The Smartwatch Wars Get Silly

Brikk Lux Watch

As someone who doesn’t wear a watch I’ve no proverbial skin in this game. I know a good watch UI when I see it; other than that… meh.

And yet, two stories that appeared in my news feed this morning have got me writing about wearables once again:

Apple is building a Watch shop in this Tokyo luxury department store

Google Is Making an Apple Watch Killer With This Swiss Luxury Watchmaker

The fandroid in me wants to say: “good for Google”. Getting Android Wear on a proper timepiece from an actual watchmaker is an obvious win, and similar partnerships may be in the cards now that the spectre of the Apple Watch has reared its ugly head. Furthermore, I suspect that Android will ultimately prevail in the smartwatch wars, because open, distributed platforms always win.

But all this would ignore an obvious fact: computers and fine jewellery don’t really go together all that well. One can last for generations; the other has a shelf life of maybe two years tops.

A $10,000 Rolex can be gifted to your favourite offspring, but a $10K Apple Watch will surely lose its lustre once the processor and such become obsolete. Ditto for Android Wear, TAG Heuer and whomever else. A possible solution might be a replaceable component  à la Project Ara, but I can’t imagine how that would possibly work without ruining the aesthetics that make a luxury timepiece so desirable in the first place.

This battle of high-end smartwatches is ultimately pointless. I say it’s best to keep these things cheap and cheerful—at least until someone can come up with that killer app…