Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)
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  1. #1
    Member stmcgill's Avatar
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    Mar 2014

    Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I have been wearing a series 4 Apple Watch for the past two months and I have not worn a mechanical timepiece since. It feels wrong, I feel like a fraud and the overwhelming sense that I am giving something special up does not leave me.

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    My passion for watches is not logical, it never is for anyone who sees what I do in the designs and mechanics of such objects, but it is most certainly present and is hard to ignore. Ask anyone who loves watches and they will give you many reasons for their passion, but none of these will make practical sense and very few can be evidenced, and this is why it is a passion for people like me. You don’t give a practical reason for loving your spouse or your children. You just do because, well, it comes from somewhere within and you just love them.

    When I see a watch that speaks to me I can never explain why that is, but it does happen often which makes the notion of wearing a smartwatch so bizarre. A computer chip in a square piece of metal with no soul, no unique design traits and so common that you see it everywhere. It is the anti-watch to those who love real watches and it could surely not replace an object crafted by hand over time.

    Well, it seems to have happened to me and it would appear that logic has beaten away the passion.

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    Perhaps this is why I am struggling with the notion of this change because logic is not as exciting as passion, it is just there being all logical and boring. In this case it is the process of buying an object to do a job and then having it do that job every day to an acceptable level. There becomes a sense of attachment because some features become habitual, but rarely do emotions come to the surface in those little moments when you need to simply check the time. There is no history, no sense of the experienced experts behind the watch, which you do get with new watches as well, and no emotional depth in a form which looks and feels factory made.

    The problem with the above is that they are issues faced by those of us who like mechanical, and maybe vintage, watches. For the rest of the world they are not problems and instead advantages are overwhelmingly experienced. Apple’s brilliant strap changing system is a revelation in an industry that has relied on steel pin bars for a century. The way watchOS works is as buttery smooth as iOS and it comes together to slowly creep in to your life at the exact moments it is supposed to. If you are using your iPhone the notifications will not appear on your watch. If you are not using your iPhone they will. It’s so subtle as to not be noticeable, but it makes a difference. If I am wearing my Apple Watch my Mac will not require a password and it comes together to ensure that I miss nothing without it ever feeling intrusive. It is a difficult balance to strike, but Apple seems to have done that which is highly appealing for those who want technology to be a positive influence, which I guess is +99% of people.

    Is the Apple Watch actually a watch? To many people it isn’t, but that is incorrect. It is no less of a watch than a Casio quartz model or an automatic Grand Seiko. In the real world if it is strapped to your wrist and it can tell the time it is a watch. An iPhone is no less of a phone than the one that is wired to a socket in your house (if you still have such a thing), it is just a more modern interpretation of the phone just as a smartwatch is a modern interpretation of a classic mechanical object.

    It is only if you force yourself to wear the Apple Watch for a period of time that you begin to use it as a watch should be used. Of course there are the countless notifications, if you have not disabled the ones you do not really need, the fitness tracking and useful reminders on the small screen and the occasional app that offers a useful facility. Much has been written about the lack of apps available and the big names that have removed their Apple Watch apps, but this is absolutely not a problem. For a smartwatch to be useful without being overwhelming it needs to do certain things very well and to not overreach. Some wearOS watches overreach in every area and end up feeling like computers on the wrist which is not the way to pull watch purists over the fence. The Apple Watch, and in particular the series 4, appears to have accidentally struck a balance that works just about well enough to satisfy what people like me want.

    Is it just a fancy fitness tracker?

    The more I think about it, the more I realise that fitness is by far the most dominant use for me when it comes to the Apple Watch. I track my sleep with it, which does not work as well as a Fitbit in this area, I track my calories expended, my workouts, my steps, my calories eaten and it all comes together to help me improve my activity and thus lessen my weight and get fitter. For someone who topped the scales at 295lbs 18 months ago and who is now at 195lbs, it is difficult to ever consider going back, and I am someone who needs a tool to keep me motivated.

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    After multiple missteps with Fitbit (inaccurate tracking, software instability etc) and Garmin (good hardware, but not great software) I eventually discovered that the Apple Watch hardware is the most accurate and that the ‘rings’ system does actually work in the moment and over extended periods. Because of this it has become the one tracker I use for fitness and it is helping me reach a level of fitness I had given up on many years ago - surely that is more important than having a fancy well-made mechanical timepiece on my wrist? Again, logic over emotion.

    The real problem with it being my main tracker is that I have to wear it all of the time. It is not something to wear just when working out because that defeats the object of using it for serious fitness and there is the main issue if you enjoy traditional watches.

    Why not both wrists?

    This is the dichotomy that afflicts those of us who want to wear a watch and a smartwatch. It, for whatever reason, feels ridiculous and close to socially unacceptable to wear both. You can get away with a fitness tracker on one wrist and a watch on the other, but not the former and that is proof that the Apple Watch is a watch after all. You should not wear two watches in 2018 and I can’t see a year in the future where that will become commonplace. I can, however, see a year where the traditional watch is a rarity and that is a real shame, but I am not exactly helping that situation.

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    I feel like I am losing a lot by moving away from a traditional mechanical watch, but in the face of the following advantages I am struggling to see me going back-

    - Fitness and sleep tracking day after day and all of the benefits that offers.

