It all started when I choose my very first ‘grown up’ watch, from a small independent retailer in Birmingham’s jewellery Quarter on my 13th Birthday. Guided by mums oohs and ahhs and my Dads ‘no nonsense’ approach to shopping, I selected a classic but elegant Pulsar time piece. It was gold in colour, with a sturdy masculine bracelet and a large but very pretty face. As soon as I put it on, it felt special. I fondly remember understanding how the slow, steady, calm and quiet movement of the ‘big’ and the ’small’ hands, would help me with simple, daily calls to action such as ‘home time’ and ‘play time’. The pace of life felt comfortable and uncomplicated, revolving around family, friends and keeping my eye on the time, so as not to miss Grange Hill on TV!
For me, a watch is still a daily tool I use to stop, start and get ready. So deep are my feelings about preserving this type of harmonious, albeit ‘old school’ style of time management, I’ve never fallen in to the trap of purchasing a Smartwatch. Despite my resistance, I still manage to get myself to work on time, exercise at the same pace as my tech wearing friends, keep up with all my emails and take a health check with a professional if I feel my body needs some TLC. I may be downgrading the fundamental requirement of technological advancement, but it is simply how I see things.
With seemingly superior functionality, clean modern lines and sleek plastic finishes encasing technology which can help check and control your health, habits, emails and even your lifestyle, the invasion of the Smartwatch seems to have caused a strange necessity for people to create more complication. Friends have even expressed feelings of guilt or failure, if fitness progress is not made and maintained via an app strapped to their wrist!
I believe that comparing a simple analogue wristwatch with a wearable tech device, is a bit like comparing Buzz lightyear to Woody from Toy Story. Cowboy Woody feels safe. He reminds us of old customs and traditions passed on from one generation to the other. Just as Andy couldn’t replace Woody, we could never replace a traditional timepiece, because they are comfortable, reliable and low maintenance and you can wear them anywhere. Like a trusted companion, they bring joy in the simple, age-old tradition of telling the time. Buzz on the other hand represents excitement, space travel, science, machinery and all things technology. Looking futuristic, wearable tech is the perfect gift or impulse self-purchase because it promises to excite and enhance your life, but in truth for me it would be nothing short of high maintenance, prone to annoying malfunctions, app failures, alarms or costly upgrades, quickly becoming dated as technology progresses.
I am also lead to believe that some wearable tech, is a bit clumsy….. For example, my friend told me only this week, she went grocery shopping during lockdown for her parents and parents in law whilst wearing hers. She said “as you can imagine, I had a trolley piled high which was very heavy to push and so I certainly burned some calories winding up and down the isles!” When she was finally finished and home she put her feet up and attempted to check her daily step count, only to find that her wrist device informed her that she hadn’t been shopping and walking at all, but had instead been swimming lengths!?
Contrary to what this article may convey, I do very much understand that tradition and technology need to live harmoniously together and we need both in our lives for our health and our wellbeing. Toy story just wouldn’t be the same without both the simple, uncomplicated but ‘smart’ cowboy and the high-tech, exciting, but slightly clumsy spaceman.
However I believe now more than ever we need to re-address the balance. We cannot influence time, speed it up, slow it down, add to it or diminish it, we can only respect its presence and make the most of how much of it we are given.
Following redundancy, repatriation and a burn out after 20 years within the watch industry, I was more thankful than most for the downtime I shared with my family during lockdown. This year has been a consistent reminder, to embrace the precious moments I have with those who are dear and less time evaluating any perceived failures.
During this period and whilst flicking through some old photographs, I had an idea which reignited the passion I felt had lost. Driven by fond nostalgic memories of a teenage accessory trend I adored and a beautiful, courageous lady called Patricia who was taken too soon, my concept was born.
For myself, my family and for love of my babies, I created a small, uncomplicated ring watch brand which I hope you will admire. So for those occasions when notification anxiety and fitness stats are not essential, maybe you should take a break from technology and put on a unique but beautifully on trend and stylish watch, that gives undemanding elegance and simply tells you the time!