- Ever since the Apple Watch was introduced, I’ve criticized Apple’s wearable device.
- My habit was to contrast the Apple Watch with “real” watches.
- But after buying and wearing an Apple Watch Series 3 for months, I’ve completely changed my mind.
I’ve been a relatively steadfast critic of the Apple Watch. Ever since the Cupertino giant introduced its first wearable gadget, my reaction had generally been a reliable “Why?” You can consider my skepticism here. Or here. Or here.
Admittedly, I didn’t entirely dislike the idea of the Apple Watch as a timepiece – I actually pledged to buy a first-generation version, in stainless with a steel bracelet, once the prices dropped. And in the grand scheme of things, I was more excited about the Apple Watch, pre-launch, than any other device in the company’s history.
When the Watch landed, however, I wasn’t thrilled, and I mounted something of an Apple Watch resistance.
But then I experienced a moment of what one might call weakness. My iPhone conked out on me right before I had to head off to Detroit and California in succession to attend the Detroit Auto Show and undertake some Tesla coverage, respectively. The phone was under warranty, so I went to my friendly neighborhood Verizon store and obtained a new one – and gave into the salesperson’s convincing pitch to add an Apple Watch Series 3 to my plan.
“What the heck?” I figured. I like watches, and the serious watch world has been passing judgment on the Apple Watch since day one. The LTE version of the Apple Watch Series 3 also benefits from true wireless capability, meaning that you can leave your iPhone at home.
I was curious, but I also felt that the Verizon salesperson was, well, an excellent salesperson. Plus, I’ve been with Verizon for almost two decades. Sometimes, if you’re that deep in a relationship, you go with the flow.
Nine months with the Apple Watch Series 3
I’ve owned the Apple Watch Series 3 for roughly nine months at this point, and although I haven’t really even scratched the surface of its many capabilities (I just discovered nightstand mode, which lets you use your watch like a bedside clock, a few weeks ago), I’m ready to admit that everything I formerly thought about the device was wrong.
For starters, the watch has three key factors in its favor.
First, it’s an excellent and versatile watch, a worthy addition to any collection. Second, it’s quite robust. Third, it’s among the most comfortable watches I’ve ever worn, and I’m very big on watches being comfortable to wear (in my previous criticism of the watch, I’ve said it wasn’t comfy to wear, but I hadn’t worn it for very long, and as a result I was very much mistaken).
I have the 42 millimeter version in Space Gray, distinguished as an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE by its red crown. I prefer the watch in Space Gray versus stainless steel, because it makes the piece wear a bit more discreetly, and gives it a high-tech, sporty-yet-serious vibe that transfers nicely from workouts to wearing with professional clothing.
I don’t like to have a lot of watches in rotation, and my modest collection supports that. At the moment, I have three automatics and two quartz pieces, with one of the quartz watches mainly serving weekend duty.
For the first few months, I didn’t really get the Apple Watch and wore it infrequently. But then I figured I should submit it to a proper test, so I basically forced myself to wear it almost every day.
The rest of my collection immediately suffered, and it got worse when I bought a second strap. The Apple Watch comes with a fluoroelastomer band – a type of synthetic rubber – and it’s extremely well-executed, sturdy, and comfy. I got sort of bored with it, however, and started looking for a number two. After sifting through the wide, wide world of aftermarket bands and straps, I decided to stick with the mothership and bought a Midnight Blue leather loop.
At $149, this is a pricey strap. It’s also one of the nicest leather straps I’ve ever enjoyed; it put the Apple Watch right over the top for me.
For the record, changing straps on the Apple Watch is bliss. With most watches, you need to use a special tool to swap straps (or do your best with a pocketknife), which can be a fiddly operation. On top of that, I don’t really like to switch straps, unlike many watch lovers.
But on the Apple Watch, two small buttons on the underside of the watch enable you to swap straps in seconds. The leather loop is also rather innovative in its design: thin, high-grade leather is combined with an embedded magnetic-closure system to deliver an impressively precise fit. The upshot is a really good-looking package.
The ‘one watch’ scenario
So good-looking, in fact, that the Apple Watch can induce a sort of crisis.
Once I started wearing it regularly, it created the infamous “one watch” scenario. Some watch aficionados, despite having amassed big collections, often wonder whether they could simply wear one watch and call it a day. Others argue that you need two, a sport watch/everyday wearer, and a dress watch.
I know a few one-watch people, and they tend to have chosen well: Rolex Submariners or GMT Masters, Panerai Luminors, Cartier Tanks. Other folks haven’t spent as much coin but have still happily donned TAG Heuers on a daily basis. These are lifetime pieces and they can go anywhere, but essentially, they do one thing and do it well: tell time.
The Apple Watch obviously goes miles and miles beyond simply telling time. It also does this while offering fantastic build quality – my $399 Space Gray model has an aluminum case, ceramic back, and something called Ion-X glass on the face – and a substantial wrist presence.
It can hang aesthetically with high-end luxury watches that clock in at upwards of $10,000, and although the materials and the made-in-China horology won’t impress watch snobs, the Apple Watch is a truly significant piece of California industrial design that makes a strong case for itself as “the Rolex of smartwatches.”
Source: Business Insider
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