Still a new and unsure product, the long-term fate of Apple Watch remains unknown.
It could fade into obscurity by next year, or it could become as commonplace as the lauded iPhone. Regardless of what the future holds for Apple Watch (and smart watches in general), one thing is for certain: the traditional timepiece is here to stay. It may be your first instinct to assume that emerging technologies will replace the old versions, but that is simply not the case for watches, and here are eight reasons why.
1. Smart watches and timepieces have very little in common
Yes, you wear both devices on your wrist, and, yes, both can tell time, but really when you think about it, that is where the similarities end. The Apple Watch is more comparable to a mobile phone than a wrist watch. In fact, if Apple Watch didn’t come with wrist straps, it would essentially be a tiny computer. Luxury watches, on the other hand, are fashion accessories, keepsakes, and collectibles. They are treasured for their craftsmanship and beauty – not for how fast they can send a text.
2. Wrist watches are part of an enduring tradition
Wrist watches are not a fleeting trend. They have been part of our culture for well over a century, and it is abundantly clear that timepieces are not going anywhere. Watches are given and cherished as precious heirlooms; they are given as gifts to commemorate special occasions. At this point in time, the wrist watch is every bit as much a wardrobe staple as a fine pair of boots or a business suit. In contrast, smart watches are clearly tied to this one point in history, which brings us to the next point.
3. Smart watches are not ageless
Apple Watches are immediately dated, and they will not be desirable as new technologies replace them. If you look at similar products like the mobile phone, mp3 player, or more recently the tablet, you can see how people are always replacing outdated devices with the latest updated versions. Next year, Apple Watch owners are not going to look at their devices the same way as they do now. On the contrary, owners of luxury watches end up appreciating their timepieces more and more as the years go by. A wrist watch becomes a friend and a keepsake, gaining personal (and often monetary) value with age.
4. Did the digital watch replace the analog timepiece?
The first digital Wrist Watch made its grand debut in 1970, retailing for $2,100 (approximately $11,400 today). You can be sure that people assumed that the heyday of the analog watch would swiftly draw to its close. As we can clearly see, that did not happen. In fact, by the late 1970s, digital watches were regularly sold for under $10. While digital watches are still around today, they are not held in nearly the same esteem as traditional timepieces, and they are often viewed as relics of the past.
5. Apple Watches are not always the appropriate fashion accessory
Smart Watches have their place, but they are not always an ideal accessory. For instance, if you saw a groom wearing an Apple Watch at a wedding, you would probably think it was tacky. Luxury timepieces are extremely versatile fashion accessories that elevate virtually any outfit you can imagine. Smart Watches divert attention from the rest of the outfit, and they just don’t feel right worn with formal apparel. There is nothing wrong with wearing an Apple Watch, but it certainly isn’t a substitution for a Rolex, Ulysse Nardin, or a Patek Philippe.
6. Never underestimate the power of nostalgia
While most people certainly appreciate new technology, we are not bound by it. There will always be plenty of people who appreciate the simpler things in life, and analog timepieces are one of them. There is a massive global community of people who collect watches, as well as iconic companies that produce them. Basically, what it comes down to is that people just love watches. You don’t need to be a horologist to appreciate timepieces; they are fascinating, meticulously crafted works of art.
7. Smart Watches are highly susceptible to damage
You wouldn’t catch a diver 100 feet below sea level wearing an Apple Watch. The unfortunate reality is that no matter how careful you may be, your smart watch is going to get scratched up and beaten if you wear it as often as you would a standard timepiece. An Apple Watch may be a helpful companion for a jog around the neighborhood, but it’s just not going to be ideal for everyday use. Quality timepieces are built to last for many lifetimes, and you can be sure that they will withstand regular abuse.
8. Luxury watches are status symbols
There is no denying that a luxury watch is just that: a luxury item. Those who are fortunate to be able to afford expensive watches appreciate owning a prestigious item. You wouldn’t expect someone to sell their classic Rolls Royce when a new electric car comes out, so why would a smart watch ever replace a luxury watch? The latest does not always mean the greatest, and some of the most admired treasures in the world are traditional timepieces.
Keep Your Faith in Analog Watches
In closing, the traditional wrist watch is not going anywhere anytime soon. At very least, there will always be dedicated companies like TimeScape, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breguet, and countless others that are dedicated to keeping the timepiece tradition alive, and there will always be avid collectors to buy them. When you also factor in the casual wearers and collectors, you can see that the timepiece community is a niche market that simply won’t be vanquished by technology, no matter how advanced.
Andrew Hoffman is a freelance writer and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, who has written on behalf of a range of clients including the Livestrong Network and Demand Media. In addition to writing about a range of topics, he enjoys surfing in Santa Monica and collecting classic, first-edition novels.