Article By: Logan Hannen

What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to dive into the world of the Apple Watch, and why it should be serving as a wakeup call to more traditional watch brands.

So obviously, the Apple Watch is a bit outside of our forte here at T&H, although we do have custom Apple Watch straps for sale in collaboration with Jean-Rousseau. We typically devote our time to mechanical watches (with the odd quartz option thrown in), whether modern or vintage. For us to take a dive into the world of not just technology, but tech that, in the eyes of many, is competing directly with mechanical watches. It’s a story that isn’t that hard to find someone telling on the internet these days, and it isn’t one we’re going to get into because of that. What we are going to do, however, is highlight a few things that the Apple Watch can teach more traditional brands.

Point #1: Communicating with Consumers

Apple Watch in Swimming Pool
Source: Wearables

Apple has, since the launch of the watch, been pretty damn effective at communicating directly with their consumers when it comes to the features and functions of the watch. The prime example of this is their use of the term “swimproof” to describe the watch’s water resistance. There’s no pretense, no strange having to convert bars to meters, and certainly no confusion about just how water resistant X number of meters really is in practical terms. To Apple, swimproof means exactly that – you can swim in it.

Point #2: Practicality

Apple Watch Displaying Flight Information
Source: Gear Patrol

Now look, I know that for a majority of us, we would argue tooth and nail over how practical wearing an analog (or even digital) watch is when it comes to telling the time and date. It might be inherent to why we wear a watch, it might not. Ultimately, though, they’re no longer essential, and I don’t know too many geeks who would argue that. The time is everywhere, from your phone to the neon sign outside the auto body shop up the road, and it no longer serves a sole function to wear a watch. It’s largely a status symbol, in a lot of respects, appeals to your more fashion-conscious side, or it sends the message that yes, you do care about doing some things the old fashioned way.

Whatever your reason for wearing a watch, though, it’s hard not to see how the Apple Watch has a traditional watch beat on practicality. From the weather, to workout/fitness information, to displaying freaking flight information while you wait to board your plane, the device is such a solid method of receiving useful information that it’s hard to beat. For traditional watch brands, the message here is simple – understand what both your audience and the mass market want out of you. Having dozens of Speedmaster variations is cute, Omega, but it conveys a message of confusion about what the product actually is. Honing in on what you do best, and being able to translate that to a product, is vital for every industry, but specifically in the world of watches.

Point #3: The Straps

T&H x JR Apple Watch Flatiron (left) and Type I (right)
Source: Anna Griffin

If you own an Apple Watch, you already know where I’m going with this – strap culture is very much a thing that exists. Just looking at Apple stock options alone, there are dozens of strap options that can be swapped out for your watch, giving it a new look in a matter of seconds. On the aftermarket, there are more strap variations than I can conceivably count, and they seem to constantly be producing even more. But it isn’t the options for straps that get to me. No, it’s how much Apple encourages users to swap them out and have fun with them.

Strap changes on the Apple Watch really are as simple as the press of a button (literally), and allow for some of the quickest strap changing I’ve ever seen. This is important, not because of convenience, but because of what it means – Apple wants users to play around with strap combinations. They’ve designed the system in such a way that it is so easy, you almost feel kind of guilted into doing it because they went out of their way to build in that capability. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the point is that Apple have capitalized on aftermarket customization that doesn’t inherently change the watch too much and other brands need to take note.

Alright geeks, that’s all I have for you guys when it comes to the things that traditional watch brands can learn from Apple. If any of you guys own an Apple Watch, and agree (or disagree) with any of my points, do sound off in the comments on Facebook – I have lots to say about this topic. If you are going to disagree, though, please remember to keep it classy, watchfam.