The Apple Watch is a smartwatch by definition — but that’s not how Apple is promoting it.
Since the Apple Watch’s unveiling in September, the company has been saying that its primary purpose is to tell the time — not cram a bunch of features from your smartphone into a smaller device on your wrist.
That’s evident in the way it’s been marketed, too — ads for the watch got a full 12-page spread in Vogue’s March issue. It’s been shown off at fashion boutiques in Paris. And, Apple is heavily promoting the craftsmanship behind the watch on its website.
But the Apple Watch may not appeal to the crowd that typically buys high-end mechanical watches. Roger W. Smith, a watchmaker that’s been creating high-end mechanical watches for 25 years, thinks the Apple Watch is “bland.”
“For me, a watch is very different,” Smith, who was named as one of the best watchmakers in the world by The Wall Street Journal, tells Business Insider.
Smith says he cares about factors such as who made the watch and its style and character.
“To me, I just find an Apple Watch a bit bland really,” he says.
Smith explained what makes a mechanical watch more attractive than a watch like the Apple Watch to his clients.
“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.”
Mechanical watches like the ones that Smith makes also have a longer lifespan than the Apple Watch likely does. According to Smith, his watches can last at least 100 years.
“It’s just a completely different philosophy,” he says.
Smith isn’t the first Swiss watch expert to make such comments about the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Benjamin Clymer, the founder and executive editor of luxury watch site Hodinkee, wrote for The Verge that those shopping for high-end luxury watches care more about the materials used in the watch and how much time it took to make it.
Clymer did add, however, that the Apple Watch has a lot of potential to compete against low-end watches that don’t pay as much attention to craftsmanship and detail.
While Smith thinks the Apple Watch is “very good,” he doesn’t think it could ever compare to a high-end Swiss mechanical watch.
“It will never have that mechanical connection,” he says. “You can’t compare them; I think it’s impossible.”
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