DISCUSSION PROMPT: APPLE WATCH

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It’s finally here, the Apple Watch… as expected, it has outdone all other “smart watches” currently available (not saying much considering the age of the genre), clearly has some cool tricks up its sleeve and seemingly some impressive detailing and materiality.

aw5

And, I figured it could be fun to open up a conversation with you, our readers about it… so, what does everyone think? Are you impressed by the design and functionality? Are watches under $1k in trouble? Will all of us watch-nerds soon be double-wristing, a mechanical on one, an Apple Watch on the other?

Discuss!

for more Apple Watch, check out coverage on the Verge

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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  • After watching the presentation and demo I have to say that I am underwhelmed. The design is ok, as far as smart watches go. It really does not look that much different than the available Android Wear watches available now. The crown looks out of place to me, my eye wants it to be at 3 o’clock as in a normal wristwatch. Also on the crown, it looks small if it is to be used for zoom/navigation, and for those of us who wear our watches on the left wrist it would be awkward to use with your left hand. The zoomed out view of all those small dots of apps seems like a horrible UI choice. There had to be a better way.
    On the plus the transitions all looked smooth and it does come pack with functionality and it will work with Apple Pay, which if it takes off will be slick. And the decision of multiple sizes is a smart move – watches are not one size fits all.
    The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and it will be interesting to see how it sells when it becomes available.

    • CortUK

      “The proof is in the pudding, as they say…”

      Wrongly. It’s “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

      ;o)

      • I think my meaning was understood without the correction, thanks.

        • CortUK

          Then you didn’t need to reply to say so. Lighten up for christ’s sake.

          • I should know better than to feed the trolls. My bad. How about you discuss the watch?

          • wkfink

            Don’t get all bent out of shape. He corrected your misuse of an idiom. You should have just left your original reply with “thanks” and left out the snarky try at saving face.

    • Bernhard de Kok

      Apparently, you can configure the watch for left handers during setup. However, this results in the crown in the lower position rather than the upper, but seeing as it’s offset in any case, it’s not too significant. For me, the Apple Pay functionality is quite interesting.

  • Sean

    I honestly think it’s still too early to say. Apple has a great track record for taking existing technologies (MP3 players, smartphones, tablets), refining them, and absolutely dominating the market, so it’s entirely possible the Apple Watch will catch on with a good chunk of people from brand recognition alone. That said, I think the real test for the Apple Watch (and smart watches in general) is whether it can catch on in the business world. I’m not talking about replacing the Submariner as a status symbol in the office, but if it can establish itself to the sort of guy who would otherwise buy an entry-level TAG, it could cause a pretty big shift in watch culture. Would I ever wear it? Probably not. But Apple isn’t looking for guys like me. That’s my 2 cents, if middle management jumps on the bandwagon it’ll really start to move.

    • Ilya Ryvin

      I think this is an interesting point. I think that for those who aren’t in the know, buying that first expensive (relative, I know) watch is usually a status symbol, a way to show the world, “Look, I’ve made it.” Those people will continue to buy watches, as will serious collectors who appreciate mechanical timepieces. The smaller independents don’t really have anything to worry about since they’re kept afloat mostly by fans within the watch community. I think in the end, the Apple Watch may put a dent in the fashion watch market, since people who buy those expect to replace their watches every couple of years. Why spend 250 on Michael Kors when you can get a pretty good looking smart watch for an extra 100?

      TL;DR: As much as I like the Apple Watch, the Swiss can sleep soundly tonight.

      • Sean

        Well put, Ilya.

      • You should emphasize the fact that it’s not ‘timeless’. It’s destined to be replaced by next year’s model. What’s more the endless ‘app’ updates this will potentially have and its batteries dying while doing so 😀

  • Andrew

    The Apple watch will certainly disrupt the traditional watch market. The big question is to what degree. Especially considering the positioning of the device as adding the most value to the user with consistent use over time. This will likely drive one of two outcomes for those who pursue the Apple Watch and devices like it: 1. Exclusive use of the device in place of a traditional time piece, 2. An addition to a traditional time piece. The latter of these two seems unlikely. It will be interesting to see what kind of adoption these devices get over time. However, considering the scale of Apple’s business, it is unlikely that the impact it will have on traditional watch-making will be trivial.

