Oct 7, 2011

Still wear a watch?

Watches are apparently for old people. When the band on my most recent watch broke, I gave up on them myself. I have my phone with me all the time and often my iPad, so why bother? I think we're in a time of transition around watches and other technologies as mobile devices grow in use in our culture. However, I have a few observations.

It is relatively recent in the history of the world that we have personal devices to precisely tell time. I read Longitude a while back about the development of a clock that would work on a sailing ship (which is an interesting story itself and enabled greatly improved navigation). Building on that, we came to pocket watches and now the modern digital watch.

At one time, the pocket watch was the height of personal technology and partly a status symbol. My late uncle Bob was fascinated by them and learned to collect and repair them. I have some from him and enjoy getting them out every now and then. They are very intricate and take some knowledge to set and wind. They're also attractive - not just functional.

I also came across a site recently with top-end watches.  There are some really eye-popping designs there that are more about form than function.

I bring all this up to ask: why do (or do you not) wear a particular watch? Is it necessary for your work? Do you have a replacement device? Can you not afford one? Is it a fashion accessory or status symbol?

Technology serves many purposes - I encourage us to be thoughtful about even the simple ones.


  1. Great questions. I'm in my early 40s, and still have an old clamshell mobile phone, so I still tend to wear a wrist watch (and an analog one at that). One reason for this is that it's difficult to check the time on my phone without making it rather obvious that I am doing so. If I'm meeting with someone, but am concerned about the time, I can quickly check my wrist watch when the other person is looking away. In a glimpse I can see how close it is to my next appointment, without sending a rude message to the person I am currently with. If I had to pull out my phone, the other person would probably feel like I was either bored with our discussion, or that they were taking too much of my time.

    That said, I plan to upgrade to a smartphone sometime soon, and I wonder how that will change my behavior.

  2. Interesting - I commend your reasons that reflect a desire to keep track of time and be courteous to the person you're working with. I'll have to think about a post on the rudeness issue surrounding our devices.