Luddite I am not. If there’s a man skipping and hopping, queuing up for the next all-dancing piece of gadgetry, he’s behind me in the line. This said, there’s no less flamboyant a way to say it. The Apple watch is released today. No, I have not ordered one online. Yes, I have been to the Apple store in Opéra and ‘asked’. Am I going to wait for up to two months to get one? Um, on balance, no.
I like discreet, well-made objects. Not uncommon, which is why there are queues outside Louis Vuitton. I have expensively understated wee trinkets that I write with, amongst other things and every time I reach for one, I both hate myself for succumbing to high end advertisement and love the feel of a well-made artefact which actually does something useful. Ownership of such objects make us feel that we are important, more important than we actually are. Statesmen sign treaties with black and gold writing instruments – not ballpoint pens – I write shopping reminders, but the act of twisting that little cap a quarter turn reassures me that I too am about to perform an action which is affirmative and, for me, life changing, in the sense that whatever is listed determines what I eat, wear or even read.
How drearily trivial. So why am I so tediously old-school – I do rather like the phrase – why am I prepared to resist the blandishments of the advertising behemoth that is Apple and at which I have been remarkably unsuccessful in the past? Put another way, why do I prefer the quiet, efficient ticking of a beautifully made mechanical watch, a single, tiny precession every quarter of a second, when I could have something from Star Trek on my wrist? Because I don’t think it would do me any good. I keep my iPhone in a small pouch, not necessarily to protect it from wear and tear in my pocket, but just to make it that little bit less easy to get out and do any one of a million somethings with, most of which are nothing more than random noise masquerading as entertainment. Watches are deeply personal pieces of functional jewellery and the fact that mine only performs one function very well is part of its attraction. Also, the Apple device is battery powered and vibrating quartz ain’t so chic to folk of my generation. To save battery life, the watch goes dark when it ‘thinks you’re not looking at it’. I find that quite scary. To turn it back on, you have to shake the device with enough momentum to, in Apple’s words, “Activate on Wrist Raise”, put another way, a spastic jolting gets the thing going again which doesn’t look good in meetings. In other words, develop a whole new, somewhat counterintuitive gesture to make the thing do what it was designed for when a real watch requires nothing more than a discreet downwards glance and a raised cuff. In any event, an iWatch can’t ‘beam me up’ anywhere. Yet.