The history of the wristwatch is courted by legends. Making the time wearable - with the pocket watch even in the 1700s - was initially revolutionary, but putting the time on the wrist in the early 20th century was viewed by some as a fad. The Atlantic traces the wristwatch's enduring power to the military requirements for soldiers to have the latest "wearable technology" of the time during WWI.
Now, over a hundred years later, with technology that has come a long way and lifestyles that have changed since the watch's inception, it is pertinent to ask the question: are today's young people still interested in the wristwatch? Does Generation Y wear watches?
Today, wearing a watch is a personal choice. Those who choose to wear a watch do so out of desire rather than necessity.
A personal object
While millennials are usually portrayed as electronics enthusiasts and social media devotees, the Instagram era has ushered in a renaissance in cultivating personal style. There are many millennials who wear a watch for the sophisticated and cool look of the simple, graceful accessory - a way to complete one's personal style. While the idea of a wristwatch is classic, there are many different styles, so the specific choice is highly individual and has the potential to be a real character statement and define one's personal 'brand'. For example, some Mondaine wearers describe their style as clean in appearance, with thoughtful details, or understatedly bold, to name a few. Many of our clients are young graphic designers, architects, artists, bloggers, designers and those involved in the visual arts. They choose a Helvetica or SBB style as part of their complete look.
Ironically, the wristwatch has become a truly timeless piece. A clean, well-designed timepiece on the wrist evokes world travelers in crowded train stations, journalists working to meet an important deadline, and motivated graduates eager to pursue new careers. All of these scenarios imply a concept of time as an integral part of a passion rather than a liability. The wristwatch reminds us of the nostalgic determination and sense of connection of a time when the world was moving, but not too fast and in only one direction: forward.
As the phone and technology continue down the path of accustomed ubiquity, there are still circumstances and situations when they are better off staying away. Generation Y, many of whom were raised with personal devices as part of their entire lives, know better than anyone the need to be there for a personal connection. A quick glance at the watch to see how much time is left for lunch with a colleague before the next meeting doesn't disrupt the flow of conversation in the same way that pulling out your smartphone does—which inadvertently causes you to Checks all reports and answers messages - makes. Even when living in the now, checking the time is a necessity to get the most out of the day and keep track of time without wasting it.