One of our loyal readers recently sent me an article about how some people now wear watches solely as jewelry and don’t even bother to set the time since they now rely on their cell phones for that. Well, as an employee of WatchTime, that idea surely burns my biscuits, so I got to thinking about all the places and situations in which wearing a watch is the superior choice to glancing at a phone, and came up with the following Top 10 list.
1. On a crowded train or plane. New Jersey rail commuter that I am, there are few things that bother me more then catching an elbow to the ribs as some guy digs in his pocket for a phone to check if he is going to be late to work that morning. With a simple flick of my wrist — clad in something slick like the Hamilton Ventura below — I can show him a touch of style and class, and also check the time, without bruising him in the process.
2. At the Movies. Before every movie, theaters run an entire public service announcement telling patrons not to be annoying with their cell phones and ruin the movie for those around you. Me, all I have to do is glance down at a well-lumed watch like the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 model below and voilà — I know how much time before the movie starts without generating ill will and evil stares.
3. In places of religious worship. No matter where you worship, nobody likes to see someone staring at a glowing cell phone screen in a sacred place, but a quick glance down my arm lets me know the time without being disrespectful to any deities. (And if the watch on that wrist happens to be a really lovely one like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso below, I’ll know my deity is smiling on me.)
4. In business meetings. First and foremost, no boss wants to see you looking at your phone and ignoring slide #343 of their sales projection PowerPoint. Plus, a classic wristwatch is a great way to show potential clients you are a discerning and successful person and not some schlub fresh off the turnip truck. Discreetly showing some classic wristwear, like the A. Lange & Söhne tourbillon below, is a lot easier than asking everyone to go to over to the window to check out the great parking spot you got for your Ferrari, right?
5. At the Beach. In the summer I’m often “down the shore” (as we say in Jersey) and have watched more than one “rogue wave” swamp someone’s beach bag. Unless you have a bag of rice handy, that could be the end of your phone. High tide catching you napping isn’t a problem with a good diver, like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms below, strapped to your wrist. Plus I can use the bezel to keep track of the 7.5 minutes of sun exposure I can withstand before my pasty skin fries to pork-rind-like crispiness.
6. On a date. I’m way past worrying about this one, but pulling out your phone constantly on a date doesn’t give the impression that you’re on the verge of making a love connection. So on your first date, you can choose either to look like a suave and sophisticated secret agent (like our Omega-wearing friend below) checking their mission timer before the final showdown with a super-villain or a twitchy, Instagram-addicted nerd uninterested in your soon-to-be-ex-partner. The choice is entirely yours — because the choice to go on a second date is entirely theirs.
7. At your kid’s sporting events. You glance down at your wrist-borne chronograph — like the one below, from Oris — and note that 29 minutes have ticked off the 30 minutes in the half as you watch your kid break away and kick the game-winning goal right before the whistle — or you stand there desperately wrestling to get your phone out of your pocket and then drop it, missing your kid’s greatest sports highlight and cracking your screen, thus costing you $100 in repairs, to boot.
8. While driving. Cops won’t pull you over for glancing at your wrist, but just let them see that phone and Bingo — collect a ticket for distracted driving, do not pass Go, do not collect a $200 discount on the watch of your dreams. And if you happen to be driving on the Autobahn, perhaps wearing the Nomos watch named after it (below), you probably won’t get pulled over at all.
9. During a dive. When you’re a hundred feet down in murky water and you look down to find your fancy dive computer is showing you something that looks like this — (&(%*&^%$%$&^ — what are you going to do, pull out an iPhone or Samsung out of your flippers? Smart divers always back up their computer with a solid dive watch, like the Seiko shown here, that is set before they hit the water.
10. During any rugged activity. Do you work with your hands, fix cars, whitewater raft, play paintball, ride horses, run, mountain bike, surf, ski, sail, golf, skeet shoot, ride a motorcycle, lift weights, hunt, wakeboard, play polo, play badminton, play ping pong, play chess — you know, live life? If your answer is “yes,” then ask yourself if you really want to be fumbling for a phone and dedicating one hand to holding it or if you’d rather peek at your wrist and attend to the task at hand? (The Citizen pictured here will even keep recharging itself under the sun during outdoor activities while your phone’s battery will just keep slowly dying.) If the answer to all of the above is “no,” feel free to keep watching the minutes tick by on that glowing blue block of soulless tech in your hand.
Anywhere I’ve missed? Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section below.