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Digital Generation Rediscovers Analog Wristwatches

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the old-revolvers-are-nice-too dept.

Hardware 505

Hugh Pickens writes "As recently as a half-decade ago, time seemed to be running out for the wristwatch; the mechanical device was declared to be going the way of the abacus. But now the NY Times reports that the 'sundial' of the wrist is experiencing an uptick among members of the digital generation, particularly by heritage-macho types in their 20s and 30s who are drawn to the wristwatch's retro appeal, just as they have seized on straight razors, selvedge denim and vintage vinyl. 'A cool machine that is all moving parts has got to be intrinsically interesting to someone born into this generation,' says Mitch Greenblatt, an online retailer of design-forward watches who is seeing a surge in business, 'because there's just nothing like that in their life.'"

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505 comments

Steam-punk appeal (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687592)

This really isn't much of a surprise. The Steam-punk genre is quite popular with the 20-40 crowd.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (5, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687680)

This really isn't much of a surprise. The Steam-punk genre is quite popular with the 20-40 crowd.

I'm 37. I've had combo analog/digital watches almost continuously since I was about 10. I source them from exotic boutiques like K-Mart where they sell obscure brands like Timex.

If the NYT article wasn't behind a registration screen ... maybe something the summary didn't cover would make some sense here.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687716)

I'm still wanting to get one of those really cool, retro looking nixie tube clocks for the living room....

I love tubes in my stereo amplifiers....I'd like a clock made of tubes too just to make it fun.

Makes for a nice 'glow' in the living room when I get home in the evenings.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687858)

Very expensive, but I spent a lot of time with nixie tubes as displays for a lot of test equipment. Pure nostalgia, though I'm not sure these are steampunk.

For me, a nixi clock is something to build. Not terribly hard, and an Arduino would make it a lot simpler - burn it to ROM and have something interesting.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687822)

And here I thought the only use for Timexes was for shady guys in New York alleys to scratch the name a bit to make it kinda-sorta look right and then claim they were "Genuine Rolex".

Sorta like the "Oakey" sunglasses sold by the chinese guy with a cart down the street.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687830)

type the title into Google, and you can get past the paywall as it's one of the first links to show up. Must be a referrer tag.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687986)

I'm right there with you, I love the combination mechanical (not really analog) face/hands, with an embedded digital display for date/alarm/etc. In fact, I've never owned a wristwatch with only a digital (LED/LCD) face, nor do I ever intent to. Douglas Adams said it best:

...utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea...

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688048)

I always disliked digital watches... ever since High School (graduated in '85), I've used an analog wristwatch.

I did buy a Timex Expedition digital watch a few years ago because I started doing a lot of grilling, and timing is everything, so I got one with a count down timer, and I admitted to myself that there were some nice benefits; the alarm and stopwatch have come in handy on occasion.

At a meeting at work last week I noticed I was the ONLY one wearing a watch at all (digital or otherwise). Everyone had a smart phone, though, so I guess there's always "an app for that." While I have one, though, I'm not big on smart phones, either.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688004)

Actually I own a mechanical wrist watch that cost $300 (limited edition 70 piece run custom with a Swiss ETA movement), and I'll only shave with a straight razor (best results). The advantage of a mechanical wrist watch is that it doesn't have a battery to die; whereas a digital watch can include a heart rate monitor and stop watch, among other things. It is, as well, one of the very few ways men can successfully accessorize; gaudy earrings, bracelets, piercings, and the like are not professional, nor are they attractive outside a minority group.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688246)

I was interested in trying out straight razors -- was getting tired of the waste and hassle of cartridges. Are straight razors difficult or dangerous? What are the pros and cons?

Re:Steam-punk appeal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688044)

Bullshit. Analog watches are not being "brought back" or "rediscovered" by anyone. They never left, and the author of this article has his head up his ass.

THE END.

Re:Steam-punk appeal (5, Interesting)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688112)

This really isn't much of a surprise. The Steam-punk genre is quite popular with the 20-40 crowd.

Nah, steampunk is a faux-Victorian genre loved almost exclusively by the irredeemably nerdy. This, like the straight-razor comeback, is more "Mad Men" '60s (or even '40s) nostalgia; it's people borrowing symbols from a time when "men were men" -- a way for men to assert their masculinity in a way that they see as intelligent and sophisticated, rather than uncultured or brutish. Since, for a while in the 90s, the latter seemed to be the only conception of masculinity being promulgated, I appreciate the trend, albeit with reservations.

