One of the greatest features of the modern cell phone is that it can contain countless features and tools in one small package, and because most people nearly always have their cell phone on them it means they have access to all of those features almost all of the time. The cell phone is great in a lot of ways; it can definitely fulfill a lot of needs in your average day. One area I want to focus on currently is whether or not a cell phone properly replaces a watch. For the sake of this discussion I am going to break watches into their two most broad designs, pocket watches and wrist watches. There are of course an absolute ton of different distinguishing factors when describing a watch but for now I just want to consider whether you wear it on a wrist or carry it in a pocket. That being said, I personally have no experience with pocket watches but rather have worn a wrist watch for years. Despite this, most of what I am going to cover based on wrist watches can be applied across the board.
First, a little bit of history on my watch wearing habits. I have worn watches since before I was a teenager. I can't remember exactly when I started consistently wearing watches but its been a while. The majority of my watches have been gifts, primarily from my father, so I tend to attach sentimental value due to the history. I own a variety of watches in different styles, which gives me flexibility in what I want to wear. I own a few digital watches primarily constructed from silicone. I also have a couple metal banded analog watches I received from my father that I save for more formal occasions because I tend to scratch watches easily. I have a really nifty little wooden analog watch on a cloth band. Unfortunately, it is naturally brown, which limits what I wear with it. The last watch I want to mention is an old Fit-Bit I bought second hand. I really wanted to like it and I am fine with the overall design, it is just that it wasn't in the greatest of shapes when I bought it and degraded quickly. I do actually have a few more watches but they are mostly from my childhood so they do not fit anymore. As you may have noticed from my EDC pictures, I wear my digital watches most days. Obviously, I can read an analog clock but I prefer these cheaper digital ones because they don't have nearly as much sentimental value and are more easily replaced. They are also a little more versatile for my taste and blend in nicely.
Now that you know a little bit about my habits I want to look at the pluses of wearing a watch.
First and foremost, for a lot of people a watch is a fashion piece, its an accessory. Even if you don't think about "fashion" very often, this is still a fact. A good watch can easily help round out your wardrobe. By no means do I want to go out and buy a bunch of super high end watches but the ones I do have offer a variety of options depending on what I have going on. In addition for myself, when I don't have a watch I don't feel complete. I'm not super into jewelry but there are three things I wear almost every day; my wedding band, necklace, and a watch. Anytime I realize that I forgot to put on my necklace or watch I feel incomplete the rest of the day. It just feels right to have on a watch in my opinion.
Next, in my opinion pulling out your phone to check the time feels incredibly rude. I don't get offended if in the middle of a conversation the person I am talking to checks the time on their phone, but it does catch my eye. That action tends to give the impression that the conversation isn't important. That being said, one could argue that checking your watch for the time gives the same impression, and I would argue that it depends on how you conduct yourself. For one, checking your watch can be very discreet and quick, provided you can easily read it. It doesn't take much effort to glance at your wrist without interrupting the conversation. In addition, if you are checking your watch it is clear you are just checking the time. On the other hand, pulling your phone out of your pocket and turning it on could give the impression that you might be doing other things like texting, checking messages, or any of the other features your phone adds to your life. Take that all with a grain of salt because if you are checking the time every five minutes whether it is a watch or phone is not going to make the distraction feel any less inconsiderate.
Another idea to consider is that a watch can make you feel connected to a tradition. Like I mentioned several of my watches were gifts and the fact that I picked up this habit from my father helps me to feel connected. For some people this may not be a big deal but for others there may bee real value here.
The last area I want to cover are the different features a watch can offer. Most of these are going to be dependent on more modern digital and smart watches, but eve some older designs go beyond just the time of day. Many watches include the time of day which for me is almost a requirement. (The replacement watch I wear mostly does not have this feature unlike the model before which drives me insane). Some watches contain features like an altimeter, or a compass. Then you have fitness trackers that monitor your body and smart watches that are basically phones on your wrist. Many of the features that these newer watches offer work in conjunction with a smart phone. Even those options that are essentially duplicates are now conveniently on your wrist while many features are completely dependent on the watch.
Those are my main reasons for wearing a watch. While I feel incomplete without a watch I know countless people who never wear one. Watches can be a very personal and individual item and everyone has their reasons. My biggest point here is that in this digital age where seemingly everything you could need is in one small rectangle, there should still be a place for a dedicated timepiece in you carry.