By Kristen Kuron | Student Columnist
Take a moment to think when was the last time you wore a wrist watch? I remember the last time I grabbed mine was during my LSAT exam. I brought it to keep time during the exam since cell phones were prohibited, but once there I came to find that my watch was no longer in working condition. This just goes to show how obsolete watches have become in our age of technology. Instead of using an analog watch to tell time, people reach for their cell phones, computers, laptops, iPods, etc instead.
Surprisingly though, watches have yet to die off. According to recent fashion trends, pocket watches are now making a surprising comeback, thanks to the help of the ‘steampunk’ craze. According to Carol Pinchefsky from Forbes magazine, steampunk is “a celebration of Victorian fashion and technology” which emerged from a “subgenre of science-fiction writing.” The term steampunk first appeared in 1995, but was not well known until recent years. Watches—especially their inner gears—can now be considered a fashion accessory. Personal and custom designed pocket watches are available on Amazon, Etsy or Ebay.
However these watches are not used to tell time. The real question is do people who grew up with the digital clock know how to read an analog clock anymore? Or a better question, do they know what an analog clock face even looks like?
After conducting a Google search, there are plenty of worksheets and advice columns on how to teach a child to read a clock within the search results.
According to Nick Bilton of the New York Time’s Bits (The Business of Technology) Blog, many people under the age of 25 no longer recognize the silent gesture of pointing to one’s wrist to ask for the time. A gesture which was once common knowledge has now become foreign to many young members in the public.
Craig Arganoff of the Huffington Post, remarked in an article that he noticed someone using this silent gesture, yet was not actually wearing a wrist watch.
While cell phones, laptops and digital readers have taken over the stage, it is well past time for wrist watches to make a comeback. This past Wednesday, Sept. 4, Sony introduced not a new smart phone, but a smart watch! This watch doubles as a touch screen with a built-in camera and speaker. The watch will receive and display simple notifications from your smart phone like Twitter posts and other small pieces of text.
Ever afraid to lose your phone or walk away for a second in fear of missing an important communication? Ever afraid to miss that important message during class or a meeting, but feel rude pulling out your phone? Now all you have to do is discreetly check your watch without anyone noticing.
The idea of the wrist watch upgrade is the same as up-grading from a flip phone to a smart phone. Do we really need one more piece of technology that does everything? As of right now a computer can work as a camera, iPod and a phone; a phone can work as a camera, iPod and computer; and an iPod can work as a computer, camera and phone. So what is the need for so many devices instead of just one? Won’t this new wrist watch just add to the pile?
A smartwatch might be a negative form of technology in the sense it is replacable. Technology today seems to always have fifteen minutes of fame. After, a new exciting gadget of convenience hits the shelves from a company, like Apple, Sony or Dell. It seems like these new gadgets seem to be taking money out of our wallets.
Though some may think this new watch will end up as a ghost of technology’s past, this incredibly innovative wrist watch which Sony brought into the world can do all things. It is not an iPod that only plays music or a Kindle that only holds books. It has everything one needs in one tiny space which can fit in all places. Everything you need is at your fingertips and it is incredibly discreet. iPhones and iPads are both desirable, but in the matter of size, less is definitely more.
While the smartwatch could just be adding to the pile, this is the age of technology and I fully believe that our generation could never have “too much technology.” I have seen people going back and forth from devices, instead of doing everything on just one—and I am just as guilty of it. Different technologies are used for different conveniences and the smart watch will be no different if and when it catches on. As a fashion statement and a technological up-grade, wristwatches are making a come-back but not in its original context.
AP – A man shows a Sony Smart Watch II at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world’s largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Kristen Kuron is a senior English and Digital Media Arts major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.