News for hipsters (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687622)

Stuff that I was into before they went mainstream.

Re:News for hipsters (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687720)

I've always worn a watch, never saw the point of lugging a cell phone around just to know the time, and pretty much always shaved with a straight edge, nothing to clog those things so you didn't have to religiously shave everyday or face five minutes of swishing the disposable around in water to get the hair out every swipe.

Dear $DEITY, am I H I P positive? Are there pro-viruses to treat it?

Re:News for hipsters (2)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687944)

You aren't hip, you're just old. Maybe not in years on this planet, but attitude. My grandpa was the same way: always wore a watch, shaved with a straight edge. I thought he was incredibly cool.

I used to carry a pocketwatch and use a straight edge even though it was more work. I thought it was cool. Now, I use a phone and a combination of disposables and electric razors because I am lazy. If I shave with a hair trimmer to get my week's worth of stubble down to a manageable size the disposable will deal with it OK.

Re:News for hipsters (5, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687998)

Shaving is for losers who are ashamed of their neck beards. Go Unix or go home. This is slashdot. You goddamned kids better get off my lawn, or I'm going to seize control of your botnets by exploiting a hole I wrote into the IRC protocol before you were born.

Re:News for hipsters (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687960)

I've never worn a watch, hell I've never owned a cellphone for a period longer than about a month. I generally plan if I need to be somewhere, be 10-20mins early. Then again shaving is a pile of shit, I'd rather have a well groomed beard then shave every fucking day.

Stupid ass british aristocrat telling people that 'shaving your face' is manly. Pft.

Re:News for hipsters (4, Funny)

Danse (1026) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687980)

I've always worn a watch, never saw the point of lugging a cell phone around just to know the time,

Cell phones are known for having other functionality as well as being able to tell the time. I've never seen the point of strapping a somewhat functional piece of jewelry to my arm when I have a small device in my pocket that tells the time, as well as doing a hundred or more other things that I find useful.

Re:News for hipsters (1, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687964)

Currently on my wrist - a Timex Ingersoll reproduction with grosgrain band. Purchased about five years ago. Even tells the date.

Either wear a cheap, simple analog, or something vintage and cool - a 60's Rolex or Omega, or mechanical Seiko. Those can be had for a few hundred used, and will last decades.

Most of the new "fancy" watches are garbage.

Faster and Easier reading. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688108)

I'm an old guy - 46 - and I prefer dial/analog watches - although most are quartz.. I can read them faster. With just a glance, I know the time. And, I can't find it, there was a study that showed most people can read the analog time faces faster. IIRC, it has to do with seeing the digital numbers, interpreting them, and it requires extra thought. Try it. Compare the digital readout with the analog readout on your computers clock.

If you want a nice watch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687648)

...then it's going to be analog. They don't make gold digital watches. Nothing retro about this at all--people still like jewelry. We don't have articles saying, "Young 30 something women are really going retro with all these diamond wedding rings" or "Young men in their 20s embrace gold necklaces like its 1850."

Re:If you want a nice watch... (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687954)

Exactly. There's also another facet to it, though.

People graduating with employable degrees into high-pay positions will immediately find themselves back in that yuppie culture that seems to die off (or at least subside) every decade before being brought back to life with each economic recovery. Part of this includes status symbols, so what better way to justify the purchase of a status element than to buy something that most others in their generation aren't accustomed to seeing? Most in this generation look at mechanical items and think "wow, this is how stuff was done before electronics got involved!" and that's immensely fascinating, so the 4 figure payment suddenly has extra "merit."

(for the uninitiated, yuppie = a young urban professional. The term could be constrewed as derogatory, though I never saw it that way)

Re:If you want a nice watch... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688056)

They don't make gold digital watches.

That's always frustrated me. I would love to wear a classy-looking (ladies) watch, but they don't make them with digital displays! Why on earth not?

