I admit, it is a strange thing to be into watches or horology. Especially, since we live in an era where pretty much anything from our smartphones to our ‘smart’ refrigerators can tell us the time with just a simple, “Hey Alexa.”
On The Bellingham Podcast, we have reoccurring segments where we talk about trends in horological technology and the geek subculture called the #watchfam. We look at watches, technology, and horology from a practical enthusiast’s point of view.
Heirloom & Technology
In the modern western world, mass media promotes consumerist views of purchasing the latest hip electrical gadget. These gadgets, handy as they may be, are frequently disposable; living to serve us only until the next ‘upgrade cycle.’ Yet, there is a technology that can outlast even the best and most expensive smartphones; the mechanical watch. A simple, yet complex, mechanical computer that serves as an autonomous time automaton; more often than not, outlasting the life of its owner, thus becoming an heirloom.
When you think about it, not much technology achieves this rare status of ‘heirloom.’ More commonly, old technology is deemed too slow or outdated, and therefore obsolete with time. Yet, this horological computer, doubling as perhaps a jewelry or fashion statement, was and still is passed down through generations. A timepiece is a technology that serves the present and will continue to function into the future, the same as it did for prior generations.
Beyond just a pragmatic tool, it is a sentimental wearable. A watch marks memories, always ticking away, quietly counting moments. Until it is relinquished to or inherited by the next bearer. This concept of heirloom technology is in jeopardy of becoming lost on future generations, as we become more and more connected and accept more and more today’s digital “upgrade cycle.”
“Will our grandchildren care about that iPhone 3GS you first got and kept around all these years? How about that Pebble smartwatch you backed on Kickstarter?”
With today’s technology, there is really no logic to sporting a traditional watch; let alone a mechanical one. But, for some of us, and dare I say even the minimalists among us, we see the value in having the simple watch on our wrist. It is at its core, function following form; a technology to get you from a-to-b without being late. There is less of a sense of dependency or urgency with something mechanical. A phone’s charge can run low. A calendar app’s push notifications can be missed or snoozed. A mechanical watch is the most fundamental way to keep your life organized and on time. A physical representation to simplicity, the mechanical watch chronicles ones life into a legacy timepiece.
Moments on Instagram
A post shared by AJ Barse (@ajbarse) on Apr 12, 2018 at 5:35pm PDT