My Watch Dilemma

I like my Apple Watch. I really do. It’s fantastic having a tiny computer on my wrist. Especially with all the health utilities and, more recently, the security features that unlock my computer. But that wasn’t always the case.

When the Apple Watch first came out, I didn’t really see the appeal. I’ve always been a watch guy and enjoyed wearing watches. Nothing too special, just some regular quartz watches that I considered nice. I think that started back in high school. I’ve basically worn a watch ever since and, in later years, I always had a few to pick from.

Around the time the first Apple Watch came out, I had recently gotten my first automatic watch. Again, nothing very fancy or expensive. Just a watch that I immediately fell in love with. It’s a Seiko 51. So I couldn’t really see myself changing to an Apple Watch.

That lasted for roughly a year. After that, the mini-computer became more and more appealing as I thought it might be a great companion to track my bike rides. I also started working at a new company and they already had a Watch app. When the second generation was revealed I ordered one right away. Initially just to see what it’s like.

I instantly liked having my calendar right there on my wrist. The notifications about new messages and the ability to reply to them quickly via speech were pretty amazing, too. A bit later I kinda fell into a rabbit hole when I bought my first few additional watch bands. This probably climaxed with the acquisition of the steel link bracelet.

Collecting achievement badges became another motivator to wear this watch every day for me. At first, I only got a few, but after a few weeks, I became kinda obsessed with closing my three rings every day. I did that for a couple of months until the flu kicked me out of that rhythm. After breaking that streak I never got back into the groove of closing them every day. Still, the occasional – and now much rarer new badge – made me smile every time I got one.

When Activity Challenges were introduced with watchOS 5, the competitiveness of that feature pulled me back into closing my rings every day for a while. The first few competitions went very well for me. The later ones not so much, as my athlete friends got more and more into the Apple Watch.

And then there are the features that are not that obvious but that are very, very valuable. The fall detection, for example. This isn’t a feature that I value on my watch too much but on my dad’s. This gives me some peace of mind. The elevated heart rate warning, on the other hand, made me miss a flight was the cause for a trip to the hospital and one extra night in lovely Berlin. Though I couldn’t enjoy that very much. Anyway, I had a minor medical condition due to which I didn’t feel like flying and the doctor was able to help me quickly.

All those advantages and conveniences aside, taking my Seiko out of the box, moving it a bit, setting the time and date, and just admiring the mechanics underneath the glass bottom still makes me pretty happy. Even just spotting a nice watch in the wild often brings up those warm feelings.

One thing I often think about is the sustainability of the Apple Watch. Of most tech products2, in fact. The thought that the device’s battery will probably be mostly dead in a couple of years and that, if I’m lucky and the battery lives a little longer, the inevitable software update will come and render the piece of hardware more or less useless. The idea of having something that has an expiration date when there’s a nice alternative that doesn’t have it3 oftentimes leaves me puzzled.

Also, I’m starting to think that being disconnected or offline sometimes is much nicer than being available all the time. I know this isn’t a spectacular realization, but in the past, I didn’t feel like this at all. So I guess this has changed for me.

This leaves me going back and forth between my two favorite watches, constantly missing the other one. First world problems at it’s best, I know. It’s my personal watch dilemma. And no, wearing one watch on each wrist isn’t the solution either. I’ve tried it. And it makes me feel like a total nerd. And not in a good way.

  1. Reference SNZF17K1 ↩︎

  2. Another Apple product that leaves me torn like this is AirPods. They are so convenient and just lovely to use. Yet I know that they’ll be dead soon and that I will probably have to replace them with a new pair. ↩︎

  3. I know that a mechanical watch can break as well and that the accuracy will most like decrease over time as well. But generally speaking, those watches should last a really long time, especially compared to a smartwatch. ↩︎