  • Apilphat.S

    i will choose moto360 design. its look like watch more than Apple watch but its not Apple.

    • wkfink

      And deal with 12 hours of battery life and a 46mm case?

      • Apilphat.S

        Oh its true, battery life is important too. btw case is 44mm.

        • wkfink

          No it’s not. Direct from Motorola it’s 46×11.5mm.

          • Apilphat.S

            Okay Thank you for information

    • Bernhard de Kok

      I like a smart watch to be rectangular or square as it provides a better experience for all software tasks that are not time related. The squarish smart watch is not pretending to be something it isn’t; it’s stating quite clearly “I’m a smart watch”, whereas the Moto 360 is pretending to be an analog watch and it’s not. Also the Moto 360 will suffer a little bit with the restrictions of a round face, but I guess it does show a nice analog imitation.

    • Agreed, I really though they would go round and was floored when the design was shown. I’m on the moto 360 wagon too, much better execution.

  • Mark McArthur-Christie

    It’s as clever as a politician with his eye on your wallet, but it ain’t a watch. At least, not in the sense we talk about here. It’s a properly clever piece of tech that happens to tell the time. You’ll never understand it unless you have a PhD in software engineering, but that’s the point. Watches – to be interesting – need to be about accessible technology. Stuff you can (just about) understand. This is as accessible as your fridge, just with more functions.

    • Jamesnuk

      Talk to the average person about balance wheels and oscillations and swan necks and they’ll think your asking them on a date. Ask the same person to text their mum or calculate Pi on their Apple watch, and they’ll be swimming in a sea of smugness.

      I love mechanical watches, but we’re in the minority. To the majority, this is the new accesible

  • The design is underwhelming (and dated already) and the functionality already exists with Android smartwatches. I don’t feel like Apply gave it their all on this, almost like they decided they needed to release it so they could say they had a smartwatch.

    It is possible that this will spur the smartwatch market and they will gain in popularity, since it is Apple. I feel that smartwatches/wearables will be ubiquitous some day, but today is not that day. Neither is tomorrow, for that matter.

  • HeijnMandarijn

    Non-smart-watches will always be my favorite! It’s not always about the functionality of a watch… sometimes it’s just about style

    • Well said.

    • Bill

      But you can’t see Suzie’s FaceBook status update on a mechanical automatic.

      • Dan

        I’d rather look at a beautiful dial and a sweeping second hand than Suzie’s Facebook update.

  • Dave

    Well, it’s not a “watch” I would wear. Compared to others, I like its size most, but I am a terrible hater of non round watches in general. But no, I’d never double up on watches and don’t see myself ever adopting a smart watch over a traditional wrist watch. The tech is neat, but there’s no beauty in it when compared to even the least expensive traditional watches.

  • CortUK

    Sony called. They want their smartwatch back.

  • Its sounds like a lot of folks in the watch community aren’t into the idea of a smart watch and take issue with the whole naming convention to begin with (@markmcarthurchristie:disqus I’m looking at you). And I totally agree. Smart watches don’t interest me and, despite it being the nicest of the bunch in my opinion, the Apple watch is no different.

    I’m also not sold on the notion that smart watches will be a permanent fixture in the tech landscape, but who knows. There are far fewer watch nerds in the world – who wouldn’t dare replace their Seiko 5 with an Apple watch – than there are people eager to try out the next piece of tech from Apple, regardless of what it is. Needless to say, if any company has a shot at making smart watches relevant for the long-term, it’s Apple.

    • Mark McArthur-Christie

      I have a feeling, Blake, that smart watches will be like fax machines. Functional and in vogue only for a while until something, er, smarter comes along!