Ever since I got my first digital watch as a kid, I've never looked back. Now I'd be hard pressed to find a digital watch that doesn't show me time in 24-hour format, show me the month/day/year, show me time in different time zones, allow me to set multiple alarms or chime on the hour or converts to a stopwatch if I ever need it (okay, I rarely use that, but it's handy when I do need it)...what's the benefit to analog watches again? You can replace the numbers on the dial with chips of diamond to mess people up even more, and call it 'high end'?

So I wear something like this clunky looking thing [sasktel.com] , which may not be bling, but at least it's got the bells and whistles I want. I just long for something a bit prettier for everyday wear...without sacrificing efficiency and (many) features, that is.

Bring back the Pocket Watch! (2)

buback (144189) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687658)

The train conductor/robber-baron look is coming back

Re:Bring back the Pocket Watch! (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687754)

Didn't think it ever left. But then I used to dress in victorian garb and play croquet in Golden Gate park back in high-school. So I may just be weird.

Re:Bring back the Pocket Watch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687880)

They have ... most people call it a cell phone!

Re:Bring back the Pocket Watch! (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687938)

The pocket watch is back and these days it's more popular than the wrist watch. When you ask someone the time, what do they do? They reach into their pocket and pull out a device that has the time on it. The pocket watch is now almost exclusively digital and has a phone built into it but multi-purpose watches are nothing new either. Just ask Dick Tracy...

Moving parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687684)

“A cool machine that is all moving parts has got to be intrinsically interesting to someone born into this generation, because there’s just nothing like that in their life,”

Yeah, not like hard drives or anything.

Re:Moving parts (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687784)

If you build me a hard drive in a transparent enclosure, so I can see what's going on, damn straight that'd be pretty cool. As is, it's a grey box bolted to a grey frame inside a black plastic box. It could be filled with bricks, for all your average consumer cares.

Re:Moving parts (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687860)

If you really are interested in a transparent hd enclosure there are many tutorials on how to do it online.

I don't understand (5, Insightful)

eharvill (991859) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687696)

I'm 36 and I own an analog wristwatch. I've owned several over my lifetime as well. My 5 year old son is familiar and will continue to be familiar with analog wristwatches as most everyone in his extended family wears one. How is this retro, unique or something terribly interesting because it has moving parts and is not digital? Watches have always been fashionable and (IMHO) will continue to be for all generations for the rest of my life. It's not like we're talking about 8-tracks, cassette tapes and to some extent vinyl for example. Those devices will definitely be retro to my kid as they have never (and probably never will be) a part of his life.

Re:I don't understand (1)

nam37 (517083) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687778)

Completely agree... I'm 37 and I've pretty much always had a watch on my wrist. And both of my kids (6 and 3) have watches that THEY asked for. Don't know, it seems like a (stupid) non-issue to me.

Re:I don't understand (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687834)

I am 43, and I own about a dozen wrist watches.
I have worn a watch since I was about 7 years old. My grandfather loved watches and bought anything that caught his eye. When they got warn, or he lost interest he passed them down to me. God I wish I had known what some of those would be worth now. I have one of the first digital watches. With an LED display. I reciently decided that I would start collecting watches that I liked.
It is amazing what you can buy these days, for very little money.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687874)

Wristwatch!!! News for nerd, Stuff that Matters?

Re:I don't understand (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687924)

It's not like we're talking about 8-tracks, cassette tapes and to some extent vinyl for example. Those devices will definitely be retro to my kid as they have never (and probably never will be) a part of his life.

Well, the main reason he won't see any of that is because especially the cassette tapes killed the music industry.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688110)

I don't know, I'm the same age as you and haven't worn a wristwatch since I got a cellphone. I asked my son (4) the other day to turn something clockwise out of curiosity if he knew which way clocks turned but he did, so I think analogue clocks are still around enough for kids to be familiar with them.

Re:I don't understand (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688156)

To be fair, a dedicated chronometer is a bit of an affectation in the pocket communicator era. Pretty much every pocket/mobile communication device has had a clock on it since they started putting displays on them. Sure you could argue its a backup device or what have you. Personally I'm fine with it being an affectation,its the only piece of jewelry I wear, but lets at least be honest.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688178)

I'm 28. I don't wear a watch...initially because I couldn't find a women's one I liked that was comfortable on my small wrist, but later...I don't need one. My phone and mp3 player tell me the time. Why get another gadget you always have to put on or take with you? I don't like carrying around all that stuff.

