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Wearing a regular watch instead of a smartwatch is still a nice thing

Smartwatches are obviously the new darling among the nerdy tech crowd. It started picking up pace during 2013, continued through CES – and at Mobile Nations with the launch of an initially dedicated site – at the start of this year and now we've got many an Android fan literally screaming in delight at the seemingly imminent arrival of the Moto 360. I'm part of that crowd, I wear a Pebble pretty much every day, especially when I travel and it's become an accessory I enjoy wearing.

What the Pebble has also done, perhaps strangely, is increase how often I wear a regular watch. I'm no watch fanatic, not by any means, but far from replacing regular watches wearing a Pebble has actually led me to wearing them more.

Before jumping in with a smartwatch it'd been over 10 years since I last regularly wore a timepiece on my wrist. The last time was probably while doing my "A" Levels at age 18, back in the days when my mobile phone was more often in my bag than my pocket. Between then and 2013, pretty much nothing. Not even on my wedding day when I didn't have a phone in my pocket. Then came Pebble, and then came getting back into wearing a watch on a regular basis.

I think it's at least partly down to getting used to having something on my wrist again, all day, every day. Like we're now used to carrying a phone in our pockets – and quickly feel empty when one isn't there – something doesn't feel the same anymore when I'm not wearing a watch. During the week, it remains Pebble. It's part of my work flow now. My phone just stays on my desk and as emails, messages, calls come in they're all triaged without having to touch the phone. Since I've usually got some headphones plugged in to it, it works, and of course there's the music controls right there, too.


But when I go out for dinner with my wife, or at the weekend when I'm trying to have a little time away from work, the Pebble without fail comes off and on goes a regular, plain old just tells the time watch. They're not particularly expensive watches, but I think they look nice – certainly more so than the likes of the Pebble or LG G Watch when you're out somewhere fancy – and importantly they don't vibrate when I get an email. It's part of that detachment. And I like that. I like that a lot.

With the ever more connected world we live in we're so connected, so much of the time, it's easy to just roll with it and accept it as the new normal. Android Wear is extremely exciting – even if none of the first wave of watches really entices me – and I'm eager to see where it goes. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't really care if a smartwatch looks as nice as the Moto 360 does. It's still a tool to me and if I want to make an effort and dress up nice, I will. With a nice watch. I'm curious to know if I'm crazy and alone on this one, or if anyone else found themselves doing the same.

We're also now a couple of weeks out from the big show of the fall season, IFA 2014. I'll be going with Alex and Derek Kessler, and it'll be interesting to see if smartwatches are hitting the booths with the same, if not more verve than at CES back in January. LG's already been rumored to be bringing another Android Wear device. It'll be fun finding out.

  • Yes, you are crazy and alone, lol. And part of why I've held out for the 360 is that I wanted a smartwatch that stood some chance of being nice enough to wear at social functions.
  • Nope, not alone. There are plenty of times that i prefer a regular watch. Mine has time, timer, and chrono functions, but is pretty basic as such. I find it very easy to use, I don't fear taking it places that I wouldn't take my phone, and it looks nice.
  • Ehh, I wouldn't say he's crazy, but this is a very VERY subjective thing that perhaps didn't really merit an article/opinion piece like this (no offense Rich)... The first thing I thought about halfway thru reading it was: if you don't wanna be bothered there's a very convenient and easy to engage 'do not disturb mode' on Wear made precisely for this purpose. I'd saw swapping watches instead of engaging DND or exercising a little self control is perhaps a bit extreme, though he clearly stated that blocking notifications wasn't his only reason for swapping. I actually think a lot of people might end up buying smartwatches and then occasionally swapping them out for aesthetic reasons, women for sure, as well as men who already have watch collections... Then there's tons of people for whom this is ALL irrelevant as they find the concept of having any extra or more easily accessible notifications completely pointless, hence the very subjective nature of this. Personally I'm a one watch kinda guy so I'm holding out for the 360, depending on how it looks and how much it stands out I might swap it for my titanium Victorinox once in a great while, but probably not.