  • wornandwound

    I agree with everyone’s general sentiment; not too surprising, not too great looking, not for me. I do think it looks like it’s very well designed and executed in regards to detailing, like the subtle curve of the crystal, the texture of the crown, the ceramic case back… I also think the slot-swapping straps was a great way for them to deal with the peripheral market, while making it simple for Joe Consumer to change a strap… we all take spring bars for advantage, but a lot of people would never try that on their own.

    That said, it’s only a watch because it’s strapped to your wrist, not because it tells time… cell phones have never been called Smart Pocket watches, though plenty use them as such… heck, who uses them as phones anymore?.. back on point, the reality is it’s a cell-phone tethered wrist-remote… not too sexy sounding. It’s hardly a threat to the mechanical watches we know and love.

    But… If I worked at Casio or a similar brand, I would be paying close attention. I think the market of teens – college kids that might have been buying g-shocks and the like or getting them as gifts, people who are not “watch people” but still buy and wear watches, might very well turn to the Apple Watch. It will do everything they could dream of, be flashy and new, and highly customizable via 3rd party straps…and you know people will be making big rubber bumpers and things to go around it. The brilliant part and awful part, is that in 2 years they’ll probably have to buy a new one… so they basically become subscribed to a watch brand for life…

    • Ilya Ryvin

      I think this is really on point.

    • Caleb Kay

      Spot on. People are going on and on saying this is going to kill the Swiss watch market. I don’t think so. It will, however, impact the consumer/entry-level digital watch market, like you said. G-shock, and to an extent, the fitness band people, like Jawbone and Fitbit, will find competition stiff.

    • Pavan2099

      I think your comments about the Casio tier of watches is spot on for this iteration of the Apple Watch, but I wouldn’t be so confident about the future. In Jony Ive’s intro video even he says he thinks this is a ‘good beginning.’ The first iPhone was also a ‘good beginning.’ It wasn’t really worth owning in that iteration. It was too expensive and not functional enough to be more than a toy. But over time its functionality crept upwards and the third party app and accessory developers got in on the game and it became revolutionary. The first iteration didn’t get us there, but it started us down the path and showed us what the future was going to look like.

      These devices, whether they’re made by Apple or someone else, are only going to get thinner, lighter, and more functional/sophisticated as time goes on and as battery/energy storage technologies improve. If they ever manage to squeeze enough capacity in there to power a dedicated GPS chip and cellular/WiFi antenna then it is entirely possible that the smartwatches will become our phones and our smartphones will become the accessories, nothing more than little tablet computers with cellular data capabilities.

      Moreover, this is training the next generation to be dependant on smartwatch functions. It’s one thing to be into haute horologie once you’ve already caught the bug, but for many of us the bug was caught when we first looked in the kiosk of Seikos at the mall or saw a really neat edition in a movie. If those kiosks take a backseat to smart-watches and those movies start foregoing them, how many people are going to be into traditional timekeeping then? Horologie was saved from the quartz crisis by transforming high-end watches into art pieces and status bearing goods. But the quartzes weren’t doing anything the fancy watches couldn’t do, they were just doing it more cheaply. This is a new kind of threat, and one that I’m not sure the old Swiss Guard is equipped to handle and they have a very real chance of having their products go the way of the typewriter, a quirky toy for eccentric anachronists.

      • Mark McArthur-Christie

        Fair point, although – as someone who’s happily gone public about his love of the F-91W – I think there’s a fundamental difference between the AppleWatch and many of Casio’s range. Some Casio watches are all about the functions. As many of the little beggars as you can cram in. Others – like the F-91 – are about simplicity. For me, the AppleWatch is just way, way, way too busy. Just tell me the time, give me an alarm and a chrono. That’ll do me. Even though I wouldn’t need my watch for stock prices (thanks Bloomberg) or health updates, they add a level of implicit complication that I simply can’t be bothered with. But hey, I drive a ’67 Volvo Amazon, ride a Russian motorcycle and sidecar and use a fountain pen. I’m a relic already.

