I've been using an Apple Watch since Series 2. I actually wondered when I purchased it and found my old invoice. It was in April 2016. So, it's a platform I've been wearing for the past seven years. Of course, I replaced my original Series 2 with several newer releases—notably Series 4, Series 6, Series 7, and finally Series 8. Expect the Series 7; all of them were Stainless Steel. Hence, I upgraded to Series 8, as I wouldn't say I liked the screen and materials of the Aluminum version.
Wearing a "smart" watch for so long has benefits and downsides. I recently collected all my Quartz watches lying around and replaced their batteries to wear them again. And since then, I haven't worn my Apple Watch for the past four weeks, as I wanted to see how it would shape my day-to-day life.
Why I like the Apple Watch
My initial reason for getting the Apple Watch was because of my hearing aids. I'm partially deaf, and hearing, unless other illnesses, doesn't get better. You can stop it. All you can do is to improve your hearing slightly with hearing aids. So, wearing an Apple Watch has several benefits for people with hearing disabilities. The most obvious is that your wrist vibrates if someone calls you. I would miss calls from my parents or partner several times. The Apple Watch was a godsend because of that.
However, with time, my hearing aids became also better. The latest one (which I bought in 2019) can now connect to the iPhone directly, allowing me to hear the ring call in my ears. So, I no longer relied on the Apple Watch's notifications.
But with time, I started to like other features of the Apple Watch. I could immediately see the temperature, helping me to decide what to wear when I woke up. Because I've been working remotely for a long time, I had many meetings, and the Apple Watch would nicely display my next meeting. Another great feature was showing the time of another timezone (for me, it was PDT, i.e., California). I started running, so using the Apple Watch to count my total distance also helped.
Problems with the Apple Watch
As you see, the Apple Watch has some excellent features. Hence, this article is not about ranting about it. I love it. However, I'm also having some issues with it. And lately, those have become more prominent. Let me go over these:
First of all, battery life. It has become an anxiety lately because I have been slightly off-putting my watch on the charging stand several times a month, leading to an uncharged watch in the morning. Occasionally, I would travel with my watch or go camping. I always had to think about the battery. Having something on your wrist that constantly creates an afterthought was something I disliked.
Wearing an actual watch (Quarts and Mechanical (Auto)), it's so lovely that my watches work. Not having to think about the battery was so relieving that I believe it could be the sole reason not to use an Apple Watch anymore.
The second issue I had with my Apple Watch was the constant notifications. I know you can disable it, change it, etc., but what's the point of wearing one if you never use any of those features? I tried to tweak the notifications, but it never worked as intended. Because I no longer wear the Apple Watch, I get less distracted by various things throughout the day.
Reading the time
Somewhat fixed with the always-on displays is the ability to lift/turn your wrist slightly and read the time. With my current non-Apple Watches, I can quickly read the time without weird wrist and head interactions. With the Apple Watch, even with the always-on display, it's hard to read, especially in very bright environments, because the display goes into a standby mode, where it is slightly dimmed. It just doesn't feel like an actual watch.
Apple still doesn't allow us to create custom watch faces. They want to own the whole experience. The only part that can be changed is the overpriced watch straps. However, there are so many great designers out there, and not being able to use a futuristic or classic dial makes me sad. Just imagine how cool it would be if you could use custom watch faces.
This is subjective, but wearing different watch styles feels excellent. I have several Casios, some new Braun watches, a new Automatic Mechanical watch from Nomos (more on this later), and various other Quartz watches. Most Quartz watches are cheaper than the Apple Watch, so I can buy several for a single Apple Watch. Of course, the watch world contains many expensive watches, but even those are better options because of longevity, which I'll explain in the next section.
As I said, I've been using the Apple Watch for almost seven years with various releases. And looking back, I feel bad that none of the older ones are worth wearing. Nothing makes you want to keep an Apple Watch because they are worthless the moment a new watch is released. They don't hold their value. And there is no guarantee that Apple will support old Apple Watches in two decades.
As a huge Dieter Rams fan, I think his 10 Design Principles are worth following. One of them is "Good design is long-lasting". I can't say that with the Apple Watch. This isn't reassuring because I always try to obtain long-lasting goods, especially when it comes to furniture. After all, they were created decades ago but are still in use.
If you dive into the "real" watch world, you'll see how many carry over their watch collections to their son/daughters. Watches are legacies; they carry a story behind them. I would love to give part of my legacy to my kids, and I want them to feel good about it. That's not something you can do with an Apple Watch.
However, I have to say that, they have done an excellent job so far. The first Apple Watch is still wearable, and maybe I'll be wrong and Apple will support these watches for decades. Who knows?
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What I've experienced is. The iPhone is perfectly capable of doing everything; it's so good that you wouldn't need an Apple Watch if you had it with you all the time (which is the case for me). So I'm questioning all the time if I need an Apple Watch.
I have not been using the Apple Watch for the past four weeks and discovered that I can live without it. Instead, I wear the watches that I've collected over the years. These are not luxury or expensive watches, but they are still a joy to look at. And they don't give me anxiety in the morning anymore. They work. It's a great feeling to have control over time again.
I've also recently started researching watches. It's a fascinating world. I finished the books "A Man & His Watch" by Matt Hranek and "Watches" by Hodinkee. Next up is "The Wristwatch Handbook" by Ryan Schmidt. There is so much cultural knowledge out there, and It makes me happy to learn new things. And who knows, maybe I'll have a few watches I can gift my children in the future.