I’ve been intrigued by watches my whole life. While I wouldn’t consider myself anywhere close to an actual enthusiast – I know just enough to realize I know almost nothing about the industry – I’m quite interested in watches in relation to their impact on technology as a wearable. I’ve often been curious how they could change my life.
As a kid I was gifted cheap watches for birthdays, and also bought a few at Walmart over the years. However, they always seemed to break within a week or two, requiring me to return to the kitchen stove to check on the time throughout the day.
At 16 I was gifted a nicer watch. I don’t remember the exact brand, but I think it was a Casio, and it wasn’t cheap. It had a few fancy features, and even had a small section to painfully add notes.
The story with all of them was always the same. I’d try one on for a while, play with all of the settings, and appreciate the awesomeness that a watch brought into my life. Watches were a bit of a superpower, enabling me to connect to something more than just my direct environment.
But I could never quite make a watch work longterm. First, I hadn’t found one that felt comfortable to wear. The bands pulled at the hairs on my wrist, they never fit well, and over time most of them wore out.
Finally at 19 I gave away my last watch, and for the most part never looked back. There were been a few times in my 20s and 30s that I tried again, but I was never happy.
I didn’t like the general design of most watches I found.
Analog watches are, to this day, hard for me to read.
Most bands suck. The fit is usually off.
Typing with a watch feels weird since it raises my left wrist off the keyboard; this is probably a bad ergonomic habit on my part, but still I’ll count it.
I often bumped my watch hand against stuff, since I wasn’t used to having it as part of my body.
With those frustrations came another element. I got an iPod Touch in 2010 and it instantly made a watch irrelevant in many ways.
Then the iPhone came along. While I was a late adopter – getting my first model in 2013 – it changed everything for me. A watch just didn’t make sense, and I didn’t like the ones I’d tried.
I bought a jawbone step counter, I tried 3-4 different Fitbit devices. But they never lasted.
Finally, in 2022, I bought my first Apple Watch. I picked the Series 8 in 45 mm, and chose the velcro sport band. I’ve been sitting on this watch for a few months now, trying it and seeing how it fits into my life. In short – and time will tell if I still feel this way in the future – it seems to address all the problems I’ve had with a watch.
Even though it’s velcro, the band is fantastic. It doesn’t pull at the hairs on my wrist, I can adjust it to just the perfect size, and it has a low enough profile to not throw off my wrist while typing.
I mentioned not liking analog watches. I found a digital time that works for me, and I can finally check the time without pulling my phone out.
I had a worry that a watch would make me more connected to the internet; something I’m actively pushing against these days. Instead the opposite has been true, so far at least. I keep my watch and phone set to
do not disturb most of the day, so my watch isn’t constantly buzzing or pinging. Instead I keep the small red dot indicator on, so that I can check if any new notifications have come through. That’s enough for me, and actually means I check my phone less now.
I’m just starting to learn about the world of watch complications, and so far I’m all in. I’ve chosen the
Modular watch face, and picked the following complications:
- Activity – I like seeing how I’m doing on my steps for the day.
- Time and date
- Calendar – I like seeing what events I have coming up at a glance, again reducing my need for checking my phone so often
- Things 3 – Having my todo list close by at all times is a must, as I’m often adding things to it throughout the day, being able to do this from my wrist now is fantastic; even if the keyboard typing is slow.
- Timer – I work in 25 minute pomodoros, and having that on my wrist helps separate the timer from the computer or phone. I love it.
That’s a lot, and it’s just perfect for me. Many of the use cases for checking my phone are now gone, and I can see so much of that data right on my wrist at a glance.
None of these are
infinity wells (not my original term), where I get sucked into messages, catch up on email, or browse the web. Instead these are all complications that help me move throughout my day and ensure that nothing is lost. I love it.
A note on LTE
I bought the LTE model, hoping to use the watch on my daily runs. So far I haven’t been able to set it up, since I ran into some kind of an infinite connection loop with my phone carrier. Because of that I can’t speak to how well it works away from the phone.
So far I’ve found the watch a useful addition to my life. I like seeing how well I’m doing on my runs, I like checking text messages without opening up my phone, and the audio controls that pop up while listening to books or podcasts are useful.
The area that’s been a disappointment is in using the watch as a primary device. I knew I couldn’t do that going in, but I thought I could do more with the watch. My dream situation is to go into town, or on a run, with just the watch and AirPods, and nothing else. Instead I find I keep needing to bring my phone.
My attempts at loading music, books, or podcasts directly to the watch all failed. I tried Overcast, I tried Apple Books, I tried Audible, I tried Apple Music. In theory all of them should be able to load up audio to sync directly to my AirPods, but nothing just worked. Instead I fiddled with the apps a number of times, rechecked to see if they’d downloaded something, then finally quit and played audio directly from my phone. In this area the watch has been a disappointment, and I hope it’s something that can be solved in the future.
In terms of the size of the watch, I really like the 45mm. It’s big enough to read a lot of text, and it doesn’t feel large on my wrist. I was tempted to get the Apple Watch Ultra, but couldn’t justify the additional cost.
I’ll see how things feel a year from now, but so far I consider this a positive thing to add to my list of daily electronics.