In our modern world with the recent invention of smartwatches, that are capable of many functions, is it any wonder that the ordinary wristwatch is under threat of extinction. Is the beloved, old fashioned, timepiece that has lasted for centuries about to become obsolete?
Will traditional wristwatches become obsolete? Let’s have a look at the facts before coming to a conclusion.
Peter Henlein developed the first-ever portable watch dating back to 1504. An amazing invention that over the decades has become a necessity for most. The first watch was simple to carry but was far from accurate due to the wearer’s walking movement impacting the ability to keep time.
It does not stop there. It is believed that Patek Philippe was the original creator of a wristwatch in the late 19th century. His initial plan was to design a timepiece for women and the company is still around today. They maintain over 400 sales outlets across the world and he is considered to be one of the most prestigious manufacturers ever. His company’s watches dominate the list of the most expensive ever sold, with most auctioning for millions of pounds. Nowhere near the purchase price of a smartwatch.
In WW1, officers needed a method for checking the time whilst at war. Timing became more important with the need to synchronise artillery bombardments for example. Trench Watches were supplied, being a mix between a pocket and wristwatch, and it enabled the army to work hands-free. After the war ended, soldiers would continue using them.
So, with all of this history, it is fair to say they were invented and designed for practicality and simply telling the time. This is no longer the case. With so many other options available, the obvious being smartwatches, that measure your heart rate, exercise, and steps throughout the day, it is easy to see why some people feel that the average watch could become outdated.
So, let’s look a little more into smartwatches and why they have become such a popular choice for many. There is no doubt they are here to stay and will continue to upgrade and improve over the coming years. If you love technology, a smartwatch is for you! With so many ever-changing functions and the latest technology, it is easy to see why you would choose it. But what about battery life? It is slightly inconvenient having to constantly remove your watch to charge it, especially when it is half-way through your day. If you are dressing up for a special event, adding a stylish, sparkling diamond watch to your attire will be far more visually appealing. And finally, if you own a luxury or vintage watch, they tend to hold their value for far longer than smartwatches.
Major mobile phone companies have designed their own version of fitness devices that also count steps, monitor your heart rate and connect to your phone. However, with all of these latest updates, do we genuinely believe that ordinary watches will become extinct like dinosaurs? It is doubtful for the following reasons.
Practicality. Having a watch on your wrist is far simpler than having to rely on your phone for the time. Not ideal is the prospect of rummaging around in your bag, or pockets if it isn’t to hand. It may be that you are in your car, or on a busy train and need to quickly check whether you are running late.
A smartwatch is extremely practical though. With a lit screen, date and other functions to hand, you’ll be glad of it whilst on the move. So long as it hasn’t run out of charge that is.
Fashion. Take away the function, how many of you have purchased a designer watch purely for the aesthetic appeal. I know I have! It may be for a special occasion, or perhaps a social event where you are trying to radiate professionalism. Expensive watches, made by prestigious manufacturers, can give off a certain vibe to the people around you. Often exuding class, some incredibly expensive, it usually takes a real enthusiast to notice that you are wearing one.
Part of the curriculum. It is very obvious that ‘times have changed’ when it comes to the technology children use. However, unlikely to alter anytime in the future is how our children are taught to tell the time. In classrooms all around the world, kids are learning whilst using a big clock on the classroom wall or a wristwatch. I find it hard to picture a teacher taking out her phone half-way through a lesson. No doubt this would be far more appealing for children these days, but the reality is they need to learn the ‘old fashioned way’.
Pop Culture. Many watch manufacturers rely on celebrities to attract potential consumers. Let’s look at famous films about James Bond. After the release of the film ‘Skyfall’, there was a massive increase in sales for the Omega Seamaster collection, because who doesn’t want to be like 007? It is interesting that the writers did not get Q to come up with some incredible high-tech smart device for his wrist. They certainly had the opportunity. Perhaps like me, they think original is best.
Watches of the Future. There have been hints from certain designers about their plans for the future. Take Cartier as an example. They provided a glimpse with the ID2 concept watch, stating they are dedicated to “owning the future of accuracy”. Then there is Girard Perregaux who has taken five years to design the Constant Escapement Watch. The Escapement is the component in a watch that transfers the power stored in the barrel to the balance wheel, which is the timekeeping mechanism. Their latest design means the watch will beat at a constant rate regardless of how much power remains in the barrels.
To me there is nothing better than something handmade, using precious metals, sometimes steeped in history. Whilst it is great to look forward to the next inventions, I prefer to leave my heart firmly in the past.