Smart watches… even the name annoys me. There are however, a league of (more profound) reasons why we do not cover such wrist ornaments on Monochrome. Of course we get questions from our readers asking why we have not reviewed the ref. 5396 Patek Annual Calendar, and rightfully so. We should have reviewed that watch, and as soon as we find a way to do so, together with the 178 year old family-owned brand from Geneva, we will. I’m actually surprised though, that we hardly get questions about smart watches, very pleasantly surprised in fact! So let my rant about these little electronic wrist devices begin.
I started Monochrome 11 years ago to share my passion for beautifully made mechanical timepieces. The history of watchmaking in general, the history of certain brands, the beauty of finishing, and specific complications were all things that I wanted to share with our readers. And that’s what we are still doing today, 11 years later, albeit with a bigger team and a much bigger audience. To me, passion for watchmaking has nothing to do with a quartz/battery powered wrist ornament. Passion for watchmaking has everything to do with the beauty of a fine mechanism performing an almost perpetual dance of gears, levers, cams, and springs, in order to tell the time as precisely as possible.
The Patek Philippe ref. 5327 Perpetual Calendar that we will review soon
Over the past 16 years I have spent a lot of time learning more about this fascinating world of watchmaking. And in all those years I have never, ever, worn, or even tried, a so-called smart watch. I have no knowledge about the Android Wear 2 that is in the latest Montblanc Summit smart watch, and in the latest TAG Heuer Connected Watch, and probably in many more. I wouldn’t know. I also have no knowledge of Android Wear 1, or the OS that Apple installs on the Apple Watch.
I can’t feel the same passion for an operating system, as I feel for a superbly finished beveled edge of a chronograph bridge, a stupendously beautiful polished angle on the bridges of Gronefeld’s watch or the insanely beautiful architecture of the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph.
The Apple Watch… To me, a wrist computer, not a watch.
Furthermore, that space on my wrist is reserved for something that stirs my passion. Not for something that beeps, buzzes and blinks to attract attention for emails, text messages, Whatsapp, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, my calendar and so on. My phone does all these things and I can choose to turn it off, to keep it in my pocket or to put it on the desk. My choice.
The Montblanc Summit and the TAG Heuer Connected 45, two examples of smartwatches made by respectable watch brands
Smart watches are anything but smart, but hey, I hope that is clear enough already from my rant. I hope this personal view on “smart watches” will not have put you off, and you will keep enjoying our stories. We’ll keep doing our best to bring you stories in our unique, ‘Monochrome’ way (meaning long, in-depth, historical and borderline educational) about beautiful mechanical time-telling devices that can be worn on the wrist.
Enjoy reading Monochrome! Frank Geelen, Founder and Editor-in-chief