Marco Arment recently gave his prediction for the future of traditional non-smart watches:
The dumbwatch industry’s best hopes are either their own successful lines of Android Wear watches, or praying that the overlap between their customers and smartwatch buyers doesn’t get very big.
I think he’s spot on. It seems inevitable that once we start moving towards smarter, more connected devices on our wrists we are unlikely to want to go back.
In many ways this is a real shame. I love proper automatic watches. I love the intricacies of their mechanical innards and the history that has gone into perfecting their designs. I’ve always aspired to one day own a special timepiece that I could pass down to my future children.
The analogy that fits dumbwatches best for me is that of classic cars. Plenty of people like to own classic cars as a piece of history or art. Sometimes they are even fun to drive. But no one wants to do their daily commute without the conveniences of air conditioning, cruise control, a bluetooth sound system, air bags, and all the other advances that come with owning a modern car.
As Marco states, the makers of the more affordable Quartz watches will surely have to create their own lines of Android Wear watches, in the same way that have Nokia attempted to transition from dumbphones to smartphones. But for the high-end brands, I’m not really sold on the idea that people will spend tens of thousands of dollars on something that will be out of date within a year. For me, their only hope is that people will still want to own the classic car equivalent of a watch. After all, people do like to spend a lot of money on classic cars.