Expensive Watches: Why?

Remember the Casio Databank watches? It was a watch, a timer, a calculator, and even had some space to keep an address book of the numbers you needed to have at hand wherever you were. It was state-of-the-art technology for the mid-1980’s, and they still sell them today. You rarely see them anymore, because most of the potential market for Databanks has found better and easier-to-use alternatives, i.e. the cellphone.

Even if you have an inexpensive cellphone, it has a clock, a timer, an alarm, a calculator, an address book, probably one or two games, and can connect to the Internet so you can play music and surf the Web, and hey, maybe even allow you to make and receive calls and text messages. The clock is nearly always right, because it synchronizes with your carrier, who in turn synchronizes with an atomic clock. If you travel between time zones, it automatically adjusts to the time in your current location. I haven’t worn a watch in years because I have a cellphone, and I can always get the time from it. And practically every other electronic device you have has a built-in clock. A tablet, a computer (desktop or laptop), your Kindle or Nook, your MP3 player, all have a clock function. If you’re out and about, you can do very well without a watch.

So the watch has gone from being a necessary accoutrement that every responsible adult has to being a luxury item. There are men and women who wear them, not because they need them, but because they’re bling. They’re like fountain pens now: elegant, sophisticated, and flashy, but not totally necessary. (I know I’ll get in trouble for saying that about fountain pens, but face it, an inexpensive Bic pen does as good a job as a Mont Blanc fountain pen when you’re signing a credit card receipt. I used to get all my pens from hotels, by the way.) Watches are status items now.

Recently, Apple, with great fanfare, introduced their Apple Watch. Not only is it a timepiece, it also allows its owners to do many of the same things as do owners of an iPhone or iPad. Specifically, you can run apps on it, many of the same apps you run on your iPhone or iPad. Then you can sync all of your devices with it, and it with the rest of your devices, using Bluetooth technology. (As the guys on The Big Bang Theory say, everything’s better with Bluetooth.) And you can have this technological marvel for as little as $350. But the really, really good ones go for as much as $17,000.

My question: why? I don’t begrudge anyone who has the extra money lying around spending it on whatever they want, but who has that kind of money lying around? I mean, it looks cool, and I’m sure you can do lots of things you want with it, but the primary function of a watch is to tell time, something you can get very easily from your phone. And a person who has that kind of money will certainly have a phone that can do all the things that the watch can do.

Can anyone help me here? Because I really don’t understand….

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

13 thoughts on “Expensive Watches: Why?”

  1. If I had money lying around, I would probably an Apple watch. But, alas, I don’t. LOL. Actually, I did purchase a Fitbit, which not only tells time (it IS convenient when you’re walking or something and your cell phone is somewhere else), but it also tracks your steps, heart rate, approximate calories burned, sleep pattern, etc. One of the reasons I bought it was the heart rate function. I’ve been concerned with the times I’ve felt my heart was racing, so I wanted to see if it was actually happening and how fast my heart was beating. I was also interested in how long and well I was sleeping, how many times I woke up, and how many times I was restless. So, I think paying money for stuff that has the time function on it is justified when the other functions are valuable to you, personally. I think the thing with the Apple watch is just the love of technology. As far as the expensive watches? There are many more attractive watches that are cheap and functional. So that, I DON’T get.

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    1. Right. If you need a watch to tell you the time, a $34 Timex works as well as a $3400 Rolex.

      I checked out the Fitbit, which I’ve heard a lot about but had no reason to look into (my running days are well behind me… no, more like I never HAD any running days) and it looks like it delivers value for the price. The Apple Watch does some of the same things, apparently, but not as cost-efficiently. The only explanation for the Apple is it’s a status thing…

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  2. Something like a Rolex? I think it’s stupid, but I’m not a fan of jewelry period. Aside from my wedding ring I don’t wear any jewelry. My watch is a $100 job I got from Penny’s. The way I wear it now it will probably last for several years. When I was working and my watches took some occasional abuse they still lasted for 5 years or more and then I toss it out and get a new one.

    For me a watch is not for showing off or as an investment. It’s a tool that I rarely need anymore.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I think I still have a watch I bought in 1984 that would probably work if I put a new battery in it. It told the time, just like I needed it to do, and it even told me the date and day of the week. It served the purpose.

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  3. Watches have now gone full circle. As a PE teacher, I always had to wear a watch at work. I’m so glad to be free of it and I don’t imagine I’ll ever want to wear one again no matter how advanced they become.

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  4. I have a cell phone in our car. Only there for emergencies. Don’t know the number. I’m 81. I wear a watch. So there!

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    1. That’s the point, maybe not as well stated as I would have liked. You have what you need to function. A lot of people have convinced themselves that they won’t be able to function without a watch that does all the things the Apple watch does. Some will spend a lot money (that maybe they don’t have) on one, even though they have other items (e.g a cellphone) that already does what they claim to need the watch to do. Others will decide they have to have one because all the “cool kids” have one. That’s what makes no sense.

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  5. I got Sheila an iPod nano for our anniversary, but offered her the chance to get an Apple watch if she wanted. So we looked at them: what a useless piece of crap. It’s a $350 iPhone remote is what it is. You still have to be within bluetooth distance of your phone to get functionality. Nonsense; future generations will perhaps untether it from the phone the way the phone untethered us from the computer. As for the jewelry aspect, unlike expensive watches which are jewelry, the guts of the watch are the same no matter what you pay for the watch, so all the price is in the band. Ridiculous.

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    1. Exactly. No idea what they were thinking, although I can see all the kids (who can’t afford one) wanting one. It’s a toy. And as far as watches are concerned in general, the only thing it needs to do is keep good time. Doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, if it’s always fast or slow, it’s junk.

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  6. Like you, I don’t wear a watch anymore. There are clocks in everything, as you say. We’re explorers, discovers, creators, inventors, which makes us consumers I guess. That’s probably reason enough if you have the means. New technology is fascinating. Personally, I’d rather have a glamour shot on my passport/driver’s license/health card… 😀

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