Watch nerd Benjamin Clymer was at the Apple Watch launch and had hands-on time with the device. He loves it and doesn’t think it’s a real rival for traditional watches (although he thinks both Swiss and Asian watchmakers should up their game now), as he details in an interesting blog post. Read: Apple Watch hands-on review.
Clymer is the founder of Hodinkee, one of the most widely read wristwatch publications in the world. Also read: Is the Apple Watch worth buying?
Clymer praises Apple for its Watch options: “Apple absolutely, positively, indisputably NAILED its straps and bracelets. In addition to offering a bevy of options from leather to fluoroelastomer to link bracelets to Milanese, it is here that you really see how much attention Apple was paying to the way people wear watches, and the how bad existing options were.
“Changing straps is one thing, but the attention to detail on the straps and bracelets themselves is downright incredible, and when I mentioned above that nothing comes close in this price range, it is very visible when talking about straps.
“I think Switzerland should take a clue here, and realize that once you find something that works, it doesn't hurt to offer it in any number of aesthetic options.”
But Clymer doesn’t expect Apple to take a chunk out of the premium watch market, but thinks it does have a market: ”Though I do not believe it poses any threat to haute horology manufactures, I do think the Apple Watch will be a big problem for low-priced quartz watches.”
Apple Watch: build quality
Clymer loves the feel of the Apple Watch: “The overall level of design in the Apple Watch simply blows away anything – digital or analog – in the watch space at $350. There is nothing that comes close to the fluidity, attention to detail, or simple build quality found on the Apple Watch in this price bracket.”
“Overall design of the object – most obviously, the way that curved screen flows perfectly into the case – is just gorgeous,” he adds.
“Apple has paid excruciating attention to detail in the design and wearability of the Apple Watch. In many cases, its offerings make what is coming out of Switzerland (or Asia) look amateurish.”
Apple Watch: too bulky
But Clymer isn’t so keen on other aspects of the Watch, and even doubts that the Apple Watch is a watch at all: “If this was simply a digital watch, I could say it's a well designed, well-executed one. But it's not a watch, and that's where I think it missed the mark.”
He thinks that it is too bulky for everyday use: “The Apple Watch doesn't fit under my shirt cuff without serious effort, if at all. I believe that great design should not disrupt daily life, and a watch that doesn't fit under a shirt sleeve is missing something. I was surprised by how bulky this is, especially when the 45 minutes prior to the introduction of the Apple Watch were spent discussing how svelte the new iPhone 6 is. It needs to be sleeker.”
Apple Watch: not so cool
While Apple is the king of cool tech, Clymer actually thinks that the Apple Watch can’t match real watches for serious cool: “I am talking pure aesthetics, and 100 perfect superficial judgement here, but at the end of the day, I don't see people that love beautiful things wearing this with any great regularity.”
“The average well-to-do person buys an iPhone 6 because it's the absolute best offering in the category in both form and function. I'm not sure the same can be said about Apple Watch because things like my Patek Philippe 3940G exist, and they always will.”
Read our Apple Watch review