Watch Curmudgeon: RIP Abraham Louis Breguet

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Unfortunately, poor old A.L. Breguet is not resting in peace! He’s in a rather nasty state of mind, tossing, turning, and moaning. In fact, this is the second time since the late 1960’s that he’s been wrenched out of eternal sleep to lament a particularly heinous situation in his precious watch industry.

Abraham_Louis_Breguet_02(For the two or possibly even three of you readers unfamiliar with the Breguet name, take careful note. Abie, 1747 – 1823, is one of the most influential founding fathers of the mechanical timepiece, responsible for innovations that make today’s most sophisticated watches a reality.)

The first time He began kvetching in His coffin was when the quartz movement took over the industry, a major ouch. As Swiss companies that refused to embrace this new technology began to bite the dust, some say that on lonely, cold nights you could hear Abie’s spirit howling in the Jura mountains. However, thanks to the recent renaissance of superb mechanical movements, he was once again resting in sublime peace.

But that is beginning to change. He’s wheezing, snorting, and drooling in a loathsome zombiesque way, for there is an evil new fog creeping over the watch kingdom. Storm clouds are rising and other clichés are heralding yet another assault on the venerable Breguet heritage.

The dawn of the Smart Watch is upon us like horse%#&! on a country lane. Yes, the Smart Watch is VERY here and apparently to stay for who knows how long. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a tech basher. I may not be an early adopter or an opinion leader, but I’m pretty well-immersed in tech stuff. I’ve got an iPhone, iPad, iPod, and a MacBook. But a Smart Watch? Give me a break! In my opinion, this is something we really don’t need.

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Let phones and tablets get more and more sophisticated, but leave our wrists alone. I dread the day when I’m going to hear someone say, “Excuse me while I answer my wrist.” I’m angry about that already. And I’m angry about hearing some moronic ringtone jangling beneath a shirt cuff. And theater announcements that will ask you to silence your cell phones and Smart Watches.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been passing a Verizon store every day on my way to get a mediocre cuppa coffee at Starbucks. There’s a large poster in the window hawking the Samsung Smart Watch, and the headline reads, “Get Ready for the Next Big Thing.” Ready? They mean ready for a gigantic onslaught of marketing the likes of which has never been seen. We’re going to be bombarded!

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Smart Watch! Even the name pisses me off. I mean, my watches are smart. Every last one of them! They are all mechanical marvels, tiny machines with ultra precise gears, levers…etc. I love them. And dream about them. But would I want one that’s going to ape my phone and tablet? No freakin’ way. It’s blasphemy, I say. But the fuse has already been lit, and the trigger has already been pulled.

The category is still in its infancy, yet a ton of these monstrosities is already on the market or soon to be. Here’s a partial list: Samsung, Google, Adidas, Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, Apple, Burg, Xiaomi, Pebble, Dell, Omate, Foxconn, Burg, i’m, WiMe, Watchson, Kreyos, Hyetis, Nissan…etc. Other brands will certainly jump in: Dyson, DelMonte, Smith & Wesson, Cuisinart, Perdue, Clairol and many many more.

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Now for the scary part: What if they succeed? Heaven forbid, but it’s a possibility. Fanatical watch enthusiasts like us are not going to put away our Christopher Wards, Sinns, Helsons, Steinharts, Muhles, Tutimas, Hamiltons, Rolexes, and tons of other real watches. No way! But the masses may flock to these app-laden gizmos in droves. What are our beloved watchmakers going to do? They’ll swallow their pride, and go for the bucks.

Industry insiders have given me a highly confidential glimpse of what’s to be, and I’m revealing it now on worn&wound.

  • Rolex will introduce the SmartMariner which will enable you to read your blood nitrogen levels and make calls from the Marianas Trench.
  • Heuer’s Smart Monaco will feature a Steve McQueen voice simulator that’ll announce the time, in-coming calls, and timing down to one millionth of a second.
  • Panerai is introducing the Smart Bronze which has been designed to primarily attract muchos attention at your local pub.
  • Sinn’s Smart Flieger’s tegimented case will protect a highly shock-resistant module that’ll inform you of missile lock on your fighter, as well as any radiation leakage from your warheads.
  • Piaget will proudly present the Smart Slim, a 2mm thick watch, the thinnest Smart in the world!
  • Steinhart’s Smart Seameister will be an homage to the Smart Mariner.
  • Patek Philippe will simply introduce the world’s most expensive smart watch.
  • Hublot’s 52mm Brilliant Bang will feature a fusion of gold, platinum, carbon fiber, and vulcanized rubber, and will be studded with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. It will boldly announce, “I’m rich and have no taste!”
  • Steinhart will announce another Smart Mariner homage: the Smart Reefmeister with a black PVD case.
  • Jaeger LeCoultre is delirious about their Smart Reverso. The top dial will perform all standard functions, while the hidden dial shows Swiss porn in full HD. But wait, there’s more. This baby features a tourbillon that will (somehow) cancel the negative effects of gravity on the bubble level app.
  • All that’s known about Breguet’s offering, the Smart 1747, is that it’ll sport an 18k gold, coin-edged case. The factory is experiencing serious delays due to some mysterious “presence” tampering with the equipment.
  • ETA has a secret Chinese facility that will be mass-producing smart modules for Swatch Group members. Pending court order, other “select” brands may be able to purchase them.

Well, now you have it. So covet all your wonderful Dumb Watches. And if you happen to receive a Smart Watch as a gift from some miss-guided friend or relative, stick it in a safe place. One day in the not too distant future, you’ll take pride in having a mint condition Vintage Smart Watch. Vintage Smart Watch? Utter blasphemy!

By the way, if you have any of your own insider info on additional entries into the Smart Watch miasma, be sure to share them with fellow watchaholics right here on W&W.

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