        • Pavan2099

          I expect it seems very busy in the demo because they’re showing you all of its functions. In daily use its busyness would, more or less, just reflect yours. My phone mostly just sends texts and e-mails and receives texts and e-mails which I check whenever I feel like it because it doesn’t buzz unless I’m expecting something.

          I’m a bit of a throwback myself, but while I don’t see myself going for this iteration of the watch, I can imagine a day when the watches begin to replace the communications functions of our phones. And when that happens who knows where our actual watches will be.

      • somethingnottaken

        Smart watches may displace quartz watches. However, quartz watches are already far more accurate, feature rich, and affordable than mechanical watches. Why would buyers who prefer mechanical watches over quartz switch to smart watches? The only possibility I can see is if mechanical watches are just a temporary fad destined to be replaced by the next fad.

  • I was at 38,000 feet over Nebraska when the announcement hit, so I wasn’t able to watch the show (too cheap for in-flight wifi…).

    Like other commentators, I’m a bit underwhelmed. I do, however, like the crown – both the physical design and the functionality – if we indeed need a thousand apps on a remote control for a phone.

    But really, my first reaction – and I’m an Apple fanboy – is this is an epic fail for Apple. Maybe its really just an epic fail for me and my hopes & dreams for the post-Jobs era. Really… I needed it to be round, and hint at haute horlogerie.

    In the final analysis, I am not the target market for such a device (and I agree with my compadre, Mr. McArthur-Christie – it ain’t a watch. As such, maybe its cool factor will be higher. And who knows? Maybe millennials will get used to looking at their wrists for the time after all, and have it dawn that a wrist instrument purely for telling time is a good thing.

    And that ain’t bad…

  • Li Wang

    Ewwwww

  • Bill

    I was discussing this with some friends earlier.. who are both in favor of the Apple Watch.

    [Would either of you guys wear this Watch professionally? To work? A client meeting? Etc.]

    I mean even if you pop for the 18k gold watch and pair it with a nice strap, I’d say it’s not exactly dressy enough for the typical office job.

    The reason I ask is this:

    If you’re going to wear it everyday in a work setting, you’ll have your phone in your pocket, no? Out at the bars on a weekend you also will, right?

    Let’s switch it up to it’s strongest point IMO. On the move… The sports aspect would be it’s strongest pull to me. To monitor time & distance for a run. But, the base model requires an iPhone to work. So you now have an armband with your iPhone and your Watch on and which do you connect your headphones to, for listening to running updates and music? Bluetooth headphones to the Watch? SQ is inferior for Bluetooth and you certainly aren’t going to want to connect a cord to something attached on to your wrist.

    So they will also offer a Sport and Exec? model as well that do not require pairing with the iPhone. It’d be easy to assume they are more expensive than the standard Watch, but do you think they will work with all of the Tech/data for free? No, it’ll probably be just like the iPads: you’ll either need a WiFi connection (pointless while running), or a Data Plan.

    Are you guys willing to pay for a separate data plan for your WATCH?

    To me that’s the biggest downside. It boils down to a watch that has plenty of tech, the Apple branding and finish/quality that I also love, but really serves as a duplicate device that will look out of place in a professional setting, and that takes up the “parking spot” on my wrist – overlapping another hobby and passion of mine.

    No thanks.

  • aquiring192

    don’t know if this happened already but why not both smart and mechanical?

    http://www.ablogtowatch.com/kairos-smartwatch-watch/

    • gadgety

      Analog digital smartwatches – using quartz and mechanical movement existed in SonyEricssons MBW-line back in 2006-2010. Vibration alerts, caller ID, SMS, music control, and some 40 functions were available. It was fantastic.

      But, a quartz movement is much smaller than a mechanical movement, so the watch will be much larger. In addition, the spring would be sensitive to electromagnetics and the watch would be rather poor in terms of accuracy. Really bad. Unless you its auto you’d have to wind it every day.

