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6 great reasons to have a ‘dumb’ watch in 2023

Ditch the smartwatch and go old-school with a dumbed down watch this year

Citizen watch on a wrist
Courtesy of Citizen

The 1970s brought us the digital watch, followed by the calculator watch, and eventually led us through the smartphone era to the smartwatch. They can do virtually everything. From helping us keep an eye on our blood pressure and sleep patterns to talking to friends like Dick Tracy, smartwatches are the tool of the future. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to always jump on the bandwagon. While it can help you fulfill your deepest Dick Tracy fantasy to speak into your watch, you can capture a wristwatch’s original purpose if you ditch it. Here are some reasons you should put your smartwatch in the drawer and dumb it down for a “dumb” watch this year.

You like the style and design of a “dumb” watch

At the end of the day, smartwatches are about function over fashion. Apple watches come in particular styles and colors, focusing more on helping you reach your fitness goals than completing your ensemble with the best-looking timepiece. The number one reason to dumb your watch down this year is to focus on style more than function.

The right watch can complete any outfit; whether it is a leather band, a metal bracelet, or a silicone band, they can elevate any look you can.

Tsuno Chrono 50th Anniversary Watch
Courtesy of Citizen

You’re an adventurer

We know what you’re thinking: If you are an adventurer, you should want a smartwatch, right? I mean, sure, you could use the heart rate monitor, weather report, and maybe even the compass app. But here is the rub — how far off the grid can you really go? You need service from your phone to use it anyway, and of course, you have to charge it. 

Better to go with a great field watch. No need to charge it, no need for a charger, and there are other ways to read the weather, find your direction, and count your heart rate. 

“Dumb” watches are investment pieces

One undeniable fact about technology is that it depreciates in value and does so quickly. Technological advances can render previous versions obsolete, whether a VCR, CD, or iPod. When it comes to Apple Watches (and other smartwatches, too), just like the newest iPhone, it will be a dead technology in a matter of months. Therefore, a much better investment will always be a traditional timepiece.

Whether you go with a dive watch, a pilot’s watch, or another luxury brand, investing in them can give you a valuable piece that will last for years to come and a family heirloom that will eventually become priceless.

Man's wrist wearing an Omega Seamaster watch
Omega Watches

“Dumb” watches are unique

The most unfortunate aspect of a smartwatch is that most on the market look exactly the same. No matter which brand or model you go with, the casing is nothing but a screen. Of course, you can download a watch face (sometimes you have to pay for them), and they can be as unique as your phone background. But the reality of the situation is that it is only ever surface deep.

With a “dumb” watch, you can get something truly rare and unique. Watchmakers are known for signature builds. Everything from seeing gears behind a transparent face to engravings from the watchmaker, these rare pieces can be conversation starters and the center point of all your outfits.

You don’t have to worry about your charger or your phone

Have you ever been out on the town, on vacation, or on a date and gotten that unfortunate and irritating notification that your phone is dying? Of course, you have — we all have. That exact problem is doubled when you have a smartwatch. If you forget to charge it, forget the charger when you go on vacation or are gone for longer than expected, your watch will likely become nothing but a wrist weight.

A traditional watch doesn’t have that problem. There are two primary ways your watch stays on time. The first is mechanical, which means you wind the watch yourself, and it is alarmingly accurate; you can buy a watch winder, but the “charge” lasts much longer than your electric. The second is automatic, the definition of convenience. Don’t worry about winding this watch; simply moving while wearing it winds it and keeps you on time everywhere you go.

Patek Philippe watches
Courtesy of Patek Philippe

You like tradition

Finally, the best reason to dumb down your watches this year… tradition. Since the moment WWI soldiers strapped a watch on their wrists in the trenches, pilots in the cockpit used them in flight, and captains on the high seas, they have been a staple of masculinity. These timeless (you know it had to be said) additions to your collection add a level of grace and elegance.

Despite what marketing and advertising tell you, you don’t need to rush out and stand in line outside the Apple store for the next big thing in smartwatches. Instead, stroll into your nearest jewelry store and invest in something that will last for years, something you can hand down to your children. Or get both. That sounds good to us, too — variety and options are good, after all.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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