Digital Revolution Or Mechanical Resolution?

It looks like a watch and feels like a watch, but the question is, will it ever replace your watch?

BY Daniel Goh | Nov 24, 2016 | Opinion

I have always liked an element of practicality to the accessory I put on my wrist each morning. The watch I currently wear tells me the time, the day and the date; it’s nothing fancy, but its purposeful, it gives me all the information I need at a glance and I love it for doing exactly that, while looking pretty damn cool on my wrist. In that regard, Motorola’s latest generation of 360 smartwatches should be ticking all my boxes. It’s practical, damn near over the top in functionality, and the design is something even a serious watch connoisseur can get behind. It should easily replace my day-date wristwatch right? Not quite.

The design of the second Moto 360 is a decided improvement over the last; and I think it’s because Motorola started to see the smartwatch as more of a ‘watch’ than a ‘wearable’. They added lugs to the piece, and when case size is often a make or break feature for watch enthusiasts, this new smartwatch gives the wearer a choice between 42MM or 46MM (a bigger size also means a bigger screen). Add in customisation options like the colour of the case, the treatment on the bezel, different strap options and the staggering amount of digital watch dials you can find, and you have a pretty personalised piece of tech on your wrist. In this regard the Moto 360 is incredibly appealing.

Ironically for me, it’s in the functionality department that the smartwatch falls short. The watch is powered by the Android Wear operating system giving it access to a seemingly infinite amount of apps available on Google’s play store. Everything from to-do lists to maps and weather forecasts give the watch a brilliant level of functionality. Of course you also get notifications from chat apps, phone calls and emails on your wrist, and with quick and simple gestures you get to address these notifications as you see fit. All in all, it creates a holistic experience of a connected lifestyle. But to me, therein lies the problem.

What began as a child-like excitement from receiving all this information on the wrist slowly became overwhelming and at times annoying. Bzzt bzzt when I am reading on the train, bzzt bzzt when I am driving home. I know one would argue that it’s my choice to decide to look but it’s like trying to maintain eye contact with a well-endowed lady friend, involuntary. Slowly but surely I started switching off the notifications until what remained were, the time, day and date functions.

Even as technologically reclusive as I was, there were a few things I did enjoy on the Moto 360. The heart rate monitor told me how active, or rather inactive, I was on a particular day and it is excellent when you go out for a run (the strap can easily be swapped out for a rubber or silicon option).

A seemingly endless list functions, a sport-centric repertoire of tools, and a stylish case that would make a watch enthusiast proud are all reasons to like the new Moto 360. And if you can embrace the fact that no message will go unread, no email unresponded, then this is really the only watch you will ever need. For me, it’s still time, day and date-peace and quiet at last.