winner in this game and the big losers will likely be the Swiss and Japanese watch making industry.
I have yet to join the iOS ecosystem and have been a Google/Android user since 2006. I don’t see myself with an Apple Watch, but I do see myself one day with a smart watch – probably an Android-based device several iterations from what is available today. But that prospect concerns me when I think about my wristwatch collection and what the future holds for it. I know classic watches will never go away or out of style, and I hope the prevailing style is to find a way to use both mechanical and high-tech watches, but I hope I don’t eventually become a wearer of solely a niche item.