To someone who's always had a cell phone or mp3 player, yeah, a watch is going to be fairly retro, and that generation is just coming of age. It's not that telling time has gone out of style...it's just combined with other objects.

And if I do the math...cell phones and mp3 players started saturating consumer level across the board when I was in high school, 10 years ago. 2000 or 2001--that's when libraries and stuff started putting up signs about taking cell phone calls outside, and when I'd see people running around with them. So someone born in 2000 will be 10 now, and possibly has always had a cell phone and mp3 player to tell them the time. Even someone who was 5 then will be 15 now and probably spent most of their lives with cell phones and mp3 players that tell time. Why wear a watch?

Except for the style? Yeah, I can see an uptick for style, for glamorizing the prior age. :)

Definitely not me (4, Funny)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687700)

I still think that digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

(Besides I have some difficulties to read analog watches).

Re:Definitely not me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687884)

That's just because you're a hoopy frood.

Get with the Times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687718)

A few years ago I started seeing hipsters wearing those big, ugly, chunky watches from the 70s, it was probably my first "what's wrong with these damn kids" moments...

An ugly watch is not ironic, it's just an ugly watch.

Mechanical (2)

razvan784 (1389375) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687730)

The term 'mechanical' would be more appropriate, though I guess mechanical is still analog. I hope TFA is about mechanical watches not watches with a digital core driving mechanical hands. Anyway a good mechanical wristwatch is a masterpiece of precision design and engineering and there's something intrinsically cool about it being able to measure time almost as precisely as you could by simply dividing down the signal from a quartz oscillator. I see nothing wrong with it, plus it doesn't need batteries, which can be a plus in a postapocalyptic scenario / finding-oneself-stranded-on-a-mountain-with-no-batteries-nearby-just-as-soon-as-they've-run-out-type situation.

Re:Mechanical (1)

lothos (10657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687948)

I agree. I have two mechanical automatic watches, they never need winding or a new battery. One of them has a see through backing, and it's fun to watch the gears work. A nice mechanical watch really is almost a work of art.

Re:Mechanical (2)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688012)

"plus it doesn't need batteries, which can be a plus in a postapocalyptic scenario"

If I find myself in that situation, knowing the time down to second, or even minute, level of precision is not going to be a big concern.

Re:Mechanical (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688068)

The term 'mechanical' would be more appropriate, though I guess mechanical is still analog.

Nope. Mechanical is not analog. Mechanical is closer to digital. Analog implies a waveform. Digital implies descrete states. A mechanical gear would be a digital device. Each tooth representing a specific state.

Re:Mechanical (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688106)

Although any watch that displays time with the hands on clock face could technically be called an analog display. The display shows time as continuous. Though having the hands tick from second position to second position would be closer to a digital display.

Re:Mechanical (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688152)

plus it doesn't need batteries, which can be a plus in a postapocalyptic scenario / finding-oneself-stranded-on-a-mountain-with-no-batteries-nearby-just-as-soon-as-they've-run-out-type situation.

But a solar/dyno watch will work just as well in those rare situations where time is important.

1994 called. (2)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687744)

Is this news? I'm a mid-twenty-something and everyone I know -- EVERYONE -- wears and has worn true analog watches. Seriously, I know people who would sooner wear tennis shoes with their work clothes than a Casio or Timex watch. Nearly a quarter of my friends wear watches that need to be wound. I would have been more surprised to read that the digital generation was moving back to retro digital LCD watches.

Re:1994 called. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687776)

"Is it impolite to give a digital watch to a one-armed man?" - Gallagher

--
BMO

Re:1994 called. (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687906)

Oh! Can you put me on the line with 1994? I need to talk to them about some things.

On a side note, who around here calls the future?

Re:1994 called. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688126)

This is the past calling you; I am calling the future right now. How can I help you?

Re:1994 called. (2)

lothos (10657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688088)

I'm 32. A lot of people my age growing up simply used their cellphones and didn't see the need for a watch. Until 3 years ago I hadn't owned a watch since I was about 12. I now own a quartz watch and two mechanical automatics, and have my eye on a couple of others.

