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Once upon a time, watches were the best way to keep track of time. (Things like sundials and stone megaliths work, but tend to be hard to carry around.) The watches we’re familiar with evolved from pocket watches to wrist watches during World War I. Glancing at your wrist to ensure attacks were synchronized was a lot easier than pulling a watch out of your pocket.
So, yes, checking the time is the number one benefit of wearing a watch. However, there are several more benefits that may not be that obvious. This article highlights twenty surprising benefits of wearing a watch in today’s world. Read on to see a list of these benefits and to discover some wristwatch facts along the way.
What Kind of Watch Are You Wearing?
Before we jump into listing the cool benefits of wearing a watch, it might be a good idea to sort out the world of watches. It’s not as simple as one might think.
There are several different ways to classify watches although almost all of them can be grouped under either “art” or “function.” Originally considered an accessory fad for women, watches evolved to also become a fashion statement for men, exemplifying “I’ve arrived.” (Pulling out your cell phone doesn’t make quite the impression as checking your Tag Heuer watch.)
Here’s a quick tour of the world of watches (important because some of these speak to the benefits of wearing a watch, which we’ll cover in the next section.)
Classification by Watch Movement
Watches can be classified as mechanical, automatic, quartz, solar, kinetic, and spring drive. Here’s a bit more detail on each of these:
- Mechanical watches style=”font-weight: 400;”> are driven by a mainspring which provides the drive to move the hands at the proper rate. These are the “old-fashioned” watches that need to be wound to run. They’re popular with watch collectors because of the intricate gears and springs – speaking to both art and function.
- Automatic watches are self-winding, driven by the movement of the person’s wrist. These are also appreciated for the intricate mechanisms needed to keep them running.
- Quartz watches use a crystal to create a signal with a certain frequency to keep time – these watches are powered by batteries and are popular and inexpensive.
- Solar watches also use quartz crystals but are powered by any light source.
- Kinetic watches are a combination of quartz signal and power via a person’s movements.
- Spring Drive watches style=”font-weight: 400;”> are similar to kinetic, but use a Seiko proprietary mechanism to keep time accurately.
Now that you know a little bit about the different kinds of watch movements, let’s take a look at the different kinds of watch dial types.
Classification by Dial Type
A watch face can be analog, chronograph, digital, or a combination of these:
- Analog style=”font-weight: 400;”> is the classic clock with hour, minute, and second hands. And possibly a date indicator. (Note that features added to mechanical watches are called “complications” such as a date window.)
- Chronographs have multiple small dials to measure units of time, including fractions of a second. Some watches include both a and a tachymeter, using these together enables you to calculate things such as speed, distance, and even fuel consumption. All useful whether you’re driving, boating, flying, or biking
- Digital watches display the time on a screen as numbers for hours, minutes, seconds.
- Hybrid watch faces combine some aspects of all of the above.
Now that you know about the different watch dial types, let’s look at visual enhancements in watches.
The Art of Watches
Watches can also be classified by visual enhancements. Some of the classic ones are:
- A skeleton watch’s style=”font-weight: 400;”> complete inner workings are visible
- Tourbillon watches style=”font-weight: 400;”> exhibit a continuous whirling motion visible through the watch face
- Moon phase watches style=”font-weight: 400;”> change color from new to the full moon cycle
Now that we know about the different visual enhancements in watches, let’s take a look at watch functionality.
As watches evolve by leveraging technological advances, functionality becomes more and more sophisticated.
Here’s a quick take on how watches can be used in today’s world:
- Smartwatch – Yes, this is basically your smartphone on your wrist. You can handle phone calls, read text messages, set notifications, and amidst many other functions, actually tell the time. Smartwatches are synchronized via GPS to keep accurate time.
- A fitness watch is a smartwatch focused more on health-related functionality. Time and distance can be tracked when doing physical activity – jogging, cycling, and similar. Most fitness watches today also track and provide heart rate, sleep stats, and other health-related data.
- “ABC” watches style=”font-weight: 400;”> include an altimeter, barometer, and compass – all of which are important to hikers, climbers, and anyone who enjoys outdoor trekking.
Most of the smartwatches today include many of the above functions as apps – also synchronized with your phone and computer. You can use today’s smartwatches to perform just about any kind of task. Which is one amazing benefit of wearing one (more on smartwatches later.)
Wait, You Don’t Wear a Watch?
Ok, we admit to recognizing that the number of people wearing a watch has decreased over time. And that there are those of you who steadfastly refuse to wear a watch. You may even be in the “why wear a watch when I can look at my phone” group.
If so, then you’ll be especially interested in the following sections which share all kinds of benefits to wearing a watch. Read on!
