Apple Watch: inconvenient truths

I was shocked at how small and slight the Apple Watch felt on my wrist. I’m a larger guy (6’ and built like a linebacker who retired and got a little fat) and when I tried the 42mm Apple Watch Sport on, I thought it was the 38mm. I thought it was tiny and there was some mistake. It is the smallest watch that’s ever been on my wrist.

But wait! The 42mm Apple Watch isn’t that small, right? I mean, it’s 42mm and lots of mens’ watches are around 40–44mm nowadays. Here’s the problem with that, and I think Apple has put a little marketing smoke and mirrors into play here.

Most watches are round. When a manufacturer says that their watch is 42mm, it’s the diameter across the case of the watch. Depending on the exact type of watch, it’s usually 42mm all the way around. However, when Apple says that the Apple Watch is 42mm, they’re measuring it from top-to-bottom. From side-to-side it’s only 35.9mm wide which is tiny in the world of men’s watches and actually closer to a woman’s watch size. Here’s a true-to-scale comparison between the 42mm Apple Watch Sport and some other popular men’s watches.

The article above includes some revelations which you may not have thought about before, but it does shed light on some potential problems. For me, a watch that is only 36mm wide will feel absolutely tiny compared to what I am wearing now and it had not occurred to me that the rectangular shape would cause this. 

If you are considering an Apple Watch, you would do well to read the whole thing and even better, take a visit to your local Apple store to see how it looks and feels to you. It would appear that the watch is not like the iPhone, iPad and Macs in that it doesn’t get better in comparison to the marketing shots when used for the first time. The opposite appears to be true.

As a comparison, my Hamilton Automatic (above) is 42mm. I just can't imagine shrinking the width to 36mm.
As a comparison, my Hamilton Automatic (above) is 42mm. I just can’t imagine shrinking the width to 36mm.

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