      There’s a swiss prototype out there which claims to integrate mechanical and smart, using microengines to set the time, so that the mechanical is always correct. Might as well go quartz.

  • john

    Its exactly what I would expect from apple. Another device with nothing truly “new” or groundbreaking. However it will work flawlessly with all other apple devices. Thus IF you buy it you would be hard pressed to get rid of it because it also works with you macbook, iphone, tablet, apple tv, etc etc etc. Instead you would be motivated to keep it then get the new “slightly better” version year after year. A pretty damn good business plan in my opinion. You get my point. From a watch enthusiast perspective its mediocre, my favorite smart watch but thats not saying much. From someone who is a die hard apple fanboy and has stock in apple, It along with the iphone 6, will be the christmas gift of choice for anyone with an additional 350 dollars, so I like it 😉

  • Andre Hiray

    This is not a watch in my opinion, this is an extension of the iPhone, I have my iPhone, why would I need something on my wrist that I already have on my phone, the materials are nice, the design are well done but… For me a watch is something much more personal than a mass production (everyone has) product.
    For another point of view, like a fitness sport watch would be a nice (expensive) option.

  • I think Android Wear did well at extending the smart phone experience with a phone supplement via a smart watch. Having used the LG G watch for a couple months I have found that I appreciate the voice control and extension of what is already happening on my phone. Best of all you can silence certain apps if they are annoying.

    That being said I still find days that I don’t want to touch a smart watch. Too much information can be overwhelming and make me reach for a normal watch.

  • gadgety

    What is nice about the Apple watch?

    The wrist bands, and how it can be swapped out at a push of a button. 18K gold is a nice try to bring it upmarket. Don’t know if it’ll succeed. Using physical buttons for interaction, which Sony did with their Live watches. Some of the watch faces look nice.

    The rest of the design is meh. It looks rather fat, too. What are the dimensions? The Moto360 blows it out of the water with it’s thin bezel circular display.

    Functionality wise, it may have some neat features, but that will have to be evaluated later.

  • Willem

    Something made from a precious metal like rose gold should last for a life time, anything with an ‘i’ in front is ephemeral in the scheme of things. Most likely in 5 years apple won’t let you pair it with the latest iphone, so it simply won’t work even as a watch. The majority of these rose gold versions will be stripped and melted down back into bullion within a decade is my prediction.

    “You never actually own an iWatch, you merely look after it for the next generation.”

  • bryanredneck

    a samsung design with an apple price

  • Curmudgeon

    I don’t care how smart the stupid thing is; I wouldn’t be caught dead with one! I love my mechanicals because they’re miraculous little machines with a heart and soul. This Apple thingy is for jerks to flaunt while waiting on line at Starbucks to order their double soy crappuccinos.

    • Mark McArthur-Christie

      There is such a thing as a double soy cappuccino? Ye gods.

  • Jamesnuk

    I gotta say, usage aside I really like the detailing, particularly on the straps. It’s seems they’ve considered the overall package, and as a design fan I think there are some wins here. The metal straps are much nicer than most of the silicon yawn-fests you see in this market. If you haven’t checked it out on the Apple site yet, I recommend it.

    I love mechanical watches and that won’t change, but this is the first smart watch i’ve actually considered buying.

  • Clockwork Synergy

    Wornandwound – well said!

    We tend to look at things from the strap / hardware perspective and are disappointed that Apple made their straps proprietary to them. Apple is the best in the business when it comes to taking an idea, simplifying it and selling millions. But its sad to say that Apple only offers 6 watch strap options. I just don’t think that few of straps will be enough options to cover everyones individual style. They make 1 iphone in 2 colors, but let Otterbox design 100’s of styles. If this required a 20mm wide strap, we literally have over 400 different options that could fit it and I honestly think consumers would of enjoyed them more.

