Monday, November 14, 2011

Is the Watch Becoming Redundant?

I recently had a realization; this Christmas will mark a decade since I got my first ever Mobile phone. It was a Trium Mars, small and slick for its time and I could even check my school email (or at least try before all £10 of my top up credit died on Mobile internet). Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how ground breaking that felt at the time, let alone what life was like before I could take a call anywhere and anytime, have my entire music collection in my pocket and tell all my friends what I’m doing within 140 characters.

However, I feel all these technological advances have made us forget about an important must-have in life that we do all the time, consciously or subconsciously. Something we depend on to make the world go round and operate smoothly; the measurement of time.

When I was at school we sat at desks with exercise books in front of us rather than computers, and even in the work place only IT-based jobs would involve being sat in front of a monitor with a clock in the corner all working hours of the week. Mobile phones were around, but a lot of adults didn’t see the point in subjecting themselves to annoying phone calls 24/7, let alone the idea of giving a £100+ piece of equipment to a child as a play toy.

And this brings me back to how we tell the time. Research shows that the lower end of the watch market has gradually shrunk in recent years, whilst the higher end relies on social status purposes and trophy buys rather than practicality. I remember having several watches as I grew up. Some that I remember include a Muppets watch, a Power Rangers Morphing watch with a moving transfer, who knows how many Casios and one of those talking animated watches that were all the rage in the late 90s despite how chunky, cheap and silly they looked. Watches were “cool” and practical, and we’d even show them off and discuss them with each other in the playground. In the present age children can swap Lego bricks for Lego simulation games and trade playing outside for socialising online. They have iPods, computers, laptops and phones which all include a time keeping function, along with alarms, diaries, calendars, reminders and many other functions beyond a watch’s capability.

Is what was once a must-have accessory being replaced with newer technology? And do the new generation of children have the same interest in watches, or has it been replaced by how much storage their MP3 or phone has? This may leave you feeling like the watch has a bleak future, but that couldn’t be further from the truth in my opinion because of one simple reason: Fashion.

The watch’s sole function has been replaced by all the gadgets we carry in our pockets, but that’s where the watch reigns supreme. MP3 players, phones and laptops are not designed to go around our wrists like jewellery, but to sit in our pockets or bags until we need to use them for their practical function.  The watch is not a just a time telling device, but in fact a helpful fashion accessory.

Some inventions fade out by being upgraded or becoming impractical, but fashion will always exist, and the watch can adapt into whichever form it needs to stay with the “in” crowd.

Anthony Collins is a writer and reviewer of various men's grooming and fashion products for a number of websites. His passion for watches stems from his childhood and he never leaves for the office without his favourite Tissot watch around his wrist.