Most of the people I know don't know anything about watches, don't care, and just wear something that looks nice to them. A lot of them think Fossil is a great brand. Some just grab a cheap Casio/Timex and when the battery needs to be changed they throw it away and buy a new watch. However I do have a couple of friends that are really into watches and only buy mechanical.

I was at a wedding the other weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see practically the whole under-30 crowd sporting some kind of wristwatch.

Re:1994 called. (2)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688188)

I used to be an analog snob until I saw an engineer at our company use the calculator on his wristwatch (before everyone one had smart phones) during a meeting to come up with a few figures... at the time I was doing a lot of grilling and timing is crucial... a digital watch worked much better, so I got one. After that, it's been great - I coached a few teams (academic and sports) and had the stop watch; the alarm clock has been great, and lot more convenient than my smart phone when I'm running down the field with my team...

I definitely like the look of analog watches better (which I use when I have to dress more nicely than my daily stuff), but for practicality, a decent digital watch is great.

For the record, the last meeting I went to at work... I was the ONLY one wearing a watch at all. The meeting included other developers, but also managers and other executives... I was really surprised... not surprised that I was bored enough to notice, though.

Meh. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687764)

There are some things I like retro because I believe they are better (like DE safety razors) in some utilitarian way.

Analog watches aren't exactly one of them. Compared to a digital: they worse at keeping accurate time, most don't update themselves like "atomic" watches do, and some (like Rolex) may need some maintenance after a while. It's like a Japanese vs. German car - Japanese car is more practical overall, and German cars are often overengineered - but they're important to people who care about making a fashion statement. And I respect watchmaking as an art/science but there are enough old ones around unused that you don't need to buy new.

That said, I find most digital watches ugly. They need an Apple-like brand in terms of design that gets in there and promotes nice materials like a sapphire crystal face, clean lines, and minimalism. A digital watch almost always has ugly styling or just has too much going and is too busy looking. In fact, maybe an iWatch wouldn't be a bad idea.

Re:Meh. (5, Funny)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688036)

In fact, maybe an iWatch wouldn't be a bad idea.

Oh god, no. You wouldn't be able to share the time with anyone else, and you'd have to use Apple's proprietary software to set it. Not to mention that it would be twice as expensive as any other comparable digital watch, and I'm pretty sure that they would pay a license fee to the RIAA for some weird reason for each one sold, which would then mean that the RIAA would now have enough money to start suing other digital watch manufacturers for infringement because apparently the "beep! beep! beep!" of their alarms is copyrighted.

Don't get me started on how you can't replace your iWatch's battery when it runs out...

Re:Meh. (1)

lothos (10657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688204)

They need an Apple-like brand in terms of design that gets in there and promotes nice materials like a sapphire crystal face, clean lines, and minimalism. A digital watch almost always has ugly styling or just has too much going and is too busy looking. In fact, maybe an iWatch wouldn't be a bad idea.

I think you just described Movado watches [movado.com] . Clean, simple elegant designs. Almost all of their watches are quartz, and expensive. They're almost like the Apple of the watch world, IMHO.

I own one, and like it, but I also have some mechanical automatic watches as well that I like better.

Re:Meh. (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688222)

Compared to a digital: they worse at keeping accurate time, most don't update themselves like "atomic" watches do

you realize that most analog watches made are using the exact same timing mechanicism as your digital? or where you referring to Automatic watches?

, and some (like Rolex) may need some maintenance after a while.

your right - it's a mechanical device rather than an electric - the electric will fail too only thing is it is cheaper to replace like most things that moved from mechanical to electric - see Quartz Analog watches for a replacement that is

...

sorry i'm going to ignore the rest of that statement.

Wrist watches and vinyl not that old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687782)

When I was five years old, I had the Fraggle Rock soundtrack on LP. Twenty Two years later, I still have the record, but am searching for a needle for the same record player. Yes we might be the "digital" generation, but those of us born in the early 80s (25-30 years old now) remember record players, and know how to use them.

analog != mechanical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687790)

TFA confuses "analog" with "mechanical". This confusion is getting more popular by the day, probably because people don't realize that "digital" and "electronic" are not the same thing. Everyone, please note that "analog" should usually only be used to refer to an electronic device containing analog electronics.

Re:analog != mechanical (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687962)

An analog (not mechanical) watch would be interesting. How would that work I wonder? Truly would be news for nerds.