    - Money saved because you can never have the perfect mechanical watch and thus you always end up with more than one.

    - A free wrist without the need for a fitness tracker on the other one.

    - Notifications are never missed, I can leave home without my phone and still be contactable, and I can change the look (strap) in seconds.

    I am now sold on the series 4 Apple Watch and remain shocked that this happened, but I’m maybe not so sad about it after all.
    Shaun McGill
    Snowflakes & Shields
    -- Obsessed with time --

  2. #2
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Washington, DC

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    Apple’s brilliant strap changing system is a revelation in an industry that has relied on steel pin bars for a century.
    ...and I can change the look (strap) in seconds.
    I still say that this is the "killer app" for the Watch. Like you say, it's only truly useful if you wear it all the time. Wearing it all the time means changing it to suit your outfit or occasion, and because a strap change is so effortless -- it's almost as easy as changing from one regular watch to another -- it isn't a problem to wear every day.

    I also have eyes on buying a luxury watch to celebrate a career milestone (whenever that happens), but after three years of AW ownership, I'm not so sure that I can justify that kind of big purchase anymore.
    ronalddheld likes this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I will be honest here and say that I also feel conflicted that I don’t wear my mechanical watches too often. But when I do, I really feel I am missing the convenience of the technology on my wrist. So there is another conflict at that time.

    I think the reason why the Apple Watch is so powerful in turning people away from regular watches is that it offers them a more powerful motivation: it is the vanity and pleasure of wearing a jewelry on the wrist vs. survival and the personal wellbeing. The fitness tracking feature is so well made that it soon becomes your intimate personal trainer and you can even “get attached to it”. For most of us, the personal health weighs more than the joy of wearing a mechanical watch. And in the modern age, it is much more easily to damage your health through a wrong lifestyle.
    umarrajs and Palmettoman like this.

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  5. #4
    Member edhchoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Western USA

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I converted to Apple watch with AW3 in 2017. I have not worn any other watch since then.
    I now wear AW4 and like it, and I cannot wait to see AW5 next fall.
    I used to exercise regularly and used AW for fitness and sleep tracking a lot.
    However, I stopped exercising and tracking sleep. I do still use it when I get on my stationary bike occasionally.
    1. Alarms. I use so many alarms throughout the day. I also use timer.
    2. Calendar and reminder.
    3. Weather and rain. In pacific northwest, I need to know if I need to bring the umbrella from my car to the building for later.
    4. Stalking my family with Find my friends.
    5. email and messages.
    6. Siri. for a lot of things.
    7. Notifications. When I get notification, I screen with my watch and I don't have to pull out my iphone to check notifications.

    Walkie Talkie and ECG are the things that I hardly ever use.

    I never imagined I would find AW so useful.
    But I do. It is so useful that it has become a necessity.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    The Apple Watch has killed my use but not love of mechanical watches, when I wear a traditional watch I feel I am missing out on something. Which I worrying how dependent on notifications I am becoming.
    X2-Elijah and umarrajs like this.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I feel you... cos I am in the same situation!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Malfunction Junction Ft Worth Tx

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    If they float your boat? Go with em
    Youngest daughter is 8th VP in a company Locum Tenums
    Gifted me her Apple Watch. Hated it from the get go and
    passed the watch to wifee. She has no luv for Apple either.
    Ya like en or you don't. Me no likeeee.

    I'll hold on with the 38 "Dumb" watches I have!!!

    X Traindriver Art

  9. #8
    Member chzman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fond du Lac, WI

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I, too, was in the same boat, but the story ended different. Drawn to the new tech, I bought a series 2 42mm stainless on mesh plus a leather strap. Thought the shiny sapphire and polished case would keep me satisfied, but after 2 years of wearing it, no participation on WUS, and notifications up the wazoo (I even participated in several heart rhythm studies), my wife gifted me a new automatic chronograph... I could not sell the AW quick enough, bought an Orbita, and now I have a rotation of mechanicals back on my wrist.

    I see a tremendous amount of people constantly distracted by the AW, but millions must like that! Not for me.
    umarrajs and cashmonee like this.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    I guess for us WIS there is no other choice than to double wrist :) After a lot of inner conflict I started wearing a mechanical on the left wrist and the AW3 on my right. It helps that being winter, I wear long sleeve shirts so it is not noticeable. Don't know if I would do it later when the weather warms up.
    umarrajs likes this.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Chicago, IL (USA)

    Re: Going smart feels dumb (moving to the Apple Watch series 4)

    My Apple Watch is easily my most worn watch (Series 0 to 3 to 4). For a long time I stopped wearing mechanical watches at all, with occasional two watch days when I'm wearing long sleeves.

    More recently, I have been wearing my other watches on days when I don't expect to use the AW features much. I mostly like it for the alerts (news/email/messages), weather, HR/EKG, & activity tracking. I even recently bought another mechanical watch, something that I wasn't sure I'd do, but I've enjoyed that as well. I expect that my AW will continue to be my most worn watch. Recently, my wife and I wore our Apple watches on vacation and we liked them there too. In the past, I've traveled with other watches.

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