Smart watches, hybrids, vintage and modern watches

But what of Swatch? The company is a watch-making stalwart which capitalised on the quartz movement, and is working on its own smartwatch OS. Burheim is surprised the company hasn’t been more active in the smartwatch game already

“It’s a surprise it’s taken Swatch so long. It has had many parts for a long time, including the mobile payments system, so why did it take them so long? Did they not believe in it?

“It shouldn’t be hard for them to come up with something. They play by their own rules.” More at Wareable.

Mondane is, like Fossil, aiming at the hybrid market when you have a traditional looking timepiece that includes functionality which is smart such as fitness tracking and notifications. It’s a nice idea, but one that leaves me conflicted.

I don’t believe that hybrids should not exist because there is an argument that modern watches are just there to perform a task. The brands who make them may have history, but the watches themselves are modern products that lack the soul of a vintage piece. And that is where the conflicted emotions take another route.

Many brands are building vintage looking watches with pretend patina on the hands and this has now moved to the faces themselves being artificially aged to look as if they have come from another decade. Retro cases make sense because they add personality and charm, but again I would argue that artificially ageing any part of a watch is just that, artificial.

If this whole industry drew lines and cleaned up the confusion we would have modern watches, smart watches and that’s it. Vintage watches sit apart because they are impossible to copy and hybrid watches seem to sit nowhere in particular. I look at my Bulova from 1970 and don’t just catch the time. The patina catches my eye as do the slightly raised hour markers, the glorious domed crystal and the hum of the tuning fork movement. It’s all genuine, it’s all almost 50 years old and it has depth that cannot be recreated in 2018.

The industry will move to smart timepieces and luxury timepieces will continue to exist because they truly deserve to. Whether a watch was built in 1950 or 2018, it can still be a wonderful product that offers so many benefits to the owner. Can the same be said of smart watches? Probably not.

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