For just a regular (I think?) 30 year old guy, I have a lot of watches. On any given day, I will take a moment and choose from 11 options including Breitling, Ebel, Technomarine, TW Steel, Bulova, Citizen, and G-Shock to a cheap piece I bought on a cruise ship. I know how to pronounce Panerai and Hublot. I’m a big fan of Franck Muller.
I’m not saying this trying to brag. (If I wanted to just brag I’d post pictures!) Rather I want to be clear on one thing with my (still growing) watch collection – the actual function of the watch is the next to last thing I consider when buying one and usually all that entails is “does it tick?” First and foremost, each one is a fashion accessory. I find watches sexy and classy. In my opinion, all self-respecting men should own and regularly wear a good looking (doesn’t have to be expensive) time piece.
Why lead with all of that? Because as a “watch guy” I am intrigued by the Apple Watch and I absolutely have my eye on it going into 2015. And this is where Apple probably got it right – this thing is a watch first and thus it appeals to people who want something that, most importantly, looks good. While tech blog after tech blog and Apple Haters around the globe question its functionality and gizmo usefulness I honestly just come back to one question.
Does it tick?
Because going by the look, they honestly are onto something. By many accounts (since I haven’t seen one in person yet) the Apple Watch is slick, clean, fashionable, good size (it comes in 2), and has many options to fit your style. But most importantly, they obviously take design cues from watches you find in any fine jewelry catalog. That’s what caught my attention.
Compared with the Galaxy Gear (both pictured below using pictures from the manufacturers’ websites, respectively) one just looks more like watch while the other looks like a gadget. That’s the difference. Even though Apple’s critics will always (rightfully) point to Android’s additional functionality from a technology standpoint, I would argue it simply doesn’t matter. Apple is once again doing what they do best – transcending the tech world into the lifestyle space.
If you look at the Apple Watch as a lifestyle product produced by a lifestyle, then you have a better understanding of why it will work. While $350 for gadget comes off as expensive, the same price for a well-perceived and good looking watch isn’t. In fact it would be in the middle-ish, price-wise, of what you would find if you strolled into Macy’s right now. From my perspective as a self-proclaimed watch guy: that makes Apple Watch reasonable if it makes the kind of statement on your wrist that it has made with its big reveal.
Two other buzz-worthy things to touch on that are important to address:
The Battery Life – Reportedly the battery may only last 24 hours. While it is true that a general watch battery in an old Disney watch might seemingly last for 50 years, your typical luxury winding watch only lasts probably a couple of days before it needs to be wound again. That is why we store them in fancy watch winder cases. Yes, the big difference is that these watches wind while you wear them, but putting a nice watch in its own case to wind/charge when not in use is nothing new.
The Digital Features – Ok so it would be unfair to completely ignore the gizmo promises. After all, most of us around 30 consider ourselves tech savvy. And while I am not going to pretend I know how to root an Android device or write code, we all have an appreciation for how technology makes our lives more convenient (when appropriate, of course). That said if only one or two of the features such as NFC hotel room opening and walking directions on my wrist work as advertised – BONUS! And I’ll probably use them! Other features such as Apple Pay and playing games and checking e-mail: they can be completely broken and it wouldn’t change my opinion. Is it still a sexy $350 timepiece? Yes? I’m in.
But it all starts from the design. And hats off to the ultimate lifestyle technology brand to nail that park of the smartwatch equation. Not only did no one else do it, but it is by far the aspect of the Apple Watch that will make it a success.
As long as it looks as good and clean as I think it does.
Brad Epstein’s day job is being a marketing guy in Atlanta. He is also an American Outlaw and college dodgeball champion. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMEpstein