clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watches in the Age of the Cell Phone

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

While the New York Times reported in July on the resurgence of watches as status symbols or luxury accessories for men, we've started to notice a slightly different trend. A new crop of watches has hit the market in the last couple of months that is both sleek and technologically-advanced ? even if that sounds like an oxymoron.

We have spent years trying to soften, or even aestheticize, our technology with some sort of nostalgic look or feel ? how many iPhone users set their ringtone to the classic telephone sound? But this movement seems to be the inverse, as it infuses an item of obsolete function with a clean dose of technological appeal.

Take, for example, the MuteWatch featured on Charles & Marie last month. Hailing from Sweden, the watch features a touchscreen face that allows you to swipe through functions and set the timer and alarm. But perhaps the coolest function of the watch is the built-in motion sensor, which measures your movement and adjusts the vibration level of the alarm accordingly; so the alert you set to time a professional presentation will not be the same intensity (and thus will not be irritatingly audible) as the one you set to time a workout. The price isn't astronomical ? 260 USD ? and it's only just now becoming available again, after months of being sold out across Europe.

Another example we love is the Uniform Wares 300 Series watch. Designed in London but outfitted with a Swiss-made jewel movement, the watch boasts timing precision of 1/10 of a second. Precision is, apparently, money, as the price clocks in at 490 pounds (or about $1k in USD). For those who prefer to shop locally, you can find the watch's more affordable cousin, the 150 Series, for both men and women, in the Abbot Kinney design boutique A+R for $260. The 150 Series is the thinnest of all Uniform Wares watches (6.05 mm!) and is made from aerospace grade stainless steel ? so you can be sure to keep time when your iPhone implodes upon leaving the Earth's atmosphere.

All jokes aside, what we love about these technologically advanced watches is that they not only do their job, they do it exceedingly well. Even if their job is singular, simple, and done by a thousand other devices in your house, office, and pocket, it's still a job whose boundaries can be pushed ? these watches do that, and look incredibly chic doing so.

·Watches Are Rediscovered By the Cellphone Generation [The New York Times]
·Uniform Wares