In discussing smartwatches, I’m a believer that reasons and rationale matter when it comes to technology. Some consumers believe in making a case for something before they buy it, but I also believe that consumers should also make a case for why they refuse to buy something as well. When consumers weigh the reasons to buy and the reasons not to buy, the best decisions can be made. To only make the case for half the discussion (the reasons to buy alone, for example), leaving out the reasons why one shouldn’t buy it, that consumer may invest in something that turns out to be a mistake later or refrain from buying something that may be beneficial.
If Smartwatches Lack Functionality, What About Luxury Watches?
One reason consumers refrain from buying smartwatches is because of functionality: “Smartwatches aren’t that functional for me; they need to become superfunctional before I buy them,” the statement goes.
At the same time, however, they forget that luxury watches aren’t that functional either. While they have a timeless brand name that many know and love, and tell the time (even with mechanical watches) with classic quality, they only 1) look good and 2) tell the time. Many luxury watches have water resistance that makes them nearly waterproof (or waterproof for 95% of consumers), but that’s it. They don’t do anything above these two reasons, if you discount water resistance and the timeless brand name.
Smartwatches, in contrast, are more functional than luxury watches. Not only do they 1) look good (which is subjective, I know), and 2) tell the time, they also 3) give email, calendar, and text notifications, and 4) track calories, distance, exercise paths and times, not to mention heart rate. Luxury watch owners may have a watch that “goes well with a suit,” some fashion experts say, but what good is the watch when they’re out with friends going for a jog and need a smartwatch to do what the luxury watch cannot? In contrast, the LG Watch Urbane, Samsung Gear S2, Motorola Moto 360, Fossil Q Founder, and Huawei Watch, among others, look good and are “super functional” as compared to luxury watches.
Some say that luxury watches have two things going for them that smartwatches do not: 1) they look good and 2) they have a brand name. These two factors, luxury watch owners argue, make their traditional watches better than smartwatches.
At the same time, however, luxury watch owner claims should be subjected to reason, just like smartwatch claims. In the end, what good is a luxury watch if it’s “too good” to track my calories and distance when I’m walking with friends and working on my exercise regimen? Brand name matters in certain circles (fashion, for example), but fashion isn’t everything. Fashion matters, but it isn’t always the #1 qualification for success in daily activities or life in general. The college professor who gives a student a “C” on his research paper doesn’t do it because the student wears wrinkled shirts to class or has a strand of hair out of place.
Smartwatches are designed to be “smart,” and they’re smart where it matters most: in the things consumers do in life. Decoration and ornamentation have their place in the home, but what good is “fine China” if the dish owner never eats food on those plates? What good is a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW if I can only drive it once a week? What good is ornamentation and decoration on the wrist if that’s all it is: mere decoration?
Christmas trees mark the December holiday for many, but it doesn’t work well with reason to assert that Christmas trees are more important than keeping our cars healthy, or keeping our bodies healthy. In the same way, luxury watches look nice, but it is more important to be in good health than to be in good fashion (although it’s the goal of consumers to have both). At the end of the day, luxury watches force consumers to choose form over function, but smartwatches give both form and function because “man shall not live by form alone.”
Luxury watch owners and lovers stress that smartwatches lack functionality, but luxury watches are even less functional than smartwatches. If luxury watch owners wear watches that prize form with no function, how can they critique smartwatches that have both?