Stuck in the middle, in a place I don’t want to be

File 13-03-2017, 12 25 47
I would rather have my wrist vibrate than wear this. What is wrong with me?

This is far from one of life’s big problems, at least not in comparison to other things I am dealing with. It is, however, something that is bothering me and possibly something that others will have to deal with in the future.

Yesterday, I decided to wear one of my Father’s watches just to see if I really am stuck in the Apple Watch way of doing things and to my horror, I am. I had to attend a meeting and there it was, just telling me the time and doing nothing else. It was likely that notifications were coming in, but I could not check them because to pick up my phone would have been rude.

It is also likely that I didn’t need to look at the notifications with any great urgency, but I am now used to the buzz on my wrist and checking them, and dismissing them, in 2 seconds. Nothing was telling me that I had been sat down for too long and it didn’t feel right.

This of course is not a problem for anyone who buys a smart watch, but for someone like me who ‘really’ enjoys traditional watches it feels like I am missing that enjoyment.

I have 2 wrists so I would in theory wear both, but seriously. Just how silly would that look even if the Apple Watch was facing down? No matter what, I cannot bring myself to do that and so I have to make a decision.

It looks as though I will be sticking with the Apple Watch because I am somewhat hooked on specific things that it does, even though I am aware that if I stopped wearing it I would not miss it. It is a strange conundrum; choosing something over something else when I wouldn’t miss it if it was not there. Odd.

There is only one way forward that would work for me, and because I like to think that everything is ‘about me’, I will propose this for the entire industry.

The big watchmakers need to put smarts in their real watches. We have seen that Bluetooth chips can be made to be incredibly tiny and so the industry should move in that way, just to make me happy.

If there is a downside to this, it is that they may worry that people will be pushed to smart watches and away from traditional timepieces. This in turn stops them pushing huge mark-ups on low-end quartz watches and the margins will decrease. And then there is the problem that for the majority, a smart watch is just another watch that replaces a tool they have no emotional attachment to.

However, if someone like me, who loves traditional watches to an unhealthy level, gets hooked on the smart wrist experience, what chance the rest of you?

It could just be me, but I feel stuck with a new technology that can only replace an old one that I love. Phones replaced nothing, computers replaced nothing and here we are with the new world replacing the old. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and just accept that I don’t need a beautifully crafted piece of metal on my wrist. Just maybe I need the functionality instead.

9 thoughts on “Stuck in the middle, in a place I don’t want to be

  1. If you need the functionality you’d better wear the Apple Watch. Think of it as a modern phone. Would you carry both an old flipphone and a smartphone just because you liked the flipphone?

      1. Yeah, I can see that. I was looking practically, and this has to do with aesthetics. I’m forced to carry things I know are more practical. I miss the thing I really like because I know I really need the practical item. Funny thing is that I end up justifying a new love for the less-desirable practical item. The mind can really trick us into liking things. I see it with tools I carry, flashlights, even guitars.

  2. Shaun, that watch is beautiful, really beautiful, and its connection to your Dad is clearly far more precious to you than a few minor notifications (did they really move things on in that meeting or substantially prepare you better for the rest of the day?). As for checking your watch for notifications being less rude than checking your phone, I beg to differ. I find both to be equally intrusive and disruptive. What would you really miss if you checked neither during a meeting? Go with your heart, I say, and we all know where that is: with real people and lasting beauty.

    1. This isn’t the watch I think of as my Dad’s, but I get the point. Really is a battle between emotional and usefulness.

  3. What functions do you most miss on the Apple Watch?

    Sounds like notifications is they key? This ties into what’s the killer app for smartwatches – if it was JUST notifications, I could in theory see advances to generalize it across manufacturers -either smart straps or some standard backdrop for the face? Or is the strap too much part of the watch’s emotional history?

    1. It’s the notifications yes above all else. Smarts in an old watch would be good, but being able to glance at the notification is MUCH more useful than a mere vibration

  4. Wear the smart watch during meetings and such like moments to remain descreet, and when there’s no need and you can check your phone, wear a traditional watch.

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