  • Believe it or not we all now have a weekly column slot (like Phil with his editor's desk posts) to talk about, well, stuff. I get Mondays, and this is what I decided to talk about this week :-) Posted via Android Central App
  • Gotcha, I wasn't conscious of that even tho I remember reading (and enjoying) your other posts about the race you took place in etc. I still think it's a pretty subjective point which makes it kind of a wishy washy subject to discuss, even if that's sorta the point behind opinion pieces. I wasn't trying to put the article down, it's well written despite the subjective nature of the premise, shoot I posted a handful of comments... It was probably the timing of it more than anything, seems a lot of the smartwatch articles aren't really adding any relevant news... That's more of a pet peeve of mine tho, I do think AC could consider tagging and classifying more clearly what's news vs what's editorials (or guides and reviews even). It isn't always clear from the headline, just putting it out there (and not just because of this one post).
  • Best way to check is by looking to the left of the authors name at the top of the article. If it says (like this one) Editorial, consider it to be full of opinions :) We've also got tags for news, reviews, accessories etc that should be used correctly and help you determine what type of post it is :)
  • A criticism of the site and not of your work, but those tags really aren't that obvious. I can tell by the wording of a headline whether a piece is going to be news, opinion, review, etc. — but it appears many people can't. Perhaps changing from gray to a brighter color would make the labels stand out.
  • It's a shame that, although it has the space, the Android Central App doesn't list those tags... Posted via Android Central App on my HP TouchPad (Schizoid PAC-ROM 4.2.2)
  • My regular watch cost several thousand dollars and was a gift from my wife. As much as I want a smart watch, I think she would upset if I started wearing something I bought myself.
  • I wouldn't say crazy either, but as far I'm concerned alone. If I get a smartwatch it will be sometime that can be worn out and during the week, a watch these days is mostly style, I don't think the fact that it's a smartwatch changes that. Utility is a nice extra of the smartwatch, that might make watches popular again.
  • "Nice" is in the eye of the beholder. The 360 looks more like a normal watch but I also think its on the ugly side. Still, that's just my opinion. Other people like it. I have always preferred the look of the Galaxy watches and still do. I'm using a Gear2 and I think it looks more than suitable for dress-up. At any rate, I dress to suit my own needs and desires, no somebody else's which I suppose is why I'll never be a fashion diva ;-)
  • I like elegance. All my watches I own are of elegant design except my Toq which is my only smartwatch. The Sony SW2 is the only other smartwatch I liked because of it's design. The LG is just ugly and the Gear Live is only tolerable with a steel band. I only would consider the all metal 360 because it keeps a natural elegant look of traditional watches. I have been less and less wearing my Toq because I prefer style over convenience. Hopefully I can appreciate both with the 360. Posted via Android Central App
  • You do know the 360 as also got a plastic back and is not going to be the all singing all dance smart watch people are expecting right? The only differences will be its round and wireless charging. It as to fit the "android wear" silo the same as the other 2 watches. I'm worried expectation is already way to high and most people are going to crash down hard. Just say. :) Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol seriously? A plastic back compared to an all out stainless steel frame and band. REALLY? And you do know the plastic back is for the charging components right. You completely missed the point of my post.
  • You seem to have taken this personnel and that was not my intention. Look at what as been leaked. The 360 has to have a plastic back to 1 wireless charge and 2 to be sub $300. Yes its round and will look nice. But also there are 2 versions. First the cheaper one will have a plastic strap. The second which will cost more will offer the metal strap. Posted via Android Central App
  • And once again you obviously didn't read my post. And no it will not have plastic straps. They are either metal or leather.
  • Wireless charging already fixes one of the three major gripes against existing Wear watches (battery being the biggest gripe and brightness/visibility being the second/third depending on usage), and the aesthetic is obviously very appealing to a lot of people... So yeah, for me personally it's a cut above the rest and they'll have to screw it up pretty bad for it to disappoint me.
