11 Advantages of Wearing a Watch Over Using a Smartphone

So, we’ve talked about where wearing a watch beats checking a cell phone; now we’re going to talk about why rocking a timepiece on your wrist is the superior choice, for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with knowing the time


Imagine you’re meeting a group of people for the first time, and one of them is wearing this Greubel Forsey GMT Earth…

Greubel Forsey GMT Earth

… another arrives wearing this Eberhard Chrono 4 Full Injection Chronograph…


… and the third person is sporting this Grand Seiko Caliber 9F…

Grand Seiko Caliber 9F SBGT241 - soldier

As a watch lover, you are going to form some different opinions about what each of these people are like, aren’t you?  That is because each watch choice gives you silent clues as to what what each is like personality-wise (and, let’s face it, income-wise) and what he or she wants from his or her watch.

Now imagine none of them are wearing watches, but they all pull out their cell phones to check the time. That doesn’t tell you much, right? But if they are wearing these beauties, you’ll at least know for sure that all of them have really great taste in watches… which leads to our second point.


If you see one of these high-jewelry pieces slithering out in the wild on the dance floor, at a wedding reception or in a night club, you can break the ice with  “I love your Bulgari Serpenti; where did you get it?”

I’m going to guess an opening line like that will make a better first impression than any of the old cheesy standbys (“Heaven just called, they want me to bring you back home, Angel,” is pretty played out, after all). Seriously, I have bonded with a new dentist over his love of all things Oris…Oris GMT Rega Limited Edition

… with my bankers, who sport a Baume & Mercier and a TAG Heuer…Baume & Mercier Baumatic

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300m

… with a nurse about how she used the features on her Casio G-Shock to help with her duties…

Casio G-Shock GDX6900

… and with my friend’s new father-in-law at a wedding when I found out he collects Rolexes.

Vintage Rolex Milgauss

A simple “That is a great looking watch; what is it?” can get a new friendship off on the right foot and lead to a great back-and-forth conversation. On the other hand, “So you’re an iPhone guy, huh? Me, I like Android” has never really led to the kind of talk I enjoy, but maybe you’ve had better luck than I.


Buy your daughter this Cartier for her graduation and you’ll see her wearing it for many years to come — and maybe your granddaughter too one day…Cartier Baignoire Debordante

Give her a cell phone and she’ll be upgrading your gift in two months’ time or less.


Think of it this way: when your time comes, and may that be a very long time from now, do you want the reading of the will to include, “and his cherished collection of Omega Speedmasters goes to his sole surviving heir…”Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 - soldier

… or do you think your beneficiaries would rather hear, “He leaves his iPhone 6s with 16GB from 2010 to…”?


Put a sturdy diver like this UTS on your wrist…

… and you can fling yourself into the ocean depths, crash through the obstacles in a Spartan Race, or simply jump in the pool after flipping the burgers with no worries, and you won’t need to constantly check your pockets to make sure your watch is still with you.

I’ve found at least four cell phones so far — on my train, in a cab, on the street and at a restaurant, but I’ve never had to turn in any Breguets or Patek Philippes at the New Jersey Transit Lost and Found.

Breguet Tourbillon
Patek Philippe Ref. 7150 - soldier

(And no, that is not because I kept them after finding them.)

I have seen cell phones dropped into rivers and flung by accident while trying to shoo away a bee. I have run to get a bag of rice when a co-worker toileted their work phone and watched my nephew’s phone fly out of his pocket on a looping roller coaster.

Yet I’ve never seen one person’s well-clasped watch spinning helplessly to its doom before my very eyes.Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon phase Retrograde Date - Clasp


You can lose yourself gazing into the craftmanship and beauty of a lovely watch like this Bovet Recital 22 Grand Récital…

… or staring again and again at this Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar — not to check if the date has suddenly changed but simply to enjoy the tradition and precision engineering it represents.

Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar - soldier

But do you ever think to yourself, ” I think I’ll pull my phone from my pocket just to stare at the lush details and skill displayed by the assembly line worker who oversaw the stamping of it?” The only thing unique about cell phones are their screen-crack patterns, I’m told no two are alike, just like snowflakes and fingerprints.

A bonus is that you might find other watch lovers staring at the artistry on your wrist but you won’t often see someone trying to get a better look at your smartphone — unless, that is their trying to glom your personal information for identity theft.


Some lucky collectors with a big “snack budgets” wake up and start the day deciding which of their watches will go best with that day’s outfit or plans.

Wolf 1834 Cabinet Watch Winder

I have yet to hear anyone claim he couldn’t decide which of his cell phone collection would be best to carry to the board meeting or charity gala. “Should I go with the Space Grey 6S or maybe my Lilac Purple S9 today?”