Re:analog != mechanical (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688244)

I think it'd just be a motor with a feedback loop to keep the back-emf (and hence the speed) constant, used to drive the hands. Or an analog oscillator with a "tick" circuit, though now you almost have a digital watch (is the LM555 an analog or a digital IC? A little of both...). But then, true mechanical watches, with their escapement mechanisms, seem almost "digital" in this respect as well. And if you're going to go through that trouble, why not use a quartz crystal (at which point you've arrived at a Timex). I imagine there are thousands of amusing ways to build a (probably not very precise) watch.

Spam (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687804)

As a rule, digital watches tend to look cheap and tacky, I've had analog watches of one sort or another for most of the last 15 years (nothing too fancy, all sub-£100) and they just look better.

Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687814)

Fucking hipsters are ruining everything. Crunchgear has articles about watches now. Old watches go well with mustaches, MacBook Pros and fixies.

Cell phones (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687818)

Digital wristwatches, which are rarely stylish, are being replaced by cell phones and the litany of other devices with clocks built into them. I don't wear a watch namely because I have no need. If I need to know the time I look at my phone. Analog watches are used for stylistic purposes nowadays, thats pretty much it.

Re:Cell phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687934)

I'm on the same wagon with you. The wrist-watch, digital or analog, has become obsolete with the spread of the mobile phone during the last 10-15 years. I can't find a reason for someone to wear a wrist-watch other than the aesthetic aspect. Divers, athletes etc excluded of-course

Re:Cell phones (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687950)

Digital wristwatches, which are rarely stylish, are being replaced by cell phones and the litany of other devices with clocks built into them. I don't wear a watch namely because I have no need. If I need to know the time I look at my phone. Analog watches are used for stylistic purposes nowadays, thats pretty much it.

I've wondered about that - because it seems checking my watch is far quicker (under a second) than reaching for my phone, hitting a button and then parsing the screen for the time.

Yeah, I have the time in a million places, but it just seems more convenient and faster to check my watch than to check it on my computer (whose screen is right in front of me, too!), nevermind my cellphone or ipod or other thing.

Re:Cell phones (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688100)

That's just it how often do you check your watch? I find there are more than enough clocks at work, and when i am out I have my cell phone If I must absolutely keep track of time. I would rather enjoy my time than randomly checking my watch every 10 minutes.

I do have one digital watch though. It is a semi unique piece of a carabiner clip. It has a bunch of functions but ultimately it has a rolling countdown timer in it that I use to track rolling starting sequencing for racing. by being on my belt or jacket it isn't on my wrist leaving tan lines on my arms in funny places.

Re:Cell phones (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688054)

Or because you can't strap your phone on your wrist. Also there are quite a few situations where phones aren't allowed, but watches are. (Exam, cinema, theater etc.)

Re:Cell phones (4, Insightful)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688128)

You can check the time on a wristwatch without being obvious about it. The same can't be said for a phone. How do you explain to the person you are talking to that checking the time is seemingly more important than what they are saying?

Omega FTW (2)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687828)

I inherited a lightly-worn 1962-ish Omega Speedmaster [wikipedia.org] a few years ago and quite enjoy wearing it (though not every day, b/c it's so damn heavy). The Speedmaster is now marketed as the "moon watch" because it was worn by the Apollo astronauts. The Speedmaster was a good choice because of the plastic crystal that wouldn't shatter and cause problems in zero-G. It cost me a few hundred $ to get a new main spring and pushers, and works as well today as it did 50 years ago.

I like it because it's a good reminder of what you can accomplish without the latest and greatest technology. Sure you have to wind it every day or so, and sure your $5 Casio keeps better time, but it was good enough to help get people to the moon. Astronauts literally trusted their lives with this thing - the watch was used to sequence maneuvers, estimate oxygen levels and time spacewalks walks. And all this was done with a spring, some gears and highly-precise engineering. If anything, it's a reminder that if you are going to build something, build it right.

Re:Omega FTW (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688064)

Astronauts literally trusted their lives with this thing - the watch was used to sequence maneuvers, estimate oxygen levels and time spacewalks walks. And all this was done with a spring, some gears and highly-precise engineering.

The Russians just used a pencil.

