The Apple Watch - Will Stylish Men Wear It? March 12 2015
Apple Watch Style Reviews
The Apple Watch Is Nice & All, But Will Stylish Men Wear It?Apple is hoping its latest hi-tech offering is a high-fashion hit. But will the Apple Watch get more traction than the wearable tech that has preceded it? Or will it become this generation’s novelty, something worn by early adopters and the pocket calculator crowd but not the coveted trendsetter audience? There’s something else at stake with the Apple Watch: Apple’s reputation as a cutting edge company, which has been jeopardized of late by critics who point out that Apple hasn’t introduced any new tech since 2010’s iPad. We asked some of the most fashionable menswear experts if the Apple Watch will be added to the wardrobes of the very best dressed guys.
Brian Boye, Executive Fashion Director for Men’s Health, had a first look. “I write about watches for the magazine and interview watchmakers often.Smartwatches have been a source of great debate and agitation in the industry for the past few years, and the people I work with are mostly against the idea. I’m also a watch fanatic and have huge respect for the amount of work that goes into these tiny mechanical masterpieces. But I love new technology too. And I think Apple has done an amazing job at design with their new product. I live and breathe by the apps on my iPhone. Now you’re telling me I can strap that to my wrist? When they introduced it last year I spent a few days asking myself ‘Will I or won’t I?’ I finally landed on ‘Hell yes!’ “I have my eye on the gold model with a navy strap. But that will be just one of the watches I wear during the course of the week. I usually change watches every few days, depending on what I’m doing or who I’m seeing. So when it makes sense to wear the Apple, I will. But trust me, I won’t stop wearing my Breitling Navitimer or Panerai Luminor Marina.”
Score one Apple Watch.
Alexander Sumner, co-founder of Alexander Nash agrees. “There is a movement towards a greater consciousness of the codes of men’s dress and I believe that the Apple Watch masters the intricate connection between fashion and lifestyle. Men are interested in luxury garments for every day.”
“Stylish men seek platforms for creative expression. The Apple Watch does its part to inspire men to dress up. The synthesis of a stylish man and his garb is a fluid one. Being spirited and adventurous, they express themselves without fear and I believe the Apple Watch, being classic and bold with clean lines and interesting details, comes across as unmistakably masculine.”
Bloomberg Style Director Nic Screws will be watching both Apple and traditional watch loyalists.
“I think the Apple Watch will divide the allegiances of a lot of men. So many guys who are luxury enthusiasts, and watch collectors, are also tech-savvy and Apple supporters. Usually, if you’re an Apple guy, you buy into the whole DNA of the brand, and you want to own everything they do. That’s been a lot of Apple’s success: their ability to attract and sustain loyalists. But the same is true about the watch industry; in a lot of cases, they will be competing for the same customer.
Apple wants the guy that owns an IWC Portuguese or an Omega Speedmaster and watch brands want the modern man. But I think the guy that is a little techie and is that middle of the market watch owner (Tag Heuer, Tissot, Sieko) will definitely be a first generation Apple Watch owner. Then there will be men checking it out of pure FOMO. Then the real watch enthusiasts will follow. They’ll wait and see how it performs, maybe even for the second generation to come out, or they’ll splurge on the 18K gold version…as that’s the real investment piece. And ultimately, that’s what attracts the IWC and Omega guy — elite status.”
And speaking of investments, Matt Sebra, Senior Men’s Editor at Gilt.comsays...
“At Gilt, we know that there are two things guys are willing to spend money on: the latest technology and a good looking watch. That said, there is something about the timelessness of a vintage Rolex watch that all the bells and whistles in the world can’t replace.”
But what about being the first and setting the trend?
Skip Brooks from Alex Grant Creative Agency also believes in the power of classics.
“As a big Apple fan (dating back to prep school), Apple can do no wrong in my eyes. I’m usually a first generation buyer but I’ll probably take a wait-and-see approach for the Apple Watch. But to be honest, I don’t think the Apple Watch will make a major impact in #menswear because there is still a love of old aesthetics that the new watch can’t duplicate. From getting a vintage Rolex watch from your grandfather to saving up for that Omega that you saw James Bond wear on the big screen, the design of the Apple Watch can’t come close to the timeless aspirational timepieces or the mechanical masterpiece of an automatic watch."
"We now live in a world where people even question the functionality of watches, given the availability and usage of our cell phones. I believe the Apple Watch has a huge mountain to climb in not just the fashion world but with regular consumers. My father once gave a piece of advice in high school that stayed with me after all these years. When I showed him a picture of a luggage brand that started making watches, he replied, ‘Why would you buy a watch from a company that doesn’t make watches?’ Sound advice that applies to almost everything, Apple products included.”
Does the Apple Watch have staying power? Megan Collins of StyleGirlfriend will be watching.
“The Apple Watch will definitely be a status symbol when it first hits the scene, in the same way that some guys can’t wait to flash their new iPhone the day it comes out. What remains to be seen is whether it outlasts the ‘trend’ phase to become a staple in every guy’s wristwatch rotation.”
Street Style photo blogger Guerre, from Guerreisms, is skeptical.
“My initial thought was that the Apple Watch seemed to fit the GQ guy — a guy who is into gadgets, trends, the sporty guy. I wondered what the point of the watch was beyond telling time, and in all honesty I guess I never was curious enough to find out. Can you connect your headphones to it? If so, wouldn’t that be uncomfortable and awkward? Just about everyone has a smartphone so what’s the point of a smart watch?”
“While I have to admit the watch looks good (in a modern way) — it’s sleek and not an eyesore — I’m a firm believer that time is precious and that what you measure your time with should reflect your belief about time. For the young, stylish guy this may do just that — for them time is endless, full of fun and disposable. But for the more mature man of style, I think he’ll rather stick to timepieces that just tell time and are reminders of moments as opposed to reminders of eras.
Calculator watches, and one’s first Swatch Watch, are reminders of periods of one’s life; I think the Apple Watch falls under that category. Something that fits the times and has its market.”
“It is a trendy man’s watch, which is not always for the stylish man.”
ZDNet’s David Gerwitz isn’t exactly enamored of the design either: “I’m going to put it right out there: it’s a thick, ugly clunker. [...] It sure seems like Apple’s watch is thicker, and looks alot like Apple stuck an iPhone 1 in the wash and it shrunk. There’s a lot of curviness where there doesn’t need to be, and a big, bulbous bottom where your wrist meets the phone.”
Venture Beat’s John Koetsier pulled no punches, calling the Apple Watch “ugly and boring,” arguing that its design does too little to separate it from its smartwatch competitors. Worst of all? He’s certain Steve Jobs would not sign off on its design.
Watch blog Hodinkee’s review by Benjamin Clymer mostly lauded the Apple Watch, but couldn’t help but note two glaring faults: first, it doesn’t fit beneath your shirt cuff with ease, meaning its bulk will be a regular distraction, and second, despite some neat styling features, it still lacks emotion compared to a mechanical watch. “[...]what makes the millions of us who would never trade a Rolex in for an Apple is the emotion brought about by our watches – the fact that they are so timeless, so lasting, so personal. Nothing digital, no matter if Jony Ive designed it, could ever replace that, if for no other reason than sheer life-cycle limitations. My watches will last for generations; this Apple Watch will last for five years, if we're lucky.”