Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Expensive Watches: Why?

Remember the Casio Databank watches? It was a watch, a timer, a calculator, and even had some space to keep an address book of the numbers you needed to have at hand wherever you were. It was state-of-the-art technology for the mid-1980’s, and they still sell them today. You rarely see them anymore, because most of the potential market for Databanks has found better and easier-to-use alternatives, i.e. the cellphone.

Even if you have an inexpensive cellphone, it has a clock, a timer, an alarm, a calculator, an address book, probably one or two games, and can connect to the Internet so you can play music and surf the Web, and hey, maybe even allow you to make and receive calls and text messages. The clock is nearly always right, because it synchronizes with your carrier, who in turn synchronizes with an atomic clock. If you travel between time zones, it automatically adjusts to the time in your current location. I haven’t worn a watch in years because I have a cellphone, and I can always get the time from it. And practically every other electronic device you have has a built-in clock. A tablet, a computer (desktop or laptop), your Kindle or Nook, your MP3 player, all have a clock function. If you’re out and about, you can do very well without a watch.

So the watch has gone from being a necessary accoutrement that every responsible adult has to being a luxury item. There are men and women who wear them, not because they need them, but because they’re bling. They’re like fountain pens now: elegant, sophisticated, and flashy, but not totally necessary. (I know I’ll get in trouble for saying that about fountain pens, but face it, an inexpensive Bic pen does as good a job as a Mont Blanc fountain pen when you’re signing a credit card receipt. I used to get all my pens from hotels, by the way.) Watches are status items now.

Recently, Apple, with great fanfare, introduced their Apple Watch. Not only is it a timepiece, it also allows its owners to do many of the same things as do owners of an iPhone or iPad. Specifically, you can run apps on it, many of the same apps you run on your iPhone or iPad. Then you can sync all of your devices with it, and it with the rest of your devices, using Bluetooth technology. (As the guys on The Big Bang Theory say, everything’s better with Bluetooth.) And you can have this technological marvel for as little as $350. But the really, really good ones go for as much as $17,000.

My question: why? I don’t begrudge anyone who has the extra money lying around spending it on whatever they want, but who has that kind of money lying around? I mean, it looks cool, and I’m sure you can do lots of things you want with it, but the primary function of a watch is to tell time, something you can get very easily from your phone. And a person who has that kind of money will certainly have a phone that can do all the things that the watch can do.

Can anyone help me here? Because I really don’t understand….

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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