I am the type of person who never takes my watch off. This is not because I am always obsessively early, or on time for everything I do. No, this is because I perpetually try and fit too much into my day. I am therefore perpetually late. It drives me mad – it drives everyone I know mad. I try and pretend it’s ok and be lighthearted about it – but you know what? It is maddening. Every year I promise to be more realistic but every year I fall back into the old ways. Eventually I revert to type:
- Cleaning the bathrooms and doing the washing before the school run
- Having a 10km run / interval session after I drop the kids and before I get to work
- Trying to cook supper, police homework, and do the online grocery shop while I call my Grandfather all at the same time
The result in this is that I am always looking at the clock because I am always running out of time. Always.
I like looking at my watch – it is a thing of genius. It is small, perfectly formed and totally functional. The glass is the solar panel and it knows when to change the date – it has a perpetual date thingy on it. It even knows when it’s a leap year.
But as much as I like it, I really need to improve my time management … So I am carefully watching the emergence of the smartwatch as a piece of wearable tech. I am keen to see of this the answer to my ‘issue’.
Sure it will streamline my need to hold / be near electronic devices. Everything will be right there where I need it. I can be reminded – on my wrist – when I need to move from one task to another. But it also means I cannot walk away from emails / texts and all other manner of things that will fly themselves onto my wrist. Yes I can turn them off, but then it seems that I am paying for a smartwatch but making it stupid – pointless. I might as well wear a watch.
Which brings me to the point – am I better off buying a smart watch or a smartwatch?
The basic entry Apple Watch is £299 and they go all they way up to a whopping £13,500. But they all need charging – none are waterproof – and they are not beautiful.
Watches are very useful as time pieces, but also serve a purpose as jewellery. For men, they are one of the very few pieces of jewellery that they can wear.
I need my watch to be reliable – I need to wear it in the shower and while I swim or take a bath. I want it to complement my outfit, not dominate it. I fear the smartwatch does none of these things.
Is the whole smartwatch thing actually making watch wearing and design / evolution take a step backwards? Hundreds of years ago the Swiss conquered the reliability issue with the automatic movement and also the question of watches being beautiful was answered by the great watch designers a long time ago, with some designs standing the test of time – you just need to take a look of the used luxury Swiss watch market. The new smartwatches on offer are, well, ugly – big, bulky, square black wrist dominating things.
For now I am sticking with a gadget that does what it should do – tell the time accurately and reliably, with no need for 18 hour charging – not much good up a mountain! – and be a joy to look, at which I do hundreds of times a day while trying to do too much and running late.
I just need to decide …
Design Classic Mondrian with steel strap – Black £175
Tag Heuer Carrera automatic 28mm – Steel £1600
Rolex Lady Datejust 31mm – £4200