I couldn’t give a toss about the new Apple Watch

I couldn’t give a toss about the new Apple Watch

Kevin Hofer
Translation: Katherine Martin

The new Apple Watch has hit the shelves. And I, for one, won’t be buying it. Nor will I be purchasing any other «smart» watch.

Anyone who wears a smartwatch or fitness tracker on a day-to-day basis has either lost control of their life or never made it out of adolescence.

Now that I’ve ruffled your feathers by paraphrasing Karl Lagerfeld, I want to give you a caveat before you blaze into the comments section to give me a piece of your mind: I am, of course, exaggerating. People should wear whatever they want to wear on their wrists. In my initial point, I was addressing the three things that bother me most about smartwatches. There’s also a bonus annoyance that I’ll mention later on.

Control freakery

Things I’ve been hearing people say time and time again since devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers were invented:

  • How many steps have you done today?
  • I burned 324 calories when I was working out yesterday.
  • No ice-cream for me today – I’ve already eaten too much!

Whenever I hear those things, I think: why would I count steps and calories? As long as I’m getting enough exercise and eating healthily, it’s all good. If you ask me, this proclivity for control just puts you under unnecessary pressure. There’s already plenty of that in my life – I don’t need a device stressing me out even more.

Don’t get me wrong, smartwatches and fitness trackers are obviously fine for doing exercise – if you can handle it. That’s something I can’t do. In the early days of the smartphone era, I’d record every single one of my runs. But I soon nipped that habit in the bud. Why? Because instead of giving me motivation, my results actually discouraged me. I always wanted to do better. Though there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, no two days are the same. Whenever I’d had a bad day, I’d still force myself to go beyond my limits. Something that brought me to the brink of collapse on more than one occasion. Admittedly, not being able to pace myself was a me problem. But there are probably plenty of competitive people out there in the same predicament. Since I stopped tracking my performance, I exercise for the sake of exercise. I approach it more lightheartedly and feel like I’m making more progress that way.

Yet another distraction

I’m a smartphone junkie. I’m constantly staring at the thing. It’s borderline addictive behaviour, and I don’t like it. And since having kids, it’s been bothering me even more. I want to spend time with my children, not with my phone. And I’m supposed to be a role model for them. Try as I might to put my phone away, I don’t always succeed.

The last thing I need is another distraction in the form of a smartwatch. Especially since it’s right there on my wrist – easier to reach than a smartphone in my pocket.

Zero style

I’m from Biel. No one in Switzerland would claim that my hometown goes hand in hand with stylishness. Even so, Biel is synonymous with a typically Swiss lifestyle product: wristwatches. My first ever watch was a Flik Flak, a gift from my parents when I started school. I’ve been wearing mechanical watches ever since.

The model currently adorning my wrist is a Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton made by Hamilton. What fascinates me about these watches is not only their mechanics, but their appearance. Mechanical watches have style, pure and simple. I couldn’t say the same about a smartwatch, which is just another gadget I’ve got to trail around. Smartwatches all look generic to me.

Turns to e-scrap in just a few short years

The worst thing about smartwatches? They quickly become obsolete. After a few years, either the battery’s gone, the software updates stop or the electronics conk out. At this point, they’re nothing more than e-scrap – something we already have more than enough of.

My Hamilton will last a lifetime. If part of it breaks, I’ll be able to take it to the watchmaker – even years or decades after buying it. And thanks to the winding stem, I never have to charge it. Sure, a smartwatch can do more than my mechanical one, which simply displays the time. But that’s all a watch needs to do. I’ve got my smartphone for everything else. Smartphones are easier to use than their not-so-smart wrist-dwelling counterparts anyway.

Please note: this article was originally published on 14 September, before being taken back offline for a short period. It was republished on 18 September with a new title and header image.

Header image: Samuel Buchmann

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From big data to big brother, Cyborgs to Sci-Fi. All aspects of technology and society fascinate me.

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