Montre connectée MC

My left wrist is Asterix’s village

When my editor in chief requested that I do a hands-on test of a smartwatch for a few days, I immediately refused. No way!

By Marco Cattaneo

I did not even wait to hear the name of the smartwatch’s brand, which, as I would later on find out is a respectable one. But I didn’t want to hear about it, you see; it's a matter of principles.

Ode to my smartphone

My left wrist is Asterix’s village, the only part of me the digital universe has not invaded. But it has pretty much taken over every other area of my life for a long time now and I must admit that it allows for great comfort. I love my smartphone and I love it even more every time it books me a room in a hotel on the other side of the world or when it brings me breaking news such as a new virus detected in Asia that will, for some time, be the hot topic among my acquaintances who will never become infected by it.

Marco Cattaneo Marco Cattaneo

I love my computer, I love e-banking, I love the portable scanners that have replaced supermarket cashiers and which allow me to aim at the bar codes of my yogurts as if I was fighting aliens with a light saber.

I love booking my plane or train tickets on the internet. I even love buying music online - yes, I am one of those select few who still pay a few francs for songs that are easily available for free everywhere, to the great surprise of my children. I love being able to draw statistics on a  spreadsheet based on the accurate calculation of steps, kilometers and heart rate the smartwatch I wear on my right wrist has done whilst I was jogging. I love this ultra-connected world where one person may get annoyed that a correspondent 8,000 kilometers and five time zones away did not answer their email in less than two hours.

The magic of a mechanical banquet

I love everything about this digital universe but leave my left wrist out of it. It has so far cheerfully resisted any attempt at connected invasion and it regularly invites watches to share its mechanical banquets. During those, gears spin like wild boars on a spit, pulled by the only force of a spring rolled up on itself.

Obviously, I know that these fitting and fascinating components were essentially produced and decorated by five-axis CNC machines. I know the robotized arms of said machines handle their tools during oil application, and that, except for the oil bit, all this does probably not differ much from the production chains of the smartwatches I do not want.

Wear a connected watch ... No way! Wear a connected watch ... No way!

But there is quite a difference. Indeed, a mechanical watch is a poetic digest of human genius, a technical feat that we can understand because its functioning is the result of a series of causes and effects that are closer to our logic. Hence, our minds try to solve them in the same way they would try to find the way towards the exit of a labyrinth. Contrary to that, the only thing to learn about in a smartwatch is its marketing plan. But no one understands or even wants to understand what goes on inside it.

A few scaremongers

I have found some scaremongers who talk about connected invasion on the internet. They have predicted the imminent extinction of mechanical watchmaking and have even gone as far as