I Have Never Worn a Watch

Sir Ken Robinson remarked in his indelible TED Talks a few years ago that his daughter saw no reason to wear a watch. As he stated, “My teenage daughter doesn’t wear a watch. She says, ‘It’s a single-function device, how lame is that?”

The audience roared.

watchI agree.

I have never worn a watch.

Ever.

Well aside from that Goofy watch when I was a wee tot.

To me, watches are a bit like children attractions in Las Vegas. What’s the point?

Given mobile phone penetration is near 90% in the Western world, isn’t it time we gave up our watches? Wouldn’t we be doing the environment a favour if we refrained from purchasing new watches to adorn our wrists? Seeing as the use of mobile phones isn’t likely to be diminishing anytime soon, nor is our passion to upgrade, perhaps we can assist Earth by foregoing the purchase of watches.

I might provide clemency to runners, cyclists and athletes who require watches to time themselves, but do we really need watches in this the age of digital device timekeeping?

I’m on the watch. Go watchless.

Yes, even in spite of Apple’s alleged plans to bring to market iWatch.

Comments

  1. Marie-Louise Collard says

    This made me laugh a lot. Watches still do sell (as accessories rather than timekeepers) and I’ll be intrigued by iWatch!
    Nevertheless none of my three children wear watches or desire one, my husband has attempted them over the years but they have all broken within a year and mine just fell off my wrist two years ago (without me noticing) – and I never thought to replace it. Time is available everywhere you look – and when on holiday who wants to know the time?
    Thanks

  2. says

    I read this more as a metaphor than a command, and I tend to agree with the metaphor. Even when most people did wear them, in many settings the more multifunctional the watch, the higher the gadget-geekery.

    You’ve touched on a transformational shift, one that Stewart Brand (not surprisingly) noticed years ago when personal computers were things of wonder and not just appliances with chips:

    “We have only another decade or so of carrying on about computers as the big new bad/good thing. They’re about to disappear from view the way motors did. Engines were cause for wonder and speculation when they ran ships and railroads. Nobody called the automobile or truck a personal railroad, but that’s what it was, and people still were impressed. Then motors got smaller and disappeared into lawn mowers, refrigerators, toothbrushes, wristwatches, and nobody…speculates now about what motors will become or worries much about what they are doing to human dignity or economic inequality.”

    I do have a wristwatch, a nice one that was a gift from my wife. I realize as I read Marie-Louise’s comment that it’s become an accessory–and, like a silk necktie, one that I very rarely wear.

  3. says

    @Marie-Louise – yer right. I hadn’t thought of watches as ‘accessories’ or ‘jewelery’ … goes to show how much of that I wear. ;-)

    @Dave – thanks for resurfacing Brand’s piece. A for Awesome. Don’t get me started on ties. :-)

  4. says

    Interesting read Dan that made me smile. Brand’s piece is a good reference too. Still, I love wearing ties (when I get the chance these days) and my watch is the first thing I put on in the morning. I could dream up rationalisations, but the real driver is habit with a dash of emotion (I feel good in a tie, the watch is a treasured present from my wife). Sadly neither of my children cares for watches, but my daughter loves to wear ties when she dresses up. I’m holding on to that.

  5. Denise says

    Funny you would write about this because of how long it took me to realize your stance on watches – three or four watches later. Interestingly, our children are not into watches either. I, however, still use mine as a running timer and an accessory. Can you buy me the iWatch please? ;)

  6. says

    @Donald – I have 50 ties, love them … and wear them for fancy occasions but almost never for work. I’d probably wear a time piece, hanging out of my suit pocket, paying homage to a calmer time in our history but probably not a watch.@Denise is right … none of our three goats care for watches either … but they all wear ties. (private school :-) ) And no Denise, I can’t fathom another ‘i’ device in the house.

  7. Owen says

    Never wear a watch at work, it stops two things IME, clock watching, and poor time planning. Without a watch you need to have a feel for how long half an hour actually is, and you gain a real understanding of what exactly can be achieved in that amount of time….

    I have a watch (a few in fact) that I wear to appease the societal norms at functions.

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