Why The Apple Watch Makes Me Feel Like An Old Man

When it comes to fashion accessories for men, watches are at the top of the list for millions of guys.  It’s been that way for many years and I’m no different.  I love watches.  I have a small fortune invested in my watch collection. For me, just like most men, a nice watch is more than just a way to tell time.  It’s a piece of jewelry.  It’s a fashion statement, a masculine style accessory. It’s pretty close to unimaginable for me to wear the same watch every day, and that hasn’t ever even crossed my mind until now.  Enter the Apple Watch…

The Apple Watch is loaded with features and apps that make it super slick right out of the gates, and we haven’t even begun to see the true functionality and potential for this device in my opinion.   I think it’s a safe to predict that we will finally see a successful smart watch in the market and it will likely be the most functional wrist instrument ever and as a tech geek, and as an overall watch guy, I will most likely buy an Apple Watch. It’s a piece of history and I want to be a part of that.  Having said that, as cool and functional as it may be, I still don’t see myself wearing it every day. 

I work in the technology industry and I recently had a conversation with some executives from Apple.  As we talked, I explained that one problem I have is that despite my geek side and love for the tech, I just don’t see myself forsaking my watch collection and wearing the Apple Watch enough to really take advantage of the features and benefits that it offers.  Second, I’m struggling to understand the economics.  For example, traditional watches of quality hold their value for decades.  In 2 years the current Apple Watch will be about as relevant as the iPhone 4 is today.  Think about the times when you upgrade to a new phone.  Most of us subsidize the price of our new phone with a service contract from our provider.  Now imagine that same process without having a service contract to subsidize the cost.  With a price tag ranging from $349 to $599 a pop or God forbid you’re silly enough to consider the Edition at $10,000 to $12,000, that’s what we’re talking about with the Apple Watch.  Still interested? 

Although they never actually said these words, it became very clear to me that at 44 years old, I was already considered an “older age segment” and not the ideal target audience for the Apple Watch.  Let me tell you something, when that realization sank in, Shit got real for me.  Quickly…

By the time we reach our 40’s most of us have pretty much established ourselves in our lives and careers.  We’ve had the opportunity to make some money for a few years and we’ve been able to enjoy some of the fruits of our labors.  In many cases and for many men, that includes the purchase of one or more nice wristwatches that we’ve formed some level of emotional connection with.  When you consider the general population of Millennials and even younger generations, they haven’t had the same amount of time and stability in life to make investments in a watch collection.   Most of the younger Millennials that I know don’t wear watches at all or if they do they are usually very inexpensive, to almost disposable watches.  For the most part they use their phones to check the time and ignore the fashion and/or style aspects of wearing a watch. They are tech savvy, they are accustomed to spending money on new technology and they value the many use cases that sexy tech like the apple watch offers.  Can you say “Ideal Target Audience”?   

Recent research conducted by the MIT AgeLab suggests that new tech adoption is more likely influenced by experience and expectations than by the age group of the consumer.  If you couple that with the speed at which technology is advancing, we find ourselves in a situation where the term ‘older consumer’ is being redefined to be much younger.  Although Apple says that their new watch is targeted towards all age groups, the fact of the matter is that Generation Xer’s like me, are simply too old and set in our ways to be a meaningful target audience.  Translation: I’m already a relic….Ouch!