Hey everyone. Smart watches tend to divide the watch community quite a bit, and to be perfectly honest, I am one of those who isn’t really a fan of the smart watch concept on the whole. My biggest gripe with them is that they’re essentially just a second display for the cell phone that they’re paired to. They don’t really offer much in terms of standalone functionality.
However, a topic that tends to unite the watch community is tool watches. Most people appreciate them in some way. So that got me thinking about the capability of smart watches, but with a tool watch mentality.
Imagine a smart watch that is blissfully unaware of a cell phone’s existence. It is very intentionally disconnected from your cell phone, car, and most other things. No SMS, no Facebook integration, or any non-horological nonsense. It is its own device, capable of anything and everything a watch could do. The “smart” part would essentially turn the watch into an infinite-complication watch.
Press a button and you switch between configurations of complications and styles. Maybe you want two time zones displayed; your current time and the hour back at home while traveling. Maybe you want a chronograph - and it could even calculate units per second/minute/hour on your behalf and present it to you without having to read a very tiny number on a very small bezel. It could even point north and act as a compass.
When you start to think of tool-watch possibilities, a smart watch starts to sound very, very interesting. It could go beyond what is possible with mechanical and quartz watches. There are other timing related applications that are untapped by traditional watches:
- Metronome for musicians
- Shot timer for shooting sports
- Parallel timers for cooking/baking
- Probably lots more.
Now, I know what you’re saying. All of these features are possible on existing smart watches. While that may technically be true, do keep in mind that these features are largely third party apps and require general interaction with the watch’s operating system. The user experience from the perspective of a tool-watch is quite horrible. The current state of smart watches is very good if what you’re looking for is an alternative interface for your cell phone. Notifications for social media, phone calls, and text messages are first class citizens, but timing related functionality is not.
So what I’m wondering is whether or not there is a smart watch available, or in current development, that prioritizes being a watch over being a second cell phone screen. I see a lot of potential in a “watch first” smart device.
Thanks for reading my wall of text! 🙂