Long Live The Wristwatch - Editorial

Sometime around New Year’s, there was a segment on National Public Radio about the odd and interesting ways that smartphones are changing the way we live our lives.

Part of the report dealt with the array of everyday gadgets that are becoming obsolete because of these mini, handheld computers. The list included objects such as voice recorders, alarm clocks, and MP3 players. There’s an app for all of them. Also on the list were dashboard GPS units, point-and-shoot cameras, video recorders, and even wristwatches.

We are on board with all of the predictions on the list, except the wristwatches. There’s something inherently simple about a quick glace to the wrist to check the time, rather than digging into your pocket or purse or backpack for your phone. It’s such a handy spot that even smartphone manufacturers have come up with phones that you strap onto your wrist.

But we were curious. How many people out there still wear watches? If a quick survey of our newsroom is any indication, the answer to that question is not many at all. Of the 18 people in the newsroom and design department Wednesday afternoon (whose ages varied from 20-something to 60-something), only one person was wearing a watch. Everyone else said they used their phones to check the time (the author of this editorial, included).

So perhaps the necessity of wristwatches is diminishing. But judging by the two issues of Esquire magazine and the one issue of Elle magazine in the lunchroom, the fashion impact that watches make is alive and well.

We found these magazine filled with advertisements for wristwatches: TAG Heuer, Movado, Rolex, Seiko Baume & Mercier, Swatch…and the list goes on. Judging by the number of ads in these magazines and the costs of the watches—many costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars—the watch industry is not hurting for business. 

Wouldn’t it be interesting if what saves the wristwatch is not its useful simplicity, but its “bling” factor?

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