The Apple 'Watch' is without a doubt the most controversial thong to happen to the watch industry, well... ever. Forget the quartz crisis, forget Daniel Wellington and the rise of the fashion watch, forget it all. One of the most popular pieces of technology in the current world has had more of an effect on the watch industry than anything else. Before I get into my loves, hates and opinions of the 'watch' at a broad level, here is a bit of history.
The legendary Steve Jobs announced the Apple 'Watch' Series 1 in 2015. It was billed originally as a sort of fitness tracker/notification portal/watch thing, basically an iPhone on a strap that you wear around your wrist. Understandably the Apple fan boys and girls of the world lapped them up like warm milk, and they have been highly successful, selling 33 million units to date. That works out at a staggering 30,000 Apple 'Watches' being bought and sold every single day! Now if you look at the Apple 'Watch' as a watch, no reputable Swiss/German/Japanese brand even gets close to that. Since the birth of this piece of wearable technology three years ago, Apple have released three subsequent models, with the latest iteration, the Series 4, being released just a few weeks ago.
One of the things that Apple are renowned for is design, and more importantly the vast leaps in design they make with every new model they release. I mean they have to in order to be able to justify the exorbitant jump in price right?? I think the photos below of the 4 series of Apple Watches they have released to date demonstrate that perfectly...
Series 3 Series 2 Series 1
One interesting thing that Apple have sparked with the release of their 'watch' is paving the way for other companies such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, Nike and a smattering of others to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon, each to varying levels of success. When a smart watches started to grow in popularity, it started to raise and interesting question within the watch world, and that is this. Do smart watches like the Apple 'Watch' have a place in the watch industry?
What I like about it...
It means less people are buying Daniel Wellington.
What I dislike about it...
First of all, design. As i mentioned earlier, Apple has the insane ability to keep releasing pretty much the same designed items year on year, changing basically nothing, and wildly inflating their prices. An yes I know that all the techy innards are what is actually changing, but if Rolex or Lange made pretty much the identical watch every time, but subtly changed the size of their rotors by 0.1mm I think we would all get a bit pissed off eventually would we not??
Secondly, people think that Apple 'Watches' are superior to mechanical watches because they can tell the wearer that their mum has messaged them a picture of her cat in a novelty jumper as well as tell them the time. Fundamentally, this is just absurd. Read our articles, read any watch publication, do some research, and get your head out of your arse. Is the act of reaching into your pocket and getting your phone out to check the time really any more arduous than checking your wrist?? Not really. Furthermore, in 12 months your precious Apple 'Watch' will have been superseded. In four years it wont even be compatible with your iPhone! In less time than the gap between services on my Rolex, the entire lifespan of that thing you call a 'Watch' will have come to an end. All I can say is good luck handing your Apple 'Watch' down to your grandchildren in 50/60/70 years and having him get a lifetime of use out of it. You could spend less money on a Seiko SKX and get that effect!
My third, and definitely biggest dislike (HATE) is that taking all of my points aside it just is not a watch... These are watches:
Saying that an Apple 'Watch' is a watch is basically saying anything that also tells the time outside of its primary function is therefore a watch. So does that make my oven, TV and laptop watches? I would like to see anyone try and get those on a nato strap. I think this is the biggest problem with how smart watches are marketed. I have no problem at all with one of their functionalities being that they can tell you the time, far from it! It is a logical function to have considering it is a piece of tech that is mounted on your wrist. My problem, however; is calling it watch as if that is its primary function when it is not. I wouldn't describe a mechanical watch as being a storage container for lubricant that also tells the time would I? I mean yes technically there is lubricant in the movement, but that isn't its primary function.
To bring this to a close I value the Apple Watch as basically a mini, wrist mounted iPhone. I think if you use it as a fitness tracker or gym accessory it can be very useful. Even if you get one before owning a watch at all and it gets you into the hobby and gets you to buy your first Seiko or something then happy days! But it is not a watch... It is a piece of wearable technology that happens to tell the time. Saying this if you are an Apple fan boy or girl and love your Apple Watch who am I to judge! Or if you go to one extreme and pull a Jack Forester, who frequently sports an Apple 'Watch' on his right wrist and a mechanical Grand Seiko on his left, then cool, good for you. But the Apple 'Watch' is not a watch.
Editor and Co-Founder