Hands-on reviews of the Apple Watch have been plentiful since the device was revealed earlier this week, and though the tech and fashion takes are important, the opinions of storied watchmakers and experts are arguably more so.
Watch writer Benjamin Clymer got one of Apple’s first wearables around his wrist for a piece in Hodinkee, and added up the pros and cons from a traditional watch wearer’s perspective.
“The overall level of design in the Apple Watch simply blows away anything — digital or analog — in the watch space at $350,” Clymer wrote, endorsing the watch’s price point. “There is nothing that comes close to the fluidity, attention to detail, or simple build quality found on the Apple Watch in this price bracket.” (RELATED: 5 Things To Look Forward To From Apple’s Watch, iPhone 6 Launch Event)
Clymer said the seamless design looks and feels more expensive than it is, and that the device is eye-catching yet laid back enough for both men and women.
“They didn’t exaggerate the options and make one decidedly male oriented at 44 mm and a girly equivalent at 35 mm or the like,” Clymer said of the varying sizes, which come in similar 38 mm and 42 mm sizes.
The writer was a big fan of the varied and customizable straps, bracelets and finishes, which give an individual owner’s watch distinction from its contemporaries in the absence of dissimilar features on the face, bezel or crown of traditional watches.
“Changing straps is one thing, but the attention to detail on the straps and bracelets themselves is downright incredible,” Clymer said. “There are so many different variations on the Apple Watch it’s hard to keep it all straight.” (RELATED: Apple Watch Unveiled At Apple Launch Event)
“No watch from Switzerland comes with this many choices of finishes, and in a world where every industry is splitting hairs (I’m looking at you, BMW 4, 6, and 8 series / and you, Audi A2, A3, A5, and A7), it only makes sense to offer the chance for people to obsess of the details.”
As for the cons, Clymer was skeptical about the Watch’s potential for broad-based appeal among high-dollar watch wearers. He also described it as a little too clunky for wearing under-the-cuff — a staple fashion statement among watch people — and lacking emotion compared to traditional watch designs.
“I believe that great design should not disrupt daily life, and a watch that doesn’t fit under a shirt sleeve is missing something,” Clymer said. “I don’t see people that love beautiful things wearing this with any great regularity.”
Jean-Claude Biver — the Swiss watchmaker who heads up luxury watch brands Tag Heuer, Zenith, and Hublot for LVMH — voiced similar complaints, and said the Silicon Valley giant made “some fundamental mistakes” in its Apple Watch design.
“This watch has no sex appeal. It’s too feminine and looks too much like the smartwatches already on the market,” Biver told Die Welt according to Business Insider. “To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester.”
Biver said that it’s the smartwatch’s trendiness that will render it out of date and memory before too long.
“Luxury always has something timeless; it’s rare and conveys prestige,” Biver said, predicting the watch to be beyond repair within a few years.
CEO Nick Hayek of Swatch — the world’s largest watch group — reportedly told Swiss media that the watchmakers were “not nervous” about Apple’s new entry into their market.