  • Good article. Absolutely but I am actually the other way around. I much prefer a proper watch and choose to wear a very nice watch that I even have to wind up! (A Stowa Marine Original should you care) :) I got it as a gift from my wife when we got married and it will be with me forever, I don't think a piece of tech will ever get to that point in our lives - too disposable and too quick a sell by date to be timeless items. I use a 'smarter' watch when I need one, in my case running so it can track distances and speed. I always have my phone close by so don't need or want the sort of functionality you use yet, I can see the attraction but I have a phone, a computer, a tablet enough screens for now. However I watch the smartwatch development with interest. I like my proper watch, I like the ritual of winding it the same way I still like a pen and a notebook to jot things down even though I have countless word processors and Evernote..sometimes analogue feels right :)
  • Haha just to spite Ara... You're not alone :p I actually am the same way. I've been doing the whole Gear, Gear 2 thing for a while now and plan on getting a Moto 360 at launch. But prior to these I never wore a watch. But now I'm just as you wrote, I feel weird without a watch on my wrist but I don't like wearing my gear 2 when I go out and am dressed up, even though I do still occasionally. So I've started getting nicer, regular old watches.
    I wear them about 50% of the time now and my smartwatch the rest of the time. I find it to be a good balance. But just like Jerry was saying on the podcast Friday, we're getting more used to having them on and it's hard not to look at it when driving. So I like to turn it off when I'm in my car, mostly on my way home from work. And this usually leads me to putting on my regular one at the end of the work day and all through the evening. Posted via Android Central App
  • And speaking of which what is that watch you're wearing there in the main picture? I like it a lot. Posted via Android Central App
  • It is a MVMT watch in the picture. Classy watches and decent prices.
  • $95US??? Not bad at all. I'm all over this thanks. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yup, is really nice. Great company to deal with too and free shipping worldwide. Can't ask for much more :)
  • You know I really just wanna look like you is all :D
  • Ain't nobody wants to look like me ;-)
  • I'm sold on the $100 metal band one. Beautiful! Posted via NSA Spy Van 37...... Free candy??
  • Moto 360 g Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or Galaxy S5
  • I have a hard time on the subject since I've never been a fan of watches and will never be able to afford a smart watch but I understand. We are very connected and sometimes disconnecting is nice. My parents house has no signal and 3mbps Internet so I can't watch my streams or do what I do on the Internet which leaves my phone being left alone and engaging with my family more which is cool. But as far as looks go I agree we all want something that were used to looking nice being in that spot since most people wear nice looking watches or don't care for looks due to using it for fitness like underwater watches etc. It's a good cup of tea right now. It's good but could be a bit sweeter Posted via Android Central App
  • I love my expensive special forces issue Oakley watch but I love all of the extra features in my pebble so much. Notifications are only a small part. GPS directions, music controls, fitness tracking, and the list goes on. I would say I have been switching from traditional watches to my pebble more often than not. Posted via Android Central App
  • Why is the main story picture either: 1) upside-down or 2) the owner wearing the watch upside-down?
  • It was kind of bothering me too lol Posted via Android Central App
  • It's the right way up on my arm. Which is hanging by my side :)
  • I think I'm going to wait for the 2nd generation wearables before I dive in. I need something more than a watch plus notification mirror before I invest.
  • They are so much, do much more than that. There's nothing I can do on my phone that I can't on my watch except for a small number of things like play games. Posted via Android Central App
  • Or watch videos, or email/text (that is, without voice controls). Don't get me wrong; it's a neat device. I'm just not sure the convenience advantage is worth the near $300 (after tax) price tag. Maybe I'll change my mind once I play with a 360 demo unit at retailer, but until then, this fence I'm sitting on is mighty comfortable. :-)
  • Not just notifications tons apps than you can download that will allow you to access the browser plays games create and reply to text GPS navigation and more Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm in a similar boat... kind of. I stopped wearing a watch around 2007 when I started to train heavily in dance; it just got in the way and I didn't want to worry about keeping an expensive watch in my bag. Then along came the Pebble Steel, the first smartwatch I would actually consider wearing. I decided to prime myself for my return to watch-wearing by buying a $40 Casio dive watch and VERY QUICKLY caught the fever for mechanical automatic and hand-wound watches. I now own about seven (with many more watch bands) that I rotate through based on occasion and my preference for the day. Meanwhile, my Pebble Steel order took so long to ship that I ended up canceling the order in anticipation of the Moto 360. The Moto 360 has now taken so long to be released, and I've invested so much in my mechanical watch collection, that I recently decided I that don't really care to replace them with a smartwatch, even if that has been my plan from the beginning. Maybe my mind will be changed when I see the 360 in person, but for now I'm happy to rotate through my current collection.
