Tech companies don’t understand watch design

The design meetings for many smartwatches today must all go something like this:

Step 1: Choose round or square case.
Step 2: Choose leather strap for “classy” or silicone strap for “sporty.”
Step 3: Add titanium/sapphire crystal/other material for “luxury” version.
Step 4: Job done — early lunch!

What happens once the design team takes the afternoon off is we end up with smartwatches that all look very similar. Meet the OnePlus Watch, Amazfit GTR 2, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, Huawei Watch GT2 Pro, Honor MagicWatch 2, Garmin VivoActive 4S, and Polar Ignite in a dark alley, and it’ll be a struggle to tell them apart. It’s even worse if you’re a woman or someone with small wrists. The “choice” is practically nonexistent, and if you don’t want something sparkly or pink, it’s eroded even further… More here.

I note that in the article that the Apple Watch is not even mentioned and it is of course the most popular by far. I guess that is because in many ways Apple has nailed the idea of a smartwatch- the design does not try to be a real watch and is pure smartwatch throughout. At the same time it wears comfortably, the strap mechanism is brilliant and there is little doubt that it wins on the software implementation.

Almost noted is the fact that Casio has added smartwatch capability to the G Shock range rather than changing the design of the watch in any way, and that Alpina and Frederique Constant incorporate smart functionality rather than change what is already there.

Some traditional watch manufacturers get it right, Apple gets it right and the rest don’t appear to have a clue what they are doing…

2 thoughts on “Tech companies don’t understand watch design

  1. I admit that I don’t know much about watches the way you do. Looking at that list it seems that those aren’t watch companies and if so, they may not really understand watches. Apple is also not a watch company, but I imagine that either they hired some watch people to advise them, or decided to re-invent something that could be worn on the wrist. If it’s the latter, they called it a “watch” because the average consumer understands the term, even if they don’t understand the nuances. And calling it the iWrist or something like that probably wouldn’t work.

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