Smartwatches are more popular than ever. Once dismissed as a fad, they’re now mainstream thanks to the connectivity and convenience they offer. Most smartwatches these days double up as fitness trackers. Many have GPS functions so you’re never lost.
However, this surge in popularity is making people question the fate of the traditional timepiece? Will smartwatches take over? Have they done so already?
It certainly doesn’t look great for the traditional watch. You can buy a great smartwatch for less than a traditional watch. Even the likes of Tag Heuer and other Swiss companies have already bent to the pressure and released smartwatches of their own.
So what does the future have in store? Doom for the traditional timepiece? Or can they continue to co-exist?
Traditional watches are convenient
Watches were made for convenience. People were tired of constantly pulling a pocket watch out and checking what time it was. So the wristwatch was invented.
Smartwatches require user-interaction, by tapping the display. You do this to wake them up. Or, you need to flick your wrist in order for the motion sensor to pick up the movement and wake up the screen for you. With a traditional wristwatch, this isn’t an issue. You just look at it.
A major difference that keeps the wristwatch being popular is the fact that they don’t need charging. A smartwatch will last perhaps 10 days between charging at best. Smartwatches pair with smartphones, and they need charging at least once a day, too. If the connection between the two is lost, a lot of the functionality stops, too.
Imagine you’re in a room with two people – one wearing an Apple Watch and the other a Rolex. Who do you want to talk to more? You’re going to be more interested in the one wearing the Rolex.
Smartwatches generally don’t compare when it comes to style. Smartwatches are bulky because they have to accommodate the tech. You can change the wristband or customise your display screen, but traditional watches have in-depth detail. Look at any Swiss watch. They ooze style.
Beauty in simplicity
If you’re lucky enough to own a watch by Seiko or Fossil, you’ll understand how beautiful the simple functionality is. So, your smartwatch may never lose time, but it will require charging a lot.
Yes, a mechanical watch needs winding once in a while, but that takes no time at all and lasts a lot longer.
So, what’s the answer?
If we’re looking for a definitive answer in the debate about smartwatches replacing traditional watches, the answer is they won’t.
Both the traditional timepiece and the smartwatch are both here to stay. All this means for you, the buyer, is that you have the luxury of choice.
In reality, it’s wrong to compare both devices. The primary function of a smartwatch isn’t actually to tell time. Much like the primary function of a smartphone isn’t to make calls. The function of a mechanical watch, for some, is about style. It’s undeniable that they ooze sophistication and style to an extent that the smartwatch market hasn’t been able to reach yet. The point is, it’s comparing apples and oranges.
Let’s take a moment to mention hybrids; the lovechild of a traditional and smartwatch. The likes of Tag Heuer and Frédérique Constant have attempted these devices. They have all the style of a traditional watch and the functionality of a smartwatch. Unfortunately, the smart functions aren’t as smart as users would like them to be. The style is impacted by the presence of technology. It was worth a try, but the reality is a little disappointing. However, the emergence of smartwatches means traditional makers haven’t been able to rest on their laurels – they’ve been forced to up their game and embrace technology.
But as yet, smartwatches haven’t thoroughly disrupted the traditional watch market. Traditional timepieces are here to stay. Smartwatches will continue to advance. Both have a rightful place in this world.
Each type of watch serves a different purpose. You may even own one of each. Smartwatches are meant to be an extension of who you are, but, often, they don’t match what you’re wearing.
Smartwatches won’t eradicate the traditional market. What has actually happened is the creation of a new market. The desires of this market demand connectivity and innovation. Perhaps the overall solution is to make greater strides in the hybrid offering.