(Yes, I know it's a non sequitur and that's not how the joke goes, but it still sounded like a funny punchline to me.)

Re:Omega FTW (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688236)

your $5 Casio keeps better time

This is a misconception. Your $5 Casio will be off by a tiny fraction; e.g. 1/2 a second per day. But, it will *always* be off by the same amount, so that the error will accumulate - it will be ~3 minutes off after a year.

An analog/mechanical watch such as a Speedmaster - particularly those that are "Certified Chronometers", which are individually tested to a fairly tough standard - will drift. In hot weather they will tend to gain time, in colder weather they will tend to lose (the lubricant changes viscosity with temperature). Time will also vary depending on how often they are worn, and how active the wearer is, and how often and how much they are wound (the more wound they are, the faster they run - only by a microscopic amount, but it is measurable). So, a quality mechanical watch may vary forward and backward by more in a single day than the cheap Casio - but the errors will very often cancel themselves, so that after a year, the Omega may well keep much better time.

news flash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687840)

Hipsters latch on to another outdated technology... how unexpected.

Great news! (1)

catalina (213767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687846)

That's really good news. i was starting to worry that there would soon be no way to explain which way things turn. In a digital world, which way is "clock-wise"?

Watches are useless (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687876)

Watches are, for me, completely useless, as I have a damn phone to get the time, weather and ... Pretty much all I need to know on everyday life. Analog or not, it's not useful for me (and I don't need/like jevelry)

I was there ... (5, Funny)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687888)

where digital watches first came in. I remember LCD watches on washing machines, TVs, pens... and of course wrists. But you always knew who had a digital when you asked them the time. They'd reply '8:58' or '6:11' rather than 'Almost nine' or 'Ten past'. I used to convert in my head when telling people, back when I had a digital.

And right now, I have my Dad's old analog on my wrist.

And ok, get off ... etc etc...

Could this be due to larger phones (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687896)

With smart phones becoming cheaper and larger more people have phones that are difficult to pull out from your pocket and have less than reliable battery life.
This makes having the time on your wrist much more convenient to a potentially time consuming task of getting the time from your smart phone.

Sadly... (3, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36687966)

...reading an analog clock is a lost art with many of our young people. I often find my high-school students asking me "Mister, what time is it?" while staring directly at the analog clock in my room. It took me a while to figure out that they do not know how to read time on a clock with hands. So now, at the start of the year, we have a clock-reading activity that I stole from a 3rd-grade workbook.

Seriously.

Re:Sadly... (4, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688016)

'Arts' get lost as progress happens. I'm sure most people don't know how to make a fire, because we don't need to anymore (not unless we like camping or whatever and don't carry matches).

I dunno, maybe in a few years' time, people who know how to read analogue will be the 'weirdos who hold onto outdated stuff', as opposed to 'everyone except these young 'uns'

Re:Sadly... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688046)

I find that when I look at my analog watch it is easier for me to inherently know what time it is than it is for me to articulate the actual time when someone asks for it.

Best of Both Worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36687982)

Or you can get the best of both worlds.

Timex and other make analog/digital watches so you can have it both ways.

I don't get it? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688008)

How in the hell are you suppose to load Linux on one?

Victorian pocket watch design + smart phone plz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36688084)

how come nobody else want's one of those?

In some ways it's a better representation of time (4, Insightful)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688174)

When I look at a timepiece it's rare that I want to know what time it is. Much more often I want to know "how long since" or "how long until" something. An analog display gives me this info much more quickly than digital.

Don't buy the macho routine with straight razors (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688220)

heritage-macho types in their 20s and 30s

It's not so much that these "heritage-macho" types are using straight razors so much as they don't really have a lot to shave.

They might own a straight razor, and have it placed just so on their dresser next to a bone-handled shaving brush, but they are certainly not using them.

Wristwatches never went out of style. It's much easier to tell time with a device on your wrist than with a device in your pocket or on your belt.

I'll bet that wristwatches were much less popular in the 60's than they have been since 2000.

plausible (1)

shishikyuu (1513817) | more than 2 years ago | (#36688224)

this story sounds very plausible, as I'm 26 years old and only a week ago I ordered a self winding wristwatch that features clear view on the mechanics from the front. not having to charge something ever does seem weird to me :)
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