Do watches still matter in the digital age

First published: 22-02-2013

Nearly everyone carries a mobile phone these days, while more and more of us are snapping up tablets - and of course all these devices are capable of telling the time.

Some may therefore argue that traditional wristwatches have become redundant, as the functions and capabilities offered by digital gadgets go way beyond what a standard timepiece can do.

But these people are forgetting the long-standing appeal of a watch, both as a practical item and as a fashion accessory.

Information Week quizzed some members of the public about the relative merits of watches and high-end smartphones and found some interesting views.

For instance, Chris J said he wears his watch all the time, as it is highly durable and stands up to the tough environment when he goes camping and sailing.

In addition, he said a watch is capable of running for months and years, whereas an iPhone loses its charge in no time at all.

Annie B was similarly enthusiastic about her watch, saying: "It doesn't play music, it has no fun apps – it just tells the time in a reliable fashion and it looks good."

She also noted that if she wants to find out what time it is, she does not need to go fumbling around for her device, as it is always instantly accessible on her wrist.

The debate about traditional watches versus modern gadgets has been ongoing for some time, but with speculation that Apple is developing an iWatch, the issue is being discussed more and more.

However, Nick W pointed out that people don't typically check their mobiles and other devices if they quickly want to find out what the time is. As a result, he believes that telling the time will be "just about the last thing" the iWatch is designed to do.

The comments bode well for traditional watch manufacturers. While gadgets worthy of Star Trek might now be common sights, it looks like the tried and tested options are from being on the way out just yet.

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