Monday, March 09, 2015

Hey Beavis…Watch This

Apple has a watch to sell. You buyin' it?

It has been documented that traditional, conventional wrist watches have fallen out of favor for telling time with the time-poor young moderns. With so many relying on their personal devices to tell the time sales of watches have declined. Since the news about the MUCH ANTICIPATED Apple Watch what did I do? Went out and bought this new traditional analog watch for about $60.

I may be wrong but the Apple Watch is no game changer in the near term. Then again even as an Apple fan I am not the intended target buyer so I wouldn't be surprised by anything Apple offers these days. From the beginning there has not been one Apple device that hasn't captured my attention, one that made me pause and go…umm…WTF is that…no thanks. Apple has always produced items that excited me. The Apple Watch? Hear me yawn. Has the Apple magic finally worn off?

Who am I to judge? Being a watch dependent for over forty years all I need is a simple time piece. Do I want a large multifunctional gaudy brick on my wrist that needs to be plugged in and charged often? Will I want a wrist "device" that will be obsolete in a year or two? One that will cost hundreds of dollars? 

While many wear watches as fashion statements mine were always spartan. No Rolex for me. Large watches cramp my style. My watch must be small, lightweight, unimpressive and cheap. Most good watches were too heavy with bands that bind, constrain, pinch and make my wrist sweat. Cheap watches would last me a few years because I was hard on my watches. My watch always seemed to catch a hard object and the glass would scratch, the metal would dent and even had a few watches where the stem broke off. I beat the crap out of my watches unintentionally. My watched were broken first by abuse, not mechanical failure. Why would I want a watch costing more then $75?

To me buying an inexpensive functional time piece every few years saved me the expense of investing in a gaudy Rolex or other high end watch that was sure to get trashed after spending a few years on my wrist. My first watch was a Timex. Later on the disposable nature of a Casio made more sense. So what if I poisoned the planet with my dozen or so broken watches tossed into landfills?

Forgetting to strap on my watch could spoil my day. There were commuter trains to catch and meetings to attend. There was business travel requiring punctual use of time. There was that always important lunch date/gotta get back to the office excuse and having a watch helped wit dat. Hey, look where the time went! And there was that always important last half-hour of legal shooting time after sunset.

When Casio made a watch that incorporated a calculator in the early 80's I had to have one. It cost less then $50 I recall. It served me well since I sucked at math AND it told me the time too. My Casio calculator watch of old was square but all my other watches were the round analog style. 

In the past decade or so my favorite watch turned out to be the simple analog grunt watch similar to those worn by the military during WWll. Simple in it's elegance this was all I needed to get me to lunch on time. I wear a similar time piece today. Form follows function, the first rule of good design.

Digging into my pocket for my iPhone device, pushing the button to activate it in order to simply tell time isn't as effortless as simply glancing at my wrist.

Never being a jewelry wearer watch bands were always a problem for me. I preferred those nylon/velcro jobs because they were so comfortable. After a few weeks of use in the hot summer the sweat could build up and create an aroma that caused me to have a few of them clean and ready to wear. They needed to be laundered often. In the past few years I have made watchbands out of woven paracord. When they get dirty, or worn I just cut it off and weave a new one.

Oh yeah, the Apple watch. They claim it's more than a watch. But why? Apple is betting their Wall Street reputation this thing will at least keep the stock price steady and possibly cause it to rise in value but I have my doubts. It's hard to see this device being a game changer like the iphone was. Starting at about $350 they will sell but to whom and how many?

To me this thing is huge and it's ugly. It wouldn't last one year on my wrist without looking like a beat up, colorful microwave oven strapped to my wrist.

I've seen other watches like this years ago. They were usually cheap fashionable gaudy things worn by Jewish American Princesses (I worked with a few) or mob wives to compliment their other gaudy trinkets, tight fitting Jordache Jeans and gold slippers or CFMP's. It may appeal to those east coast fashion types or girly men seeking yet another form of attracting undue attention. Could it appeal to the Rolex crowd as a status symbol? Doubt it, the Rolex crowd is a traditional bunch but wealthy. But it could be just the thing for the urban hipster yuppies, especially those dandy boys and club hoppers.

In media reports I am constantly being told this is THE MUCH ANTICIPATED Apple watch. Anticipated by who? Shareholders mostly.

For the next year pay attention to WHO is wearing this thing. Look for prominent but subliminal brief appearances of them in upcoming television prime time programs and in motion pictures, all due to clever product placement (advertising) contracts Apple is sure to make. There will be more news media coverage in the form of consumer interest stories too. I recall Apple computers having a very prominent product placement strategy in motion pictures such as Jurassic Park and others during their early 1990's poor consumer sales years. Smart marketing for sure.

Will there be lines leading to the Apple retail stores waiting to be the early adapters? Will it draw crowds to come in and test them out? Maybe. I won't be among them. Rolex buyers and wealthy fashion slaves like me won't stand in a line to buy anything. I'll send Pedro the gardener of Faversham the indentured servant out to stand in line for me at the Apple Store if I decide to have a brief dalliance with an Apple Watch.

I have been wrong about many things. In this case I wish one of my favorite companies well in this optimistic endeavor.  They will need it.


Dan from Madison said...

While my watch wearing days are behind me for the most part, I did look at a computer/watch when Samsung offered it under android. I declined - it was basically an extension of my phone. The iWatch might be better or different than that, but I can't see a reason to own any "smart" watch yet. The smartest watches I have are the pair of Tag Heuers that I earned (read - bought from their surplus profits) from one of my vendors and they look nice when I wear them with a suit the six or seven times a year I put one on.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ha ha I probably will be a facile early adopter and get one soon. Can be a good column here at LITGM - Carl tries to figure out how to make it work.