I have personally witnessed lifelong friendships develop over the love of watches at our WatchTime New York Events and on our Swiss & German Watchmaking Readers’ Tours.

At our events, watch lovers come together, share their stories, compare their collections, debate the merits of the new models and maybe even buy their grail watch.  On the tours, our guests travel together for a week, seeing firsthand all the skill, craftsmanship, and tradition that makes the premier brands in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and America so special and unique.

I suppose this might happen among diehard smartphone fans, but having never been invited to any phone-collector gatherings thus far, couldn’t say for sure.


As a WatchTime reader, you will have seen our extensive coverage of rare or historically significant watches that have come up for auction and sold for impressive amounts.

Philips Geneva Auction - Rolex

I don’t recall ever seeing the auction coverage on Paul Newman’s flip phone, but I may have missed it.  Does anyone know what the winning bid was?


Glance at your watch to see the time, admire the artistry, or simply to watch the hands revolve all day long…

Jaquet Droz Charming Bird

…or admire the movement behind a lovely display caseback for hours at a time…

… or roam the world with a GMT indication.

All of that fun and functionality comes with no crushing monthly data plan charges, overseas roaming fees, surprise data overage costs, unused insurance costs, or inexplicable carrier fees and taxes. Oh and you don’t need to worry that your kid is using up all your shared watch-staring time, or buying things off Amazon with your watch without telling you.


I have never had to dodge a person charging at me on the sidewalks while setting their watch, or stopping dead in front of me on my way down to the subway to check and tap away at their chronograph pushers.  I’ve never wanted to strangle a person for spoiling a movie by holding up his brightly glowing watch in the front row of a dark theater to record the show. I’ve never had to warn somebody not to back up any more or they’d fall off the 30-foot-high viewing platform at an indoor rock climbing gym while trying to angle their watch to photograph their face better. Nobody’s watch has ever chimmed constantly next to me on the train, and no one has screamed loudly into his watch for an entire ride.  Nobody has ever spammed or tried to scam me via email on my watches. I’ve never watched a person walk in front of my car against a red light and then flip me off when I screeched to a halt, saving their life because they were so engrossed in admiring the guilloché on their dial. All of the above, on the other hand, have happened to me with people texting, pirating, selfie-ing, screeching to be heard above the train noise, spamming and scamming, and being so hypnotized by the blue glow that they endanger themselves.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.


39 Responses to “11 Advantages of Wearing a Watch Over Using a Smartphone”

Show all responses
  1. Stewart Novinger

    Unfortunately people who prefer phones or smart watches over mechanical watches to tell the time are probably not reading this article, but I am a watch guy always will be

  2. Harry Imber

    You have summed up perfectly why you use a watch NOT a phone to tell the time.
    And it is so much easier to look at your Wrist than to laboriously pull out a phone !.

  3. John Slavic

    I found this article annoying and superficial. Here are my thoughts on why mechanical watches are better than smartphones.


    1. Time is an element of life that we most value; it is always measured. It is actually kinetic.
    2. The mechanical nature of a watch more closely resembles the human structure, making it an extension of who we are.
    3. It showcases human workmanship as almost all fine watches are handmade.
    4. Mechanical watches require extraordinary care and patience in construction, as does anything of value.
    5. It represents and reflects usual value.

    • Stephen Brown

      I wouldn’t call it sexy but I do have a perfectly shaped Seiko outlined on my pasty Irish white skinned wrist surrounded by bright red sunburned skin after spending the last 3 days at the beach wearing my Seiko diver. Cheers Steve

  4. I worked for many years in controlled access areas where cellphones were/are prohibited. Many of the younger employees ALWAYS asked others for the time, it was quite annoying. I often recommended that they buy a wristwatch and usually received deer in the headlights vapor lock.

  5. Robert Stianche

    An article well written and reflects my way of life . Contrary to the common daily grind of fitting in to the human driven techno world , a good ole wrist watch is my chosen flow .

  6. Barry Stein

    Stephen, an excellent article. I am a Patek Philippe collector and a big fan of Watch Time.
    In short wearing a quality watch provides an emotional and perhaps economic return.

  7. Larry Lewis

    To whom it may concern,
    I very much like your article. But unfortunately you have missed a couple of points. And I say this reluctantly as i love the intricacies of watches, only wishing i could afford some significant achievements from this industry. So with some reluctance i will continue. 1. I will have to have a cell either way. 2 although a cell phone does need to be charged it does not have many peers for accuracy due be constantly updated. 3. A cell phone automatically updates to local time zones.
    That all being said, i still wear a watch!

