The Skinny on Smart Watches
The next big thing in the world of wristwatches is the smartwatch if the manufacturers have their way. I will never get rid of any of my mechanical watches under any circumstance, but I will keep an open mind, even though most watch enthusiasts say that they will never convert to the new technology. When I hear things like this, it reminds me of the history of the wristwatch when the pocket watch was the king of timekeeping. Even in recent history when the quartz movement was created, everyone thought this was the end of the mechanical watch industry. The mechanical watch industry is stronger than ever, and it continually grows. I don't see why all three types of watches—mechanical, quartz, and smartwatches—can't coexist.
I can see owning all three types of watches because they would suit different needs. I wear a watch with a quartz movement when I go to the gym to work out or do work around the house because they can take the abuse. The mechanical watch would be used for work or a casual day with friends sipping on a glass of wine. The smartwatch could be used for a business meeting or a dinner date when you need to keep in contact with someone and you want to be discrete. There are cell phone etiquette issues when they are used in public, and maybe a smartwatch could help reduce this problem. I will keep an open mind.
Several different companies, like Sony and Samsung, are producing smartwatches. Apple and Motorola are currently planning to join the party possibly before the end of this year. Some other companies that are not as well known (e.g., Pebble, Neptune Pine, and Emopulse Smile) have created their own version of the smartwatch. With all these watches you can receive a text message but only some will allow you to respond. With some you can receive an actual email and others can only notify you of an email and you have to rely on your cell phone. The Samsung Galaxy Gear allows you to take calls with its built-in mic and speaker.
Currently, there are too many shortcomings for me to spend anywhere from 150 to 600 dollars on what I consider to be a disposable watch. I have spent more money on my mechanical watches, but they have a value to them. One of the major issues for me is battery life: some last a day and others can last up to a week. I don't want to have to charge my watch every night or even once a week. It would be nice if you could go a month or longer between charges. The Samsung models only work with Samsung phones, and when Apple's IWatch hits the market, I would assume that it will only work with the IPhone. Most of the other brands of smartwatches (e.g., Pebble and Sony) are capable of working with either the Andriod or Apples IOS operating system, which is a plus to me. If you are interested in purchasing a smartwatch, I would highly recommend that you do your homework for there are several brands and plenty more are coming.
I was listening to an interview that Nick Hayek from the Swatch Group was giving. Nick said that he is waiting for the technology to evolve, and if it does, brands like Swatch and Tissot will develop their own smartwatches. But until then he will wait to see how things play out in the market before making any decision on the future of smartwatches. I will follow Nick's lead for now, but once a smartwatch with the features that I'm looking for hits the market, I will take the plunge.