The Watch vs. Smartphone Battle

I know several friends and family who stopped wearing a traditional wristwatch and now rely exclusively on their smartphones for telling time. 

 Not such a smart decision. Here’s why:

 It used to be watches were prized, and priced, for their accuracy. In fact, the whole portable, accurate timepiece thing arose in the U.S. with the advent of trains. Conductors and engineers required them to keep tight schedules, and to keep two trains from concurrently using that same stretch of track. Before miniaturization allowed for wristwatches, railroad workers carried elaborate pocket watches attached to their clothing with chains (called “fobs”). This need for keeping trains on an accurate time schedule also gave rise to our U.S. time zones.

 Today, it’s hard to beat a smartphone’s cellular link to an atomic clock for accuracy. I’ll concede the point.

 But even a quartz-movement (battery-operated) watch will run for several years on a single battery. Not so a smartphone, which needs to be recharged using a wall electrical outlet or portable battery every couple of days, if not daily.

 But there’s more. Consider also:

  • A watch stays conveniently affixed to your wrist for easy, quick, direct access. And it doesn’t tie up a hand in the process (look around and notice how many people walk around today with a smartphone in one hand).
  • A watch attached to your person is hard to misplace or lose. It’s also difficult to steal. 
  • A watch doesn't lock you out and require a password (physical or biometric) after several minutes of inactivity. 
  • A watch doesn't need to be turned off during meetings, religious services, movies and so forth.
  • A wristwatch can’t be hacked to steal its data. 
  • A mechanical, automatic- or manual-wind watch isn't affected by solar flares.
  • Many watches are water-resistant and some are even waterproof: You don’t need to worry about accidently dropping them in a toilet or beverage, getting pushed into a pool or a lake, or wearing them in the shower and trashing them.
  • After the initial purchase expense, a watch doesn’t cost you a monthly charge.
  • Continual technology advances and planned obsolescence require that you update your smartphone every few years – at considerable expense.
  • Even today’s “smart watches” need to be connected through a WiFi “umbilical cord” to a nearby smartphone.
  • The only “statement” carrying a smartphone makes is possibly “I have a need to be constantly connected, I prefer electronic to face-to-face human contact and communication, I’m easily distracted, and I allow my fancy electronic wonder-gizmo to rule my life.”

And here’s the kicker:

 I’ve never – not even once – been complimented on my smartphone.

 There's quite a bit of pride in the act of wearing a watch; from a simple analog without a date to a luxury complex timepiece. A phone is rarely 'connected' to us the way a watch is; in/out of pocket, in a holster...bulky. A watch is actually 'attached' to our hand - it's a symbolic act of being an integral part of who you are. Yeh, that's it; we don't own a watch, we wear a watch, we're attached.