Surprising Benefits of Wearing a Mechanical Watch
This section highlights the qualitative benefits of wearing a mechanical watch. There are quantitative benefits of course – you can tell what time it is, but we’re focusing on those benefits that speak to the art and function of mechanical wristwatches.
Appreciate Watches As Art
Many mechanical watches are works of art in terms of craftsmanship, materials, and design. Checking the time using a beautifully designed watch more often than not brings a smile. For example, check out handcrafted watches from this small Icelandic company and this antique pocket watch from Wakelin and Taylor.
Following up the concept of watches as art, think of this one as collecting fine art in the form of a watch. Although most of these watches are considered as luxury watches, they are also masterpieces of workmanship and are extraordinarily beautiful.
Now, let’s move on to the next benefit of wearing a watch.
Make a Professional Statement
A recent Forbes article includes this quote, “You aren’t taken seriously in business in Europe if you don’t have a good mechanical watch.” The article goes on to note deciding which watch you wear as a professional is a balancing act. You want to appear successful and tasteful in your mechanical watch choice, but not over the top. (Revisit the previous benefit in this list…)
People notice watches and there are instances in life when you want to be noticed (for the right reasons.) We’re back to that “sense of style” qualitative attribute.
That you can simply turn your wrist to see what time it is can simplify one small part of your life. No digging through your pocket or purse to find your cell phone. And once you do find it, no fingerprint scanning or access code to enable you to simply see what time it is.
There are also mechanical watches that tick loudly enough to provide a soothing cadence in the midst of a busy day. And if you really want to simply “be here now,” there’s a Zen watch to remind you to do that.
Watches can become treasured family heirlooms. For example, the watch your grandfather gifted your grandmother or your grandfather’s pocket watch. The watch your dad wore through his military deployments. Or the watch your mom wore every day as a nurse. The true value of these watches is the priceless memories they hold for you and other family members.
Watches can be great conversation starters. Especially if you have (or see) a unique classic mechanical watch. There are a host of questions that can follow (beyond “I really like your watch…”) Pulling out one’s cell phone just doesn’t have the same effect as wearing a striking watch.
A Jewelry Option
Mechanical watches can be used in pendants, pins, bracelets, and a variety of other jewelry accessories. Vintage watch necklaces and similar can be beautiful and are popular items for sale on eBay and other online marketplaces.
Watches Make Great Gifts
Watches make great and memorable gifts. Many families still have a tradition of presenting a watch to their children to celebrate graduation events. (See the end of this article for suggestions on where to shop for watches online.)
Of course, we use mechanical watches to tell the time, but that simple act can turn into an act of kindness. The next time someone asks you what time it is, add a smile as you respond.
Join a Watch Collectors Club
A surprising benefit of having an interesting mechanical watch is that you can find fellowship with others who sport the same type of watch.
There are many national and international watch clubs. There are some obvious ones, such as fans of Disney watches, but also some unusual ones like wood watch groups and clubs devoted to specific brands. There are also watch collector clubs, watch-of-the-month clubs, and many more.
A good mechanical watch can be practically indestructible, especially if it’s designed as an ABC field or military watch. Although you probably won’t take your luxury watch with you on a canoe trip, a waterproof mechanical watch will stay on your wrist (i.e., not slide out of your pocket) and will be there for reference and navigation.
Watches Don’t Put Others at Risk
How many times these days have you innocently been walking down the sidewalk only to have someone plow into you while they’re looking at their phone? Or worse, run into you on the road because they absolutely must do that text message.
It’s also rare to see two people on a dinner date staring at their watches for prolonged periods. But it is not so unusual to see people who are supposed to be interacting with each other instead of engaging with their respective cell phones.
Discover a New Hobby – DIY Watches
Explore the potential of building your own watch and you may find a lifelong hobby. Watches, especially mechanical watches, hold a particular fascination for “do it yourself” people. This leads to the unexpected benefit of building your watch.
You can potentially design and build the watch of your dreams. All you need are the correct tools, setup, interest, dexterity, and patience to follow through. There are websites where you can pick and choose customizations; in essence, building your watch. But here, we’re talking more about literally assembling and crafting your watch.
There are sites supplying the watch parts and tools you’ll need along with instructional videos on how to do it. There are also DIY watch clubs, such as this one that also includes instructions, blogs, and support from experts.
Surprising Benefits of Wearing a Smartwatch
This section highlights some surprising benefits of wearing a smartwatch. These popular watches also hold some surprising benefits for the wearer.
By the way, the word is that smartwatches won’t replace mechanical watches (for many of the reasons noted in the previous section.) But still, it’s important to include smartwatches as they also bring innovation and artistic elements to the world of watches.
What Is Considered a Smartwatch?
