The New York Times calls Benjamin Clymer "The High Priest of Horology." He's the executive editor of the watch-enthusiast website, Hodinkee, which featured in Time magazine's list of the 50 best websites in 2013. Which is what makes his unique take on the Apple Watch so fascinating.
While the rest of us compare the Apple Watch to its obvious competitors like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R, Clymer takes a step back and examines how it stacks up to the watch industry as a whole. It's unclear how much time he actually spent with the Apple Watch, but it's important to make the distinction that unlike those other half-baked reviews out there, Clymer simply gives us his first impressions as a watch expert, not a gadget reviewer. This is a guy who used to regularly wearing $10,000 watches and he still comes away impressed by Apple's device.
The reason? "Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design," he writes.
Clymer's Apple Watch impressions are only about the exterior. He purposely stays away from the functionality and the interface. Here's what he thinks Apple got right:
They Nailed The Feel
The overall level of design in the Apple Watch simply blows away anything – digital or analogue – in the watch space at $350 / £215. There is nothing that comes close to the fluidity, attention to detail, or simple build quality found on the Apple Watch in this price bracket.
They Respected Tradition
The Apple Watch, in its own way, really pays great homage to traditional watchmaking and the environment in which horology was developed. We have to remember that the first timekeeping devices, things like sundials, were dictated by the sun and the stars, as is time to this day. The fact that Apple chose to develop two faces dedicated to the cosmos shows they are, at the very least, aware of the origins and importance of the earliest timekeeping machines, and the governing body of all time and space – the universe.
Further, they kept the crown. Okay, so it's a "digital crown" on the Apple Watch, but for a company founded by a man known for his distaste of buttons and switches, the fact that they kept the original horological control center says something.
They Actually Knew What a Milanese Bracelet Was
The fact that Apple even knows what this is is remarkable. I promise you not a single other tech company in the world would've spent the time to make this admittedly outdated looking option. But I absolutely love it because it's so comfortable, so different than a traditional link bracelet. I love because it's so 1950s and '60s. I actually wear a Milanese-style bracelet on my 1957 Omega Speedmaster (ref 2915-2 for you nerds) and I get more compliments on it than just about anything I own, because of the bracelet.
Yes, Switzerland Is (Somewhat) Fucked
In many cases, [Apple's] offerings make what is coming out of Switzerland (or Asia) look amateurish.
The other thing that could spell trouble even for the Swiss is Apple's cool factor with the young. At 16, will someone want a swatch or an Apple watch? At 20 will they want a Hamilton or the Apple Watch 3? At 25 will they want an Omega or an Apple Watch Plus? That should be a very real concern for the Swiss, appealing to a younger generation of buyers who live and breathe Apple.
Clymer has many, many more thoughts which he discusses in an exhaustive post on his website, so head over to read the complete thing. [Hodinkee]