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Do we really need watches?

Even before I publish this, I know that this one’s going to be controversial. Think about it this way – I questioned the existence of one of the rare accessories that men even carry in this day and age. Of course, women have their make-up kit, purses, shoes, hair-clips, tiaras, scarves, jewellery, nail art, face art, and nearly fifty other things that, as a man, I probably should be clueless of! But men? We only have our watches, our wallets, and everything else that James Bond wears while saving the world.

Goes without saying that unlike Bond’s, most of our accessories are just that – accessories. No exploding bombs, no laser beams, and no glass cutters. How boring.

Anyway, what I meant to say is that questioning the utility of watches for men is as good as questioning the usefulness of clouds in the sky. But even then, I will probe further into this topic, because unlike the Omega flaunting MI6 agent, I have never worn a watch by choice. And now, I am sure that you are intrigued about the occasions where someone FORCED me to wear one, for some reason? I’ll tell you in a bit.

Let me first explain why do I not wear a watch.

I spent my entire childhood life, oscillating between school, home and the playground, all of those locations connected by a pre-defined route and a schedule that did not waver. The wall clock informed me of the morning bus, the school bell rang the journey home, and mum’s bellowing voice was all the alarm I needed to know that playtime was over.

I had to look up the meaning of ‘bellowing’ to ensure that I only had a slight chance of being yelled at this weekend. Wait, on second thought, let me change mum’s ‘bellowing’ voice to mum’s ‘resounding’ voice. Sounds more positive.

Anyway, by the time I was off to college, phones had become commonplace. So once again, I did not find any use for a wristwatch. Subsequently, I gave up on the concept of watches altogether, because, after eighteen years of avoiding them, they almost felt alien to my skin. I have a similar aversion to moisturizers, but let’s save that for a different spiel, shall we?

So that’s about why I don’t wear watches.

But interestingly, this resurfaced a few months ago, when Apple released its newest Watch Series 6. Having shifted to an iPhone over the past few weeks, my mind started loitering in the direction of digging myself deep into the Apple graveyard.

Others call it the ‘ecosystem’, but I kinda die from within when I see the credit card bill at the end of the month! So graveyard it is.

So to temper my expectations, I tried my wife’s Apple Watch, and I immediately recollected why I absolutely disliked watches! But do we need them? Obviously, for the sake of this discussion, let us not consider ‘smart’ watches because however ‘watch-like’ they may be, people rarely use them to look at the time! Most folks are only bothered about their activity rings, the Whatsapp pings, and whatever the suggestion that Siri sings.

Note – Have you noticed the slight melody in Siri’s voice when she talks? It is almost as if a Tamilian decided to switch their accent over to American, but left the superfluous throw of words intact!

It’s settled then. Today, we definitely do not need a watch to tell time. So then what are some of the other uses that a non-smart-watch may serve? At first, none come to mind, but as I said, I’ve given this some thought.

Alternative use #1

To drop a hint. Watches are the best way to let overly chatty and obnoxious people know that you have a life outside of hanging to their every single word. A couple of glances at the watch are enough to make the person in front of you volunteer to step away! In fact, you end up being the sweet person who actually apologizes for running short on time.

Fun fact – I wonder what sort of mixed signals smartwatch owners send to people, when they look down at notifications, mid-conversation. P.S. I know the answer. You see, I may have deliberately messaged someone back to back whilst they were conversing with someone, only to check their actions and the subsequent response from the other converser.

Alternative use #2

To gift. This one is the stupidest reason to wear a watch, but trust me on this. Gifting something to a guy who does not wear watches, is almost ten times as difficult just because every other accessory is so utilitarian! True story, ask my wife. And the best part is that a watch doesn’t always need Swiss precision! All you need is good Swiss branding, and you’re golden to gift.

Another fun fact – Did you know that Swatch actually stands for Second Watch because the line was intended to be full of casual secondary watches that could be used and changed frequently for fun! That’s right. Five thousand rupees a pop, to use and discard! Only the Swiss can think so flamboyantly.

Alternative use #3

To pass down. Well, this one’s not that stupid. Lookup any family-oriented sentimental movie or book, and you’ll see that the protagonist usually inherits a broken or unbroken watch from his dad. That usually defines the emotional link between generations, and honestly, that stuff works in real life too. I still remember wearing my grandfather’s watch to my board exams, which was the ‘forced’ watch scenario that I mentioned earlier in the post. But honestly, that had felt… nice… quite different.

On the contrary, would you imagine the sort of reaction you’d get from your son if you passed down your phone from 2005 to him? Yeah, you’ve got a better chance of passing down a Nintendo or an Xbox whatever-was-their-naming-convention-that-year.

Would you look at that!

We set out to question the use of watches, and instead found three use-cases that have nothing do with time! Well, the pass-down bit is sort-of loosely connected to time, but not in the same sense.

Nevertheless, the pertinent question that remains is this – will I buy the new Apple Series 6?

Well, no. Let me put it this way. If I DID decide to buy a watch, I’ll most likely go down route #3 and buy something that my kid would be proud to wear one day. Because one way or another, they’re going to wear a watch to their board exams, right? And guess which watch will that be!

Not a Swatch, I tell you!

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