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Will the mechanical watch die?

Last week, we read ‘The Emperor’s New Watch’ byJohn Biggs at TechCrunch.

The piece is a brief insightful timeline of how timekeeping has evolved over the years — from obelisk-sundials to egg timers to pendulums, from pocket watches to wrist watches and finally to present-day wearables. Watches, he says, were the first portables, objects so complex that the mass of learned men feared them.
Along the way, he narrates the fanciful tale of Jacquet-Droz’s special watch for the King of Spain. And an amusing anecdote from Shakespeare.

“He’ll watch the horologe a double set, If drink rock not his cradle,” wrote Shakespeare, meaning that the subject would drink all night if the booze didn’t put him to sleep.

The author ends the article with the contention that;

The Apple Watch is, I fear, the thing that will finally replace my Omegas and my JLCs and my Seikos.

Digital vs Analog

Will the Apple Watch (or other smartwatches) really take over the world?

The key value proposition of a smartwatch is a more portable form of productivity. Remember when laptops replaced desktops? Well, now they’ve been replaced by tablets and 6" phones. What we mean is that, the smartwatches of today will one day be substituted by something even more portable (implants?). Take a look at what the ingenious people at KairosTBand are cooking — bringing analog & digital together in a unique format.

 

If you care only about the accuracy of the time on your wrist, then buy a Casio — a quartz-driven mini computer that is nothing but a precise time teller. You want to take it a step further? Get a GPS watch that automatically adjusts the for time zone and syncs with world clocks.

Craftsmanship, however, will always be sought after.

Functionality > Craftsmanship?

A watch for many of us is a lot more than just a time-teller. When people wear a carefully crafted mechanical watch, it is a personal statement, a personal brand. What are you telling others about yourself if you wear an Apple Watch to a social setting? Think for yourself.

Granted, the smartwatch is utilitarian and will be a huge market. But, as we keep saying, life is not just about functionalities. It is not just an equation on how to optimize performance; we have stories, we are unique. We are emotional, relational, creative beings, we are human.

That’s why, as watch makers, we refuse to work on objects that just work; we craft time pieces that we love.

Emotions, memories, stories… Human

In this increasingly digital world, people are beginning to crave for the increasingly rare physical touch of humans, of crafts. We sincerely believe a watch is an evergreen machine that most individuals have an emotional connection with — the watch your father gifted to you when you graduated, the one with your wedding anniversary etched in the back, the heirloom left to you by your great-grandfather, the one with Mickey hands you bought on your first trip to Anaheim…

Can you replace all of those memories, emotions, feelings with a digital watch, a smartwatch? Will the Apple Watch ever look like this:

Or this:


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