The old guard of watchmakers do not seem impressed with the Apple Watch’s design in the slightest. TAG Heuer, for example, dismissed the device earlier this week as not being a “real watch,” while industry icon Jean-Claude Biver has said that the device as it looks right now cannot compete with the designs of Swiss watches. Added to this, Business Insider has scored an interview with Roger W. Smith, a watchmaker whom The Wall Street Journal has dubbed one of the best in the world and who thinks the Apple Watch’s design is “bland.”
What does Smith not like about the Apple Watch in particular? For one thing, he doesn’t seem to like the idea of smartwatches as a whole. In fact, he says that mechanical watches are the only ones that have real “soul.”
“People often sort of talk about mechanical watches having a bit of a soul and a life to them,” he says. “You can often relate it to cars. People like the sound of the engine of their cars. It’s the same with watches; people like to hear them tick, people like to see the movements in the back of the watch.”
The Apple Watch, in contrast, “will never have that mechanical connection… you can’t compare them; I think it’s impossible.”
While there have definitely been some strong arguments made in favor and against the Apple Watch, the idea that people won’t buy the device because it lacks “soul” seems odd.
By this logic, people would never have moved on from old-timey rotary phones because they should have missed the mechanical sounds being made as they cranked their dials around. In reality, of course, many people buy things based on both aesthetics and functionality and not because they have a “soul” of any kind.