  • I have a really nice Citizen Ecodrive watch that I prefer also. Before this ugly smartwatch craze, I considered it pretty smart with its perpetual calendar, battery recharged by light, day/date, accurate to within seconds per year, alarm, etc. When I can have a smartwatch that isn't the circumference of a pickle-jar and manages to look classy, I'll buy one. Heck, I'd pay more than $500 for one easy.
  • The Moto 360 looks much larger than it really is, at least judging from the comparison photos with the LG.
  • I have a Citizen Eco Drive and love it myself. Posted via Android Central App
  • Big G-Shock fan here. Wear them all the time. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've been wearing watches for nearly thirty years now, and I'm not looking to stop anytime soon. I just don't know if I can really justify a Moto 360, though. It's such new technology, plus I've already got a very expensive watch.
  • Heretic. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm the opposite, I've been regularly wearing a watch since my dad gave me my first one when I was 5 but I'm leery of getting a smart watch. Android Wear has finally produced a platform/devices I want to get, I just don't know if I can justify the expense of a device I don't have a personal use case for. Posted via Android Central App
  • I own 25+ watches. Automatics, manual wind, quartz. Mostly Swiss, a few with Japanese Myota movements.
    It's an accessory, just like a handbag or shoes are for women.
    The crop of smart watches look appalling to a watch lover.
    Nothing pleasing to the about them. I love real analog dial watches.
  • I also like the design of a regular watch but I think something like just an LED notification light would be a nice addition to one. With BT 4.0 LE the battery life should still be plenty! and alert of notifications especially if you keep phone on silent.
  • Even you've got a MVMT watch! They're so good! Posted via Android Central App
  • I have always worn a regular watch, but was excited to try Android Wear after buying a Sony Smartwatch 2. I was disappointed with the inadequate (IMHO) vibration on the LG G and returned it. I have read similar complaints about the Samsung Gear Live. I went back to the Sony, only to eventually realize there was some contention in bluetooth between the watch and otherwise reliable Motorola earpieces (tested with two, one new). To me, the earpiece is more important. Having by now realized that I could set the phone to vibrate instead of a needy sidekick (charging, connecting distance, bluetooth contention), I gave the Sony away, and went back to a regular watch. As neither Google nor the two vendors are acknowledging the vibration problem, nor the bluetooth contention, I have no idea when if ever I might try Android Wear again. As this is bleeding edge technology, you would think somebody would acknowledge these growing pains. And then again, at this writing, watches that replace phones entirely seem to breaking forth....
  • I concur. Quite frankly, no smartwatch is ever going to peel my Swiss-crafted metal beauty off my wrist until the OEMs match that quality. Posted via Android Central App
  • I stopped wearing watches as I was destroying them almost as fast as I was purchasing them. Even at cheap prices it started to add up and I ditched them for my phone which doubled/s as a clock. I like the idea of a smart watch but again I know I will destroy them fast and would rather save my money for my next phone. So I will probably hold off for now, until I can determine durability and see if my colleague's Galaxy Gear Live holds up more than a few months. Dan Posted via Android Central App
  • I bought the pebble and the then the pebble steal. I became pretty hooked on the smart watch concept. The problem I had was that I started looking at watch all the time. I would be in a meeting and my watch would vibrate so I would instinctively look at my wrist. People I was meeting with would then get a complex. Why does he keep looking at his watch? Is he bored? Does he have somewhere else to be? I would always comment to them not to worry, "its a smart watch" I would say. I got tired of having to explain it and the message I was unintentionally sending so I decided to give the pebble a break. At first I missed not having the notifications right there, then I didn't and now I don't and wont go back. Its a great concept, but at the end of the day, not necessary for me. And that's all I have to say about that. :)
  • Perhaps you just needed to exercise a little self control? If you were in a meeting you either didn't need to look at the notifications or should've been more discreet, or if it was just an uncontrollable reaction (I don't blame ya) something like Wear's 'do not disturb' mode would've done the trick. I'm not trying to single you out, I just think people are gonna have to learn to live with smartwatches just like they learned to live with phones... At first the few elite that had mobile phones would answer them any time anywhere and every time, until it became socially unacceptable. I'm just saying, just because a watch can notify you of everything every 5s doesn't mean you should care or allow it to do so. AW does need finer grain control over notifications when it comes to stuff like emails and texts tho, at least a DND whitelist and overall blacklist.
