Watch Experiment

For a couple of years now, I have worn an Apple Watch. Through my current journey of letting go, I have started to wonder if I need it. I have heard it asked by others, “why do I need a watch when I carry a phone around with a clock on it?” I believe this question is especially true for a minimalist.

I can rationalize anything. In the case of the Apple Watch, I can list the all the things I use it for on a daily basis as a means to avoid having to think about letting go of it (which I will do in a moment while attempting to refute them). As a person who came from an unhealthy obsession with men’s style, my tendency is to view a watch as a necessary accessory. As a person with an art degree, I view a watch as a visual pushing agent. For someone who dresses very plainly, the watch, in its shape, size and texture unifies the rest of the outfit by way of contrast, and offers an interesting hit on an otherwise unremarkable outfit.

Plus, digging my phone out to check the time can sometimes be a pain in the ass.

For now, I’ll list what I use my Apple watch for, and why those might not be compelling reasons to hold on to it. Then, I’ll explore my alternatives.

Tracking movement/exercise

In no other area of my life am I a “numbers guy.” I could care less about metrics and statistics. Why, then, do I give a shit how many calories I burned, steps I’ve taken, or distance I’ve run all week? I’ve journeyed toward health enough to know what an appropriate amount of exercise looks like for me.

Listening to music on my runs

There have been times in my life where I have been almost prideful about not listening to music when I run. Why, all of a sudden have I manufactured the need to have some sort of noise in the background? I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable being alone and quiet. What better time than during a run to get lost in my own thoughts!

Telling the time

What an expensive way to do such a utilitarian thing. Really, as a minimalist, if I was going to wear a watch, I feel like the watch should just be a watch. Plus, as stated before, my phone can do that. Hell, at home I have smart speakers that I can ask if I really need to know what time it is.

Reading messages

As I simplify my life, I have taken deliberate steps to remove distractions. I deleted my Facebook account, I removed the ability to easily read news on my phone. I removed iFunny. I’ve even turned off email notifications. Besides texts, which I can still look at on my phone, what on earth is so important that I need to read it on my wrist? Are texts really even that important? Plus, constantly twitching to look at my watch makes people think I’m being overly time-conscious, like I’m looking for a reason to end our conversation.

So maybe I don’t need my Apple Watch. What should I do instead?

I still want to have a watch. Even with a drastically simpler wardrobe, I still like clothes. I still want that visual push a watch provides. Also, my part time job is VERY time-centric, and I’m not allowed to bring any sort of smart device into where we do business. Having a watch is important to me, and definitely adds value. The question now is, what watch should I wear?

Three years ago, as a gift from my company for 10 years of service, I received a stainless steel Seiko watch emblazoned with our company’s logo. Two days after I got it, it stopped working – turns out, the battery died. Yesterday, I got the battery replaced, and had a couple of links removed from the bracelet since I weigh 70 pounds less than I did when I got it. It seems to be an accurate timepiece. I don’t think it is a very expensive watch, and it doesn’t have any bells and whistles. It is simple and elegant. The perfect minimalist watch (what an oxymoron).

If I am holding on to any sentimental items at all these days, it’s ones that really mean something. This timepiece commemorates my time spent at a place I where love working. My employers are kind and generous, my work is enjoyable, and I’ve never once have dreaded coming to work. Our company is responsible for the critical infrastructure for seven counties in our state, and I get play a big part in that by ensuring we have the technology that best enables us to fulfill that role. That’s a hell of a lot more meaning than my smart watch which will eventually fade into obsolescence as the next new-fangled gadget eclipses it.

For the next 30 days, I will live without my Apple watch, and instead wear my 10 year watch from work. I bet I won’t miss it, and if I don’t, does anyone want to buy an Apple Watch?

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