The digital age is entirely unavoidable. We live on our smartphones, work endlessly on our laptops and relax by reading a book on our iPads. And one thing that has crept into the lives of many over the last few years; smartwatches.
The Apple Watch, introduced in 2015, has proven to be a common addition to the Apple ecosystem for many people.
There have even been many stories of people moving away from mechanical watches to using the Apple Watch as their daily watch.
In some ways I totally understand this, it cannot be denied that they’re great pieces of technology. But the keyword there is technology. In effect, it’s another smartphone on your wrist.
Can smartwatches truly replace mechanical watches for the everyday gentleman or lady? Let’s find out.
Diary of Use
My connection to the Apple Watch goes back to its initial release in 2015. I was one of the early adopters, picking up the first generation almost instantly. Although it can’t compare to mechanical watches, it certainly did spark my interest in watches.
The use of the Series 1 lasted for about two years, wearing it without fail every day. Everything I loved about the Series 1 is as good or even better in the Series 6; but, since the Series 1, I moved to mechanical watches and I haven’t looked back since.
So, can the Series 6 change my mind? Is it possible, having become so hooked on mechanical watches, to go back to Apple’s smartwatch? Maybe!
What did I love about the Apple Watch Series 6?
The USP of the Apple Watch, whichever generation, is the customisability of the watch. No mechanical watch offers you the flexibility of an Apple Watch.
Some of the new straps are so comfy and well-built. I had the Solo Loop and it was so comfortable that I often forgot I was wearing the watch. It’s not too tight, nor is it too loose.
You can also change the watch faces endlessly which means that every day you could have a new face. You can even try the GMT face! The closest mechanical watch that exists is the Reverso, but even then, you only have a choice of two. So, if you’re someone who likes to change or likes to have the flexibility to adapt things depending on your mood, the Apple Watch is perfect.
This watch is fast, like Usain Bolt fast. The new processor means that this watch is over 20% faster than the last generation. And although I didn’t use the last generation, I can attest to how fast this really is.
You get ultimate usability, no lag, and no delay in apps opening, like some of the previous generations. This means that in terms of function, this is a great piece of kit. Although I didn’t go for the cellular version, the cellular version is reputed to be good enough to replace your phone. You can finally leave the house without taking a mobile phone, which is great for sport…
The Ultimate Sports Watch.
That leads me nicely to my final plus point, being the perfect companion for many sporting activities.
Although it wouldn’t be useable in contact sports, for non-contact sports like running, tennis, or golf, this is a great way of keeping track of progress, comparing your results, and really making a change in your life.
I found myself constantly checking my running stats, to see if I’ve run further or run quicker. And then again, not only about checking after but checking during.
When I was running, I was able to keep track of my pace, my distance, and my blood oxygen levels (a new cool feature). The connectivity I had between my Apple Watch, my iPhone, and my AirPods made the sporting activity a lot more enjoyable and seamless. Sadly, no mechanical watch can compare to the Apple Watch in this field.
What did I dislike about the Apple Watch Series 6?
The Apple Watch Series 1 came in two sizes, 38mm, and 42mm, offering essentially a men’s and women’s size for the first-generation sports watch.
However, the most recent iteration only comes in 40mm and 44mm, bumping both of the watches up by 2mm. On paper that may not sound significant, but for a rectangular watch this does make a big difference.
I wore the 40mm version and I really liked the proportions, but I must say that when I tried on the 44mm, it felt ridiculously large. 44mm is simply too big. So effectively Apple has gone away with “women’s” and “men’s” sizes and given the option of big and small. But for me, who has average seized wrists, the 40mm still feels large.
I can’t imagine what it would look like for someone with small wrists. I have to say that Apple, in boosting its sizes has completely ignored the smaller-wristed folk within our community. I would really like to see the next generation offer three sizes, 38mm, 40mm, and 42mm, this would encompass all types of wrist sizes. That said, for me, the 40mm wasn’t too much of a problem.
When I first wore an Apple Watch, I loved how connected I became, I never missed a message or notification, and telling me to stand whilst working was a nice touch to keep me focussed.
But, whilst wearing the Series 6, with more apps offering connectivity and notifications, the number of texts and emails I receive per day, I found it a complete distraction.
I was over-connected. I was checking my watch every five minutes, and out of all the times, I checked my notifications probably 15% or 20% of those notifications were actually important.
I found myself checking my phone more often, to read, for example, the News notifications or to review how many steps I had done. Okay, every now and again this is a nice break, but it does become too much after a while.
You’re probably thinking put Do Not Disturb on or curb your notifications and yes this is a solution, but then, in my opinion, the Apple Watch loses its main purpose; connectivity.
I do think this is a very personal point and it will be different for each person but I found it quite annoying going from no pinging on my wrist to constantly pinging.
It’s not mechanical.
Maybe this is an obvious point, but it’s so true! The Apple Watch doesn’t offer the feeling of a mechanical watch. Wearing a mechanical watch offers a great feeling. Whether it be the ritual of winding your watch in the morning, reminding you of a special memory, or simply the pride you get from wearing it day-to-day, the Apple Watch has none of this.
The closest “mechanical watch feeling” is the new GMT watch face. That said, it doesn’t feel like a true watch, it feels like a small phone on your wrist.
If you’re going from mechanical to digital, you’re going to notice a hefty difference. However, this point is less relevant for those who are Apple Watch users already (in fact this is the closest you’ll get to mechanical, with an Apple Watch). That said, it is a seismic shift going from mechanical to digital.
So, the overall verdict?
Personally, I would use this watch only for sporting events and maybe on the odd day when I’m needing to pick up an important email or call.
Apart from that no amount of customisability or any S6 chipset can take me away from mechanical watches.
In all honesty, the added connectivity provided by the Apple Watch was too much for my personal lifestyle.
That said, it may prove useful for someone else’s, each to their own. This watch in my opinion has two purposes; a sports watch or an everyday watch.
By every day I mean you have to wear it literally every single day. If you have a mechanical watch this probably won’t do anything for you. If you can, however, justify £400 on a sports watch, that you wear one time per day and don’t wear often, this is a great watch.
With the Apple Watch, though, you kind of have to go all or nothing. Either wear it every day or not at all. It’s a brilliant piece of technology, but not a brilliant watch. It doesn’t have the feel of a mechanical watch.