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A watch expert's take on the Apple Watch: the benefits and failures of digital

Ben Gilbert, @RealBenGilbert
September 10, 2014
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Despite Benjamin Clymer's many accolades across the past several years -- the New York Times calls him the "High Priest of Horology" -- it's possible you've never heard of his website Hodinkee. The name might not bring watches to mind, but it's actually a Czech word for "wristwatch" (technically it's "hodinky" in Czech). The site's established itself as a go-to source for wristwatch obsessives, and Clymer's its executive editor, which is exactly why we were so interested to read his thorough dissection and impressions of Apple's first ever watch: Apple Watch.

In a lengthy piece (that we suggest you read in full), Clymer begins by setting expectations: "I'm not even sure we can call it a watch." That isn't to say he doesn't like Apple's effort, but comparing it directly to a traditional, mechanical wristwatch is near impossible.

Gallery: Apple Watch hands-on | 15 Photos

Compared with similarly priced ($350) watches, Clymer says, "the Apple Watch simply blows away anything -- digital or analog." He also notes that Apple Watch pays special tribute to the history of human time-telling. "The Apple Watch, in its own way, really pays great homage to traditional watchmaking and the environment in which horology was developed," Clymer writes.

In terms of major faults, he cites two thoroughly watch-centric issues: not being able to fit easily underneath a cuff ("I was surprised by how bulky this is") and lack of timelessness ("It is still not as cool as a mechanical watch, to real people."). That latter bit is especially interesting. In the video seen below, Clymer speaks to how he got into watches: his grandfather and him were great friends, and on his 16th birthday, his grandfather gifted him a watch. As he puts it, "My watches will last for generations, this Apple Watch will last for five years, if we're lucky."

Again, take the time to read the whole enchilada from Clymer himself on Hodinkee. It's a thoroughly interesting perspective on Apple's newest product category.

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