Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

You Strapping?

We always seem to be aware of time, or rather, we feel we must be aware of it. The time of year, the time of day, and even how our time is spent. And for good reason—it helps us organise our lives, plan ahead, and be more efficient. I was thinking though—in an age when almost all of us use smartphones on a daily basis, why do we wear wristwatches?

We certainly don’t need to wear them. It’s rarely going to be a challenge to discover the time of day if you don’t wear one, even if you don’t have a smartphone on your person. Although the wristwatch (digital and analogue) is traditionally and essentially a functional tool, I feel it is generally no longer primarily used as such today. Of course, there are exceptional watch designs that cater to a very specific use, but generally speaking, we wear watches as a conscious fashion choice.

Even if that is the case, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not everything we possess has to be used in a traditional way. I personally own two wristwatches, one of which I designed for Minimalissimo, the other is the all black TID Watch, and I wear each as a fashion accessory.

However, if we consider wearable tech such as the Apple Watch, users tend to have a different relationship with their wristwatch. Although the Apple Watch has a strong, sleek aesthetic, its multi-functionalism flips the wearability reason from fashion to usability. This then leads me to ask the question: Why do you need to wear a smartwatch if you have a smartphone?

That is a question I have asked myself, and it’s partly the reason why I don’t own a smartwatch. To me, it’s superfluous and excessive, regardless of how impressive the technology is in its own right, but it could also be a reflection of my lifestyle. We all lead different lives, so naturally we use devices and tools differently.

So I would like to know, do you even wear a wristwatch? If so, what do you wear and why do you wear it?

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