  • Nice perspective that has not been mentioned before. Thx Posted via Android Central App from Samsung Note 3
  • you know that there's now smart watches with Airplane mode and notification management to disable alerts besides calls and message texts. I have a gears s@ and even with the S3 out i'll always stick to the S2.
  • I love having a regular watch. I wear a sport watch that's waterproof and also has a backlight, smartwatch, and also a calendar. It only cost me around $50, and it lasts a very long time on a battery. Posted via Android Central App
  • Not yet a Wear/Moto360 owner, but having some really nice watches, and then had a few SonyEricsson MBW-150's, I got so used to these addictive Bluetooth watches that my very expensive and stylish watches fell by the wayside. It didn't take more than a couple of years for the MBWs to give up, however. The irreplaceable OLED panels failed, about two years after date of manufacture because they were sensitive to airborne humidity (!). I had to get used to a BT free life again. It was agony, but I learned that these smartwatches are consumables, so however classic the 360 is in design terms, it's unlikely to be around say 10 years from now. I still use my classic watches...
  • I believe that it will be a long time before I jump onto the smart watch bandwagon. Looking at my phone has never been a hassle to me so it will have to have a lot of features that will enhance my experience before I don a smart watch.
  • I've worn watches off and on my whole life but mostly on. It's been over ten years since the last phase of not wearing one. With my Pebble, the difference now is that I even wear one at night. Mostly out of habit now in case I have an alarm set. I also love Pebble Locker so much that on the days I feel like wearing one of my old watches, the Pebble is in my pocket to keep my phone unlocked. Posted via Android Central App
  • I have many watches. Several were misplaced in a move (they're here somewhere) and the others either need batteries or don't work right. I used to miss wearing one terribly, but now I'm so accustomed to just checking my phone, I don't even think about it.
  • i always wear a regular watch. I haven't fully convinced myself that I need a smartwatch yet even though I think they're cool. For now I'll keep wearing my Citizen watch that just tells time and date. I actually think it has an alarm on it but I never use that.
  • When smart watches get down to 50.00 maybe I will buy the 2nd Gen Posted via Android Central App
  • I wear my gear live all day everyday getting rid of my regular watch.The gear live is the best looking android wear watch out of all the android wear watches so far. Looks professional, classy and stylish and it works for social situations also. I get tons of compliments on my gear live everyday that I wear it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Wow this guy is so anti Android it's crazy. Posted via Android Central App
  • And your comments are so incredibly insightful and thought provoking. Posted via Android Central App
  • Most of time i don't wear a watch, i just can't stand these things hanging to my arm, to know the time i just look at my smartphone or my computer screen or listen the church bell nearby. I own a Gear 2, bought in a bundle with a Galaxy Tab S, i use only the fitness functions, not notifications for the mails or other stuff and i wear it only for my daily runs. I keep an eye on the smartwatches developpement and may change my mind if i see something of interest.
  • Really? I mean really?
  • I have several smart watches, with a few more in the acquisition plans. I also have far more standard watches of varying makes and styles. My most favorite watch is still a good old fashioned mechanical "automatic" which will work long after all the others can no longer take a charge or that I can no longer find batteries for.
  • I will always wear a rugged Casio gshock watch because I'm the kind person that will wear a watch for months without taking it off. I cannot imagine wearing a smart watch and having to take it off constantly to charge it. I love the idea of smart watches and smart tech gadgets but they just aren't for me. I have my s5 and note 8.0 and that's enough for me.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're not "rocking" any more now I see... Posted via the Android Central App
  • A watch is the only jewelry a man should wear other than a wedding band. As such it should be an elegant reflection of his personality. I prefer a mechanical automatic watch that does not depend on batteries to work. The seiko 5 I usually wear is an overseas model not sold in the US that is waterproof and looks great. Of course I aspire to a vintage omega or zodiac. There is something to be said for not being g dependant on electrons for every little thing and allowing for little inaccuracies in life. Posted via Android Central App
  • Great article! Interesting read...... But I honestly don't see me getting a smartwatch.......I wear a "regular" wrist watch every day as it is. I have my phone in my hand enough as it is, and I don't want to be pulling it out just to tell the time, and I don't want to have to keep looking at my wrist every time I get a vibration.....that would drive me nuts. I think I will most likely just keep on as I have....wrist watch for time, and phone for everything else.