    #goodluckapplewatches

  • phb

    One question that I do not often see asked is, what are you supposed to do if you like traditional watches and the new Apple watch, wear one on each wrist? I guess that’s where a Destro Panerai comes in handy!
    This will get better and better but at the end of the day it remains a consumer product in that newer will be better and there will never be a vintage market, can you imagine bumping into someone into an airport lounge and saying wow, a first-gen Apple Watch, I really loved that one, etc… So from a classic watch durability point of view, it’s an epic failure but I can see myself use one at the gym. In a funny way one could argue that a traditional watch is more eco-friendly since not using any battery, etc… especially for one-watch guys. I know it’s the exception here but most people I know either get a cheap watch and use it until it stops working or buy a nicer watch and keep it for most of their lifetime.

  • Mark McArthur-Christie

    Just a passing thought… wonder what the chaps at Ressence make of the design? There seem to be more than a couple of common cues.

    • Guest

      Good point

  • Giles

    Hmmm some interesting thoughts, for me the smart watch has a lot to offer in terms of providing useful information and potentially as a replacement for a phone altogether. However there is no replacement for the basic form and function of a well maintained mechanical watch, they will be here long after iPhones and smart watches because they bring geeks like us joy and there will always be geeks 🙂

  • ali

    I also am a bit underwhelmed by the physical design of the watch. But the functional design is amazing, and I imagine the physical design will catch up at some point. As to the other point made in this discussion regarding the “Swiss watch” (in quotes as not all haute horology calls Switzerland home) market, there is no way that the smart watch poses any risk. The mechanical watches we readers of worn and wound drool over are pieces of art that retain or gain value and are kept for years and handed down over generations. When I buy the apple watch (and I will, it’s a wonderful gadget) I will be wondering when I will be dumping it for the upgrade. It’s a smart watch, not a timepiece. That doesn’t make it something bad, just something entirely different.

  • Richard Mui

    Before the apple watch announcement I have used two different gen smart watches on the android platform…the proprietary Sony smartwatch 1 & 2, and the android wear based LG G watch. They both provide some nice functions and prove to be especially useful while I’m driving. Couple that with a decent blutooth ear piece and I can have almost complete control of my phone without even looking at the thing.

    But to be honest it can never replace my mechanical watches, and I’m not sure if I speak for anyone here but owning/wearing a mechanical watch satisfies something else entirely…the feeling of owning a nice time piece with only springs and gears makes me happy.

    What to do? I leave my smartwatch in my car for that bit of extra convenience, and wear whatever watch comes next in rotation. 🙂

  • Sessionmike

    For me it boils down to longevity and craftsmanship. I know I’ve had several phones in the past ten years and technology keeps advancing so my current phone will be out of date and the same applies to IPads computers and the smart watch. My point is, I don’t see me handing down a smart watch to my grandson. I have a timex 21 series mechanical from 1968 ( the year I was born) and it still runs and keeps time(runs a little fast but I can deal with that) I have a couple Swiss automatics as well and I know they will along with the Timex outlive me so I’m not to impressed with the smart watch.

  • sking

    I bought the Pebble smart watch when it came out since it had some neat features. In the end I always preferred to have on one of my mechanical timepieces and that the smart watch ended up forcing me to always glance at it and my phone. I prefer to be distracted by one device causing phantom vibrations than two of them.

  • Saeglopuralifi

    I’m sure I’m not alone in this – I first got into mechanical watches a year or so ago partially to get away from phone and technology addiction. The appeal of wearing the time on my wrist, and thus being able to get away from checking my phone several times an hour, was one of the largest appeals to me. I feel like mechanical watches are making a comeback in recent years because we all already have an accurate timekeeper in our pockets anyways, and thus we can afford to lose a little accuracy in favor of the romantic notion of an interactive micro machine on our wrists. Apple watches are cool gadgets, but I feel like they in no way threaten the wrist watch universe, because cell phones already threatened watches to begin with and that only led to people – like me – turning back to mechanical at all.

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