By Steve Lundin, Cultural Analyst and Author, “The Manipulator: A Private Life in Public Relations (Volume I)”
I got my hands on my first Rolex when I graduated from college, after securing a job at a small advertising agency producing TV commercials. Granted, it was a fake, however the name was right on the dial, and that worked for me, at the time. I was a victim of Rolex marketing, and was hooked ever since I discovered it was the watch James Bond wore. Me and about a million other rappers, wannabees, gangsters and douchebags. I was in good company. Years later I found myself writing for a watch magazine and getting paid in goods. My collection of legitimate timepieces grew, and soon I had a chest full of all the middle end Swiss brands, Rolex included. Being a sucker for watch marketers, it was no small wonder that despite my acquired snobbery, I fell for the allure of the Apple watch. That, and being assigned to write about it, which meant that my purchase would be reimbursed.
It felt weird at first. I ordered my #AppleWatch online, then trucked down to the local Apple store and moved through a series of Apple greeters towards my new gold cased, blue strapped toy. It was on my wrist within ten minutes of arriving. No white gloved hands tried to intimidate me into buying the latest mechanical Swiss marvel; my chaperones on this experience were a group of spiky haired, tattooed millennials who couldn’t tell you the difference between an escapement and a deployment strap, and would never have to. I was determined to hate it.
I couldn’t bring myself to take the hefty, stainless steel Girard Perregaux chronograph off my right wrist, so I defiantly left the store wearing two watches. I instinctively checked the time as I walked out into the night, and found the GP uncharged and unreadable. Reluctantly, I slipped up my left sleeve to look down at the ready, brightly glowing dial of the Apple. Its digital face actually looked like an automatic watch, with an evenly flowing second hand. Imposter. “I hate you,” I said to myself, trying to push aside the little tiny bit of creeping admiration for this interloper. It felt like being aroused by the Mona Lisa.
On the way home something happened that spelled the beginning of the end of my resistance: the watch rang. That’s right, a call came through. I rapidly jabbed at its face, attempting to accept it. How hard could it be – this is Apple after all! It answered, and the call routed through the watch, not the phone’s receiver, as I had hoped would happen. The darn thing worked. I was Dick Tracey with a gadget to rival Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. Now I really, really hated it.
The commitment to actually wearing the Apple grew slowly over the next few days. It started with a review of the apps, and the watch morphed into a tool. I brought it to the gym with me and tracked my running. I used its alarm, instead of the 80 decibel NASA tested alarm in the Omega X33, that had lived by my bedside for five years. I found myself reaching for it when heading out for a meeting, knowing that it would discreetly alert me to incoming emails. The dust began gathering on my Rolex, Breitling, Dodane, Ulysse Nardin, Tudor and the rest of their Swiss cousins in my safe. Ahh, the spoils of editing a wristwatch magazine! At least I didn’t have to see their glowering dials, which collectively spelled out “traitor.” Keep it up lads, and you’ll all be on Ebay by Christmas!
It has been six months since the Apple became an almost daily wear companion. And while I haven’t worn it to every “important” business meeting, it has been on my wrist more than any other watch in the collection. Its allure, for me, is its ability to track my progress through the day. If I’m walking without the watch, I feel that that I’m missing the opportunity to notch my belt with miles logged. I have gotten used to relying on its Swiss army knife collection of features, and I even sort of, kinda, maybe, in the dim light, after a few drinks, can live with the way it looks.
I have lately found myself wondering if I should have bought the gold edition, you know, the $10,000 one. But that feeling passes very, very quickly, or as soon as the Oban has run out and the coffee starts taking hold of my senses. After all, $10,000 is Daytona territory, and in ten years the Rolex is still going to hold its value while the Apple will be no more than another piece of scrap gold, with a long since depleted, and non-replaceable battery.