  • Great article. I just love watches all around.
    BTW what's the watch in the first picture? Its really nice.
  • Thanks Richard Devine, just spent a $100 on that watch. Man it looks pretty Posted via NSA Spy Van 37...... Free candy??
  • I honestly am not at any social functions where a watch would throw off the look of something like that. I have been known to go into DND mode on my pebble to get away from notifications at times. I just bought the bright green pebble and honestly wouldn't feel bad about wearing it everywhere. maybe it's just that i'm a lowly engineer with a very low view of fashion, but do people really look at your watch and think that breaks the "dressed up" look?
  • Not me but then I'll never be accused of being "fashionable" or "trendy". I am and always will be just me and right now, I love my Galaxy Gear 2 smart watch.
  • I've worn a watch since my high school days and I'm 49 now and have no plans of doing away with a regular watch anytime soon. I have no need whatsoever for any kind of smart watch. I just don't need to be that connected. I only have one watch at a time so I don't have a collection of them or change watches depending on what I'm wearing. And that watch is usually something on the cheaper side. I can't see sinking a ton of money into a watch. I just got a new Armitron from redeeming rewards points from my job place so this one will be with me for a long time.
  • My daily horologe is an pretty expensive Breitling E. However, I can't wait to replace it with one of these new devices.
  • you are definitely not alone on this one. I love the fact the traditional watch makers aren't going to jack up screen sizes so that the things cover my entire arm.
  • i was never a watch person but once i get my pebble and buying bands i started to see really nice watches. Being a tech guy i didnt want to trade my pebble foe a watch that doesnt have smart functions. But thats were the 360 comes in its very nice looking and im sure i can find watch faces that look very similar to the normal watches i like
  • I've been wearing a Gear 2 Neo for a while now (other watches look ugly to me) but I thought I would put one of my nice Fossil watches on for the day (love the bling). I found myself relatively surprised that I was really missing the functionality of the smart watch. Feels like the first time you figured out you were addicted to your phone. I'm not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing but until I figure it out, I guess I'm sticking with my Gear 2. :-)
  • I work on multiple deadlines nightly, so I still use my watch as a watch. Habit forces me to roll my wrist 45 degrees away from typing to check the time fairly often, even though the time is displayed at the top of the screen. If and when I move to a smartwatch, I need it to reproduce that functionality and show me big hands and little hands.
  • The Gear and Gear 2 offer you different watch faces to use, both digital and analog looking. Not sure about the others but would think that would work for you.
  • Before about a year ago I hadn't worn a watch in probably a decade. After I saw how awesome some of these new smartphones are, I decided I wanted one, but wasn't going to go all in if I didn't really LIKE wearing a watch. So I bought a cheap timex analog watch (The one on the left WITH INDIGLO! Now I'm to the point where I wear the watch every day and I really feel naked without it. Plus I'm not constantly looking like a bored jackass, constantly pulling my phone out of my pocket to see what time it is. I also feel pretty confident that when I do make the jump into the smartwatch field that I'll actually wear it and get my money's worth, because still, $200-$300 is still a decent price for a any good watch, let alone a smartwatch.
  • There's a lot of people who use their phone as their watch and I never did get that. Seems like a whole lot of trouble to go to just to see the time. A watch just has to be easier. It also seems like the person is to cheap to buy one although I know that isn't always the case either (my daughter for example). Like a lot of things, it's just a matter of habit.
  • A watch is the only jewelry a man should wear. I would never trade my manual and automatic watches against a smartwatch. Dresscode aside - a real watch will keep its value over years and decades and I don't need another soon to be outdated thing other than my smartphone.
  • I still love regular watches. They just look so classy and for me is the reason I am not going to jump on the smart watch craze yet. Plus not having to worry about battery is another perk.