    • Stephen Brown

      HI BRIAN,

      TOUCHE’ though that could be considered an unhidden cost I guess….but yes that can be a big expense and a hassle if it doesn’t go smoothly….

  8. Dave DuBrow

    Excellent report, Stephen. Much like the cars we choose to drive, our choice of watch gear is a reflection of our personalities and professions. I’m always interested in which timepieces adorn the wrists from anyone on the board of directors to government workers and those fine people who work in law enforcement, firemen, entertainment industry and more. It’s far easier to sneak a glance at your watch than a smartphone in many situations.

    • Stephen Brown

      Thanks Dave,

      It can become a distracting hobby trying to catch what watch people are wearing. I think some people have shot me some sideways glances when I’ve stared at their wrists too long.


    • Stephen Brown

      Thanks For taking time to read it and for your kind words…Cheers

  9. I agree with everything but #1 with the income wise point. You never know if the watch was a gift or not. So how would it tell you anything income wise? Take that point back & everything is on point.

    • Stephen Brown

      Hi Joe,

      thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Your point is definitely valid people get fancy gifts or inherit things that they normally couldn’t buy but with that said I think mine is also still valid, my point wasn’t that you would know their exact salary but that you could make a reasonable assumption along with other clues like where you are meeting, how they are dressed overall, etc. Also while it does happen sometimes that a person gets a very expensive gift outside of their normal level of expenditure, I find rich people get rich gifts and middle class people tend to get middle class gift, etc. My very rich friend who races yachts gets a fancy UN or Rolex after each reggatta, me I got a used cd of Reggatta de Blanc by the Police from my friends. Cheers, Steve

  10. Oscar Barragan

    Dear Stephen:
    Your comment is very clever. the selection of images is great. I agree with you in pointing out those people who use telephones without building and respect for others

    • Stephen Brown

      Hi Oscar, Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to write in. Cel Phone rudeness drives me to distraction on a daily basis here in the city and I wanted to contrast that to the elegance of a fine watch which to my mind adds a little beauty to the surroundings. Plus I have fun watch spotting on my train each way, is that a Bell & Ross I see? Cheers, Steve

    • Stephen Brown

      Wow Raymond that is indeed pretty lazy… There are some great looking and well made quartz models out there for you…..

  11. Anthony Wild

    You’ve just said what I’ve always thought but couldn’t put into such words of wisdom.

    • Stephen Brown

      I think “Wisdom” might be overselling my pro-watch anti-phone rants but I appreciate you saying it anyway….

  12. Skip cuevas

    Anything that gets people out of staring at cell.phone is a great advantage

    • Stephen Brown

      Thanks Skip. I want to start a campaign to get people to move out of the way when they decide to stop dead in the middle of the sidewalk and start texting. Unless you are sending someone the right wire to clip to keep the bomb from going off in 3 seconds you have time enough to be polite and get the hell out of everyone’s way now don’t you?

  13. James B. Graham

    It’s a tad bit classier to see a (Breitling, Omega, Graham, Glashütte Original – pick your brand of choice) peaking out of your sleeve than to see a iPhone 8 sticking up out of your back pocket.

    Also, I guess you can say your dentist has an “Oris fixation”!

    I was recognized by name on a return trip to a Tokyo hotel strictly because the person behind the desk remembered the watch on my wrist (Breitling Navitimer 1952 Anniversary QP 03/25) and not my iPhone 6S 201,784,693/753,845,662. We did have a lengthy horological discussion at our first meeting, while admiring the timepieces on each other’s wrists. Each day he would wear a different watch so I could admire his collection during my stay.

    Thanks for the great article!


    • Stephen Brown

      Oris Fixation is a good one…I have to go there tomorrow and I’m going to steal your line. Hope you told the Tokyo hotel guy about WatchTime too.



  14. James S.

    Your article was Excellent! I Luv my Rolex given to me by Godfather will be passed on to my Grandson

    • Stephen Brown

      Hi James,

      Yup, I hope to pass my Grandfather’s watch on to my son one day in the very far future. Cheers,

  15. Jim Estes

    A cell phone’s usefullness is directly proportional to the length of it’s power cord. My Breitling Colt’s battery will last over 7 years and is, for all practical purposes, just as accurate…

    • Stephen Brown

      Great Point Jim…Sure a watch can die but my cell phone has gone out on my multiple times over the last year and my latest watch has been running smoothly for nearly 3 years now.

  16. Scott J Pedersen

    Great article! Good way to show a collection of very cool watches!

Leave a Reply