Jack Forster has been a mechanical watch enthusiast for over three decades; he’s been covering them professionally for the last 20 years. Before joining HODINKEE, he was first the technical editor, and then the editor-in-chief, of Revolution Magazine. He is also the author of “Cartier: Time Art,” a comprehensive look at the timepieces of the French design house. One month ago, he put an Apple Watch on his wrist, and hasn’t taken it off since. Nobody is more surprised than he is.
In April of last year, Apple launched the Apple Watch, with a design by Jony Ive and Marc Newson. Ever since Apple first announced the existence of the Apple Watch, there has been considerable speculation about what effect it might have on the health of mechanical horology, and whether or not it, and smartwatches in general, might actually pose the sort of existential threat to mechanical watches that quartz watches posed in the 1970s and ’80s. Having worn an Apple Watch almost exclusively for the last month, I feel absolutely confident that mechanical watches aren’t going anywhere for now. But the Apple Watch isn’t either. It’s almost improbably well done, and it shows a willingness to think creatively that ought to be heeded by the luxury watch industry – and it also suggests to me that underestimating its impact, and Apple, is dangerous.
As someone in the office said irritably,“Well, of course you can make something beautiful when you have billions of dollars.”
Whoever designed it understood exactly what packaging is supposed to do: be physically seductive, but not to such a degree that it starts to set up what’s inside for disappointment. Of course the final product has to measure up. The whole experience only worked as a sort of perfect piece of chamber music because the actual remote looks like it’s for controlling the holographic entertainment center on some science fiction aristocrat’s royal yacht.