One in six Americans owns a smartwatch, and growing. We may not be at the point where people ask why you’re sporting an analogue watch instead of a “wearable,” but we’re getting there (even Cara’s friend TAG makes a smartwatch). There are now two generations that can’t read an analogue watch. In the interests of defending traditional/analogue watch wearers, here are three ways to justify your love . . .
1. Smart Watches Aren’t Safe!
According to research published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, smart watches are more distracting than mobile phones while driving.
We can diss the study’s protocol – a driving simulator experiment does not a real world result make, and [both] careful readers will discover that the smart watch distracted driving danger centers on sending texts. But remember: plenty of political positions are based on emotion rather than an objective examination of the facts (cough gun control cough). Here’s the money shot:
Many similarities can be observed between results from this experiment and previous studies on the same topic. In Giang et al.’s (2014) first experiment, participants took longer to read notifications with the smartwatch than with the smartphone, although they started looking at the watch faster.
Giang et al’s (2015) follow-up experiment found that people glanced more at the smartwatch than at the phone and that their brake response time was longer when a lead vehicle was slowing down in front of them in a watch condition than in a phone condition. The findings in both studies are similar to those in our experiment : The smartwatch is more distracting to the driving task than the smartphone.
2. An Analogue Watch is Environmentally Friendly!
Common sense tells us that a watch made of mostly steel bits that lasts pretty much forever is better for the environment than an all-plastic watch that uses a battery with the practical lifespan of a panther chameleon.
As you’d imagine, or at least hope, green warriors have examined the smart watch’s environmental impact. greenlivingdetective.com spills the tea:
Smartwatches use the same processors, sensors and display technology as smartphones. So, buying, using and ultimately discarding them will have the same set of problems.
The guts of smartwatches are made from dozens of ingredients that are rare, difficult and costly to extract. This puts workers – of whom kids are the main victims – in harm’s way. Extraction of these rare earth metals are polluting and resource depleting . . .
Perhaps worse, smartwatches are increasingly disconnected from safe end-of-life scenarios and the efforts at a circular economy . . . Although e-recycling is on the rise in the U.S., 90% of the world’s e-waste is illegally traded or dumped each year . . . experts worry they are contributing to a troubling trend in e-recycling.
Those of us who wear battery-powered traditional watches are on less firm ground here, but at least you pull out the battery when it’s dead and drop it off at an appropriate recycling center (Home Depot is your huckleberry). Right?
3. An Analogue Watch Is Better For Your Mental Health!
This is the rationale traditional watch manufacturers and their most strident customers use time and again to defend the analogue horological habit. As I pointed out in Traditional Watch vs. A Smart Watch, the “I wear a dumb watch to disconnect from the e-world” defense depends on not using your smartphone.
What are the odds? Still, there’s no getting around it (thankfully): a smart watch places FAR more demands on your time and mental energy than a traditional watch. The temptation to stay connected to the ‘net 24/7 risks triggering IAD. wikipedia.org explains:
Internet addiction disorder (IAD), also known as problematic internet use or pathological internet use, is generally defined as problematic, compulsive use of the internet, that results in significant impairment in an individual’s function in various life domains over a prolonged period of time.
Young people are at particular risk of developing internet addiction disorder, with case studies highlighting students whose academic performance plummets as they spend more and more time online. Some also suffer health consequences from loss of sleep, as they stay up later and later to chat online, check for social network status updates or to reach the next game levels.
Not to mention adolescent mental illness and suicide related to cyberbullying. While there is such a thing as traditional watch addiction (get help here), smart watches are a clear and present danger to anyone who has trouble relaxing. Unless you use the Apple Watch Calm app.
Ahem. The point remains: a traditional watch is a smart choice for anyone who values safety (both walking and driving), protecting the environment and avoiding information sickness. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. You?