Is the Apple Watch a design classic?

With more than one momentous date looming, my mind is drawn to the thought of age, style and design. As much as my birthday will cause ripples around the world, more attention is likely to be focussed on the Apple Watch. But, will the Apple Watch really set the world alight? The answer is a resounding yes, and no, and sort of. Initially, it will be the dog’s bollocks (the watch, not my birthday) but, there will be a familiar pattern to subsequent events.

Apple Watch Day -1

The night before it goes on sale, news channels will be broadcasting from outside an Apple store and will interview a techno-geek who is currently living in a pop-up tent. He will be one of a temporary community who would have been camping outside the store for the last three weeks, desperate to ensure he gets a watch on the first day.

Apple Watch Day

Is the Apple Watch a design classic?The following evening, the news will comprise footage of: crowds outside an Apple store, crowds rushing into an Apple store, and finally, an interview with the first customer to exit an Apple store with a watch. The interview will consist largely of the chap claiming that it is phenomenal, awesome and amazing, even though he has yet to get it out of the box and work out what it does. If the news team is lucky, the chap will open the box and either drop it or have it snatched by an opportunist thief.

Apple Watch Day +1

The day after the watch goes on sale, the internet will be awash with YouTube videos of people unboxing their brand-new purchase. For some strange 21st century reason, unboxing videos are all the rage and millions of viewers are compelled to watch strangers unpack their shopping as if presenting in depth documentary.

“…and inside the nice white box labelled iPhone… is an iPhone…” the commentary informs us.

“…and very near the bottom is a hole… inserted into which is the plug…”

It is just as well (and hardly surprising) that these people are loners because the thought of them giving a speech on their wedding day is painful.

“…and under the nice white dress is my wife…” will probably get a laugh.

“…and very near the bottom is a hole… inserted into which will be…” will get a look of horror from the bride’s mother.

On a more professional level, thousands of technology bloggers and journalists will write millions of words criticising everything from the operating system to the choice of font for the display. Some will go further and dismantle a perfectly good watch just to show you exactly what is inside a perfectly good watch. It is a strange practice, and thankfully, something that doesn’t occur to pet journalists.

We also eagerly await in-depth appraisals from the end users of this sophisticated computing power. Forums will buzz with people complaining that it broke when they hit it with a hammer or that the GPS signal was lost after flushing it down the toilet. These criticisms will come from the same individuals who spent eight hundred pounds on a pocket sized computer and were surprised that it broke when they stood on it.

Is the #AppleWatch a design classic, or has it got a face that will stop a clock? Click To Tweet

So what’s the connection between my birthday and the Apple Watch?

saturn V photoIt’s an age thing, and all to do with the phenomena by which people age when you aren’t looking. If you are involved with someone continuously for any length of time, you fail to see change happening. People you work with every day never seem to change, but when you bump into someone you haven’t seen for a while you realise how the time has taken its toll.

This also applies to inanimate objects. A second-hand car looks old and dated, even if it has been perfectly stored and maintained exactly as it was on the day of manufacture. On the day of its launch (with the exception of British Leyland models) a new car is sexy and stylish, but as it gets further away from its date of creation the style dates, even if the item itself remains unchanged.

The only thing to ever retain its style and sexiness is the Saturn V rocket, but how different it could have been. If it had been designed by the Japanese it would definitely have been sleeker, but would now have all the appeal of an old Nissan Sunny. If it had been Italian, it would have looked stunning on the launch pad, but would have undoubtedly still been there with NASA waiting for the service engineer to come and change a temperamental heater element or fix the central locking on the landing module door.

A face that will stop a clock.

As for the Apple Watch. You only have to look at the original iPod to realise how something can go from being an iconic sex-goddess to an old-lady with Alzheimer’s in little more than a decade. Today’s Apple Watch is clearly a thing of beauty, but by the time we get to see the Apple Watch 6+, don’t be surprised if the catwalk model you desire on your arm today has turned into something ugly with little memory and a fat face.


Do you think the Apple Watch design will stand the test of time? What design icons do you think have fared the best over the years?


Photo by NASA on The Commons