Traditional Watch vs. A Smart Watch

Traditional Watch vs. A Smart Watch: Hook + Graff vs. Apple Watch 4

Traditional watch vs. a smart watch? The people have spoken. The vote is in. This year, for the first time, smart watches outsold traditional watches. Smart watch sales are set to double. Again. In the face of this horological hurricane, Michael Sims argues that a traditional watch offers something no smart watch can match . . .

Nothing. The owner of The Hook + Gaff Watch Company believes the traditional watch’s lack of features is its best feature, its killer app, its raison d’etre. Sims says traditional watch wearers are more likely to live their best life – disconnected from phone calls, emails and pings – than smart watch wearers.

The reality of life in the 21st century is that we wake up to technology, drive with technology, work with technology and come home to watch technology. Building a watch that intentionally moves us away from that constriction to screen time was a leading factor in the very first Hook+Gaff creation . . .

When I look down at my Hook+Gaff watch . . . it’s a constant reminder that every second that goes by is time spent. I want to know that I’m spending my time wisely — spending it with the people I love doing the things I love to do.

I’m as mindfully mindful as the next guru. But I’m not sure quartz/mechanical horology is key. For one thing, everyone has a smart phone. Unless a trad watch wearer silences or switches off their smart phone, they’re only marginally removed from the wired world.

Grand Seiko vs. Apple Watch

Dipping in and out of the e-world may be bad joss and bad parenting, but statistically speaking, everyone’s doing it. Statistically speaking, no one’s going to give up their smart watch for a traditional timepiece to achieve a better work-life balance.

If that’s the traditional watchmakers’ best defense against the smart watch tsunami, they’re beyond doomed. But there is an answer . . .

Traditional Watch vs. A Smart Watch: Apple Watch 4 vs. NOMOS

There’s no good reason for women to wear high heels. Flats and sneakers are more comfortable, durable and affordable. That’s why tens of millions of women have turned their backs on high heeled shoes.

And yet the market still supports high heels. Their sex appeal – their fashionability – is enough to sustain that segment of the women’s shoe industry, albeit at a drastically lower market share than before.

Timex American Documents on wrist (courtesy

There’s no good reason to wear a traditional watch. Smart watches are more accurate and more useful than quartz/mechanical timepieces. That’s why smart watch sales are set to dwarf sales of traditional timepieces.

And yet the market will still support quartz/mechanical watches. Traditional watches’ sex appeal – their fashionability – will be enough to sustain that segment of the watch industry, albeit at a drastically lower market share than before.

Traditional Watch vs. A Smart Watch: Apple Watch 4 vs. SEIKO Diver

The new paradigm is already at work. Sales of fashionable and luxury quartz/mechanical watches remain robust, while sales of Timex and other “dumb” timepieces are taking a licking.

They will not keep on ticking – not like they did two years ago. But as long as vanity exists, there will be a market for “old-fashioned” quartz and mechanical watches. And men and women who want to wear them. Just not so many, and not so often. Not by a long shot.

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