The Wristwatch Is Dead

Words by: Andrew Hodges

A man who is concerned about portraying a look of understated elegance has very few options when it comes to jewellery. He may choose to wear a ring, cufflinks, a wristwatch, or maybe a tie bar or collar bar. But I fear that the wristwatch, one of the more beautiful and interesting items of male adornment, is dying a slow death. I predict that one day soon the wristwatch will be viewed as quaint and old-fashioned, the same as a pocket watch is seen today. That may be difficult for us to imagine; however, it would have been equally difficult for our ancestors to imagine the demise of the pocket watch.

You may wonder, what evil force is at play that leads me to this dire prediction about the future of the wristwatch? It is the smart phone.

“Email is Too Slow and Wristwatches are Pointless for College Freshmen” was the headline for an article last week on CNN. The article discussed the Mindset List that has been annually published by Beloit College since 1998. The list “provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.” The list was originally created “as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each generation.” This year’s list for the class of 2014 reminds us that these college freshmen were born in 1992, that to them Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess, that Clint Eastwood is a sensitive director, not Dirty Harry, that they have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S., and that Nirvana is on the classic oldies station. The list also reminds us that “they’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day” and that “with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch.”

I feel old.

The wristwatch is dead. Long live the cell phone?