This Is What a Watch Expert Thinks of the Apple Watch

Illustration for article titled This Is What a Watch Expert Thinks of the Apple Watch

The New York Times calls Benjamin Clymer "The High Priest of Horology." He's the executive editor of the watch-enthusiast website, Hodinkee, which featured in Time magazine's list of the 50 best websites in 2013. Which is what makes his unique take on the Apple Watch so fascinating.

While the rest of us compare the Apple Watch to its obvious competitors like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R, Clymer takes a step back and examines how it stacks up to the watch industry as a whole. It's unclear how much time he actually spent with the Apple Watch, but it's important to make the distinction that unlike those other half-baked reviews out there, Clymer simply gives us his first impressions as a watch expert, not a gadget reviewer. This is a guy who is used to regularly wearing $10,000 watches and he still comes away impressed by Apple's $350 device.


The reason? "Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design," he writes.

Clymer's Apple Watch impressions are only about the exterior. He purposely stays away from the functionality and the interface. And while he's mostly positive, it's clear he still thinks that smartwatches in general are missing something Here's a small sampling of his take:

They Nailed The Feel

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.

They Respected Tradition

The Apple Watch, in its own way, really pays great homage to traditional watchmaking and the environment in which horology was developed. We have to remember that the first timekeeping devices, things like sundials, were dictated by the sun and the stars, as is time to this day. The fact that Apple chose to develop two faces dedicated to the cosmos shows they are, at the very least, aware of the origins and importance of the earliest timekeeping machines, and the governing body of all time and space – the universe.


But It's Still Just Not the Same

My watches will last for generations, this Apple Watch will last for five years, if we're lucky. On an emotional level, you can't compare them, and that is why I don't believe many serious watch lovers (who, again, would normally be racing to spend their cash on an Apple release) will go for this.


Check out the rest of Clymer's observations here; they're extremely helpful for a look at what the Apple's smartwatch is like outside of the smarts. [Hodinkee]

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It's a gadget that will be obsolete when the next generation comes out like most digital technology products these days from laptops to phones to TVs. This fact doesn't make it worthless.

For $350 or so its probably better than the cheaper Seikos or Luminox, but those are fashion (or utility) items distinct from timepieces like Omega, Rolex and into the crazy money watches like Patel.

Aside from the build quality, expensive watches are judged by their innards, which perplexes so many people on how a $300, $3,000 and $10,000 watch are different because "they all tell time". I don't own a $10k watch and am far from kniwing enough to appreciate a watch that expensive. Best anology I can come up with is that you can drive a Geo metro to work, an escalade, or a Ferrari, they will all get you from Point A to Point B.