We’ve learned some things about smartwatches, including that you can use them like a smartphone because they have a variety of the same technological features. But, what is considered a “smartwatch”?
A watch that you interact with via a touchscreen, can be WiFi or Bluetooth enabled and offers functions similar to a smartphone is considered a smartwatch. For example, functions or “apps” such as weather, navigational aids, messaging, health monitoring, and oh – yes, displaying the time are among those included in a smartwatch.
Now, here are some surprising benefits of wearing a smartwatch
Supports Good Health
Smartwatches are a quick way to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen level, ECG (electrocardiogram), sleep, and in some smartwatches – blood pressure.
The technology behind these functions is innovative. For example, to record an ECG, a smartwatch completes an electrical circuit across your body via the back of the watch against your wrist and your finger on the watchcase, enabling monitoring of heart rate.
Tracking fitness was one of the initial draws for owning a smartwatch. It’s easy to begin and end workouts for rowing, cycling, jogging and walking. And, along the way, track the number of steps or miles. (Smartwatches can also remind you to stand and take time for relaxed breaths – two things that get bypassed with desk work. Combined with the health monitoring features, smartwatches help you remain more aware of fitness indices and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Safety for the Wearer
Smartwatches have a feature called a “drop sensor” that detects if you fall. If you don’t respond indicating that you’re ok, then your smartwatch will make an emergency call providing your location. This is invaluable for people susceptible to falls for any reason. There’s also a way to immediately call 911 using your smartwatch as well.
Serves As a Personal Assistant
Smartwatches have a host of functions that serve to support your daily activities. Starting with telling (literally) you the time, smartwatches can also be linked with your phone and schedule to remind you of meetings and other events. You can also set notifications independently of your phone.
You can also make and receive phone calls and respond to text messages on most smartwatches – which can be quite convenient if you can’t quickly access your phone. It’s easy to stay informed throughout your day with support from your smartwatch.
Cool Smartwatch Functions
In addition to what we’ve mentioned so far, there are smartwatch apps that are cool as well as useful:
- Find your phone: (if not you, someone will notice it ringing loudly…) And by attaching a device to your keys (or anything else you might lose), your smartwatch can connect and find your keys quickly as well.
- Play music: through your smartwatch, in some cases even without having your phone nearby.
- Navigate: Given pairing with your phone, your smartwatch will vibrate in sync with navigation app instructions – alerting you to an upcoming turn or similar. Cooler though is that an Apple Watch can use vibrations to indicate whether you should turn right or left as you’re walking. This is useful if you’re trying to get somewhere in a maze of city streets after parking, but more importantly, can help serve as a navigation aid for anyone who’s visually or hearing-impaired.
- IoT (Internet of Things) integration – Yes, you can even integrate your smartwatch with your home automation system giving you another way to control lights, appliances, and similar.
Art and Fashion
A quick ending note that you can easily change watch face images with a smartwatch – enabling you to go from work to sport to formal mode in an instant. It’s also relatively easy to sway out watch bands on smartwatches.
Now That You Want a New Watch
At this point, after reading all the material about several different kinds of cool watches and all the benefits of wearing one, you’re thinking – “I need a new watch!” If so, first take a look at the activities where you’ll be wearing your watch.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started (see this guide to choosing wristwatches for more details):
- Dress Watch: This is a watch you’ll wear in the evening or on special occasions. You’ll want a thin band and profile (so it can easily slip under your shirt cuff) and the band must be made of leather. Very few complications – you want this watch to be simple and stylish.
- Field Watch: This is a watch for those of you who don’t have to get too dressed up for work. Look for a smaller size and a canvas wristband.
- Dive Watch: If you’re into boating or diving then a dive watch will be an essential addition. These watches are definitely waterproof – most down to 100 meters or more.
Whatever you get, you’ll want the watch to look good on you. Be sure to get a watch case that’s not too big or too small looking on your wrist. There are style guides for watches designed for men, women, and fortunately – just watches that look good and are functional on both men and women.
You can also check out Collectors Weekly for more ideas.
Wrap-up for Surprising Watch Benefits
This article has provided an introduction and overview of the world of watches. Covering both mechanical and smartwatches, we’ve shared 20 surprising benefits to wearing a watch.
These benefits range from useful functionality to making your own personal statement via the watch you choose to wear. We’ve given you plenty of references along the way so that you can dig deeper into researching the perfect watch (or watches) for your lifestyle.
The bottom line is that watches are a statement – they communicate who you are to those around you. And, of course, they help you maneuver in the world of time and events. In other words, a good watch simply tells you the time – a great watch can do a whole lot more but knowing the time of day or night remains the best (albeit unsurprising) benefit.