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Finer Things

Apple Watch Pre-Orders Soar, But Can It Deliver?

Christopher Daaboul

DAN O'ROURKE OF A TIMELY PERSPECTIVE SHARES HIS THOUGHTS

As we wrap up our week-long look at SmartWatches from traditional watch brands, we think it is only fitting to take a look at the leader of the SmartWatch pack from the technological side: the Apple Watch. Yes, one of our contributors and a true watch lover has pre-ordered his Apple Watch, as have many tech-savvy followers of ours — demonstrating that a love of technology and traditional watches are not mutually exclusive.

And, as the pre-orders for this device rise into the millions, we can’t help but wonder just what kind of impact it will have on our daily lives and on society for that matter. We will certainly see a generation more connected than ever before.

With the Apple Watch, it seems the makers of magic have done it again. They’ve created a piece of technology that we never knew we wanted. And they market it in a way that convinces us that we cannot live life with out it. It brings us from having the world in our pockets controlled by our fingertips, to wearing it on our wrists.

Ironically enough though, Apple wasn’t the creator of the first SmartWatch; there were other models (the Pebble and Android versions) that came out long before Apple even announced it was developing a smart watch. But just like the MP3 player, the concept just doesn’t catch on with the same tenacity until Apple makes you realize that you need it.

This week we took a close up look at a few of the smart-watches that traditional watch brands have been conceptualizing — watches that include secret vaults, fashion-forward looks, and interactive technology that bring the watch functions to the phone screen. (Sorry to those we did not yet get to cover such as Kenneth Cole and Nixon.)  The important thing to note is that this is a developing category for traditional brands, and that we can expect to see varying degrees of intelligence when it comes to these wearables. The story is different from the technology giants and their Smart Watches.

If we’re talking intelligence, the Apple Watch has the highest IQ.  Besides offering what seems to have become the standard biometrics and get-active alerts, this wearable tech device is designed to divert your attention away from your smartphone. It essentially puts a miniature smartphone on your wrist with an entirely different layout and interface. Doing all of this, however, without quite getting rid of your smartphone. There’s no denying that the Apple Watch has plenty of useful and even exciting  functions.

But from a horological standpoint, the Apple Watch is contradictory. The brand is marketing this device as a watch, by offering a number of different watch faces, straps and styles.  You can even make such customizations to the Apple Watch that will rack the price tag upwards of $10,000. That’s not unheard of in the watch world. If fact we often cover a wide variety of brands that sell watches for 10 times that price.  But thats for good reason. Those watches are made to last. They get passed down from generation to generation. But how many people do you know who still  own the first generation IPod, or even the first gen Iphone?

 

We’ve discussed traditional brands that have designed smart watches and marketing plans that purposely incorporate the element of technological improvement. As Moore’s law states, within one year, the technological functions will double in capacity and still shrink in size. For a timepiece as technical as the Apple Watch, it would be hard to imagine a simple software update or service request to meet the developmental tech demands. Additionally the tech industry thrives by making such items obsolete. The Apple Watch will most likely be replaced by The Apple Watch 2, 3, 4 and so on, as technology continues to soar to new levels.

Here is where we sit on the SmartWatch vs. Traditional Watch fence: Firmly on the fence. We believe that Smart watches from the technological side such as the Apple Watch will,  if nothing else, get younger generations to embrace the watch-wearing culture. Once they see that watch on their wrist, it may help them realize that a watch isn’t always about  getting personal updates, it’s about telling a story, and portraying a bit of your personality on your wrist — exactly what traditional watch brands have been doing for centuries. There is an old saying: “With age, comes wisdom.” With age, we believe, the Smartwatch-wearing individual will garner a sense of passion for traditional timepieces.

On a personal note:

As tempted as I may be for a $350 starting price, I'm not so sure I would purchase the first generation Apple Watch. At that price, I can purchase a traditional timepiece that is not just a watch, but is also something timeless. Wearable technology is becoming the new modern, whether we like it or not, and the tech-savvy will definitely embrace it. I myself have not fully adapted to a tech-filled life. I still print out my boarding pass for the airport.

 

A TIMELY PERSPECTIVE

ATimelyPerspective.com was founded by veteran watch journalist Roberta Naas.  The on-line watch and luxury goods magazine offers behind-the-scenes insight in to watch factories and news, offers off-the-cuff watch reviews, and includes celebrity profiles, educational information and more. 

Dan O’Rourke 

Daniel O’Rourke recently joined ATimelyPerspective as editor and social medial director. He has a love of  music  and cycling, and watches, and has covered subjects that include solar and smart watches, as well as traditional watchmaking.