Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Old fogie watch

A couple of weeks ago, Paul Devlin wrote an elegy for the tie clip at Slate. It made me a little sad, but I knew he was right; the tie clip is disappearing. It's seen as a too-dressy affectation, even though it serves a useful purpose.

But now Matt Yglesias informs us that "these days few young people wear watches because we're all used to checking the time on our cell phones," a fact that "most older people don't realize." I certainly didn't. A commentator on the thread that follows points to this Daniel Gross article (also at Slate) that confirms the trend with sales numbers.

As I say in comments there: I don't get it. I thought the wave of the future was for my Treo to shrink down and get incorporated into my watch, so I could continue to tell the time with a quick glance but could also do so with my e-mail and calendar.

Instead, it seems like the wave of the future is to return to the pocketwatch-- a bigger, harder-to-get-at, uglier pocketwatch. Do you people really unclip your phone from your belt or reach into a pocket every time you want to check the time? Why isn't that less convenient than just wearing a watch?

In both cases I think there's something aesthetic lost, but I know that over time what was aesthetically pleased and dressy changes, often in the direction of the more-practical. But in both cases the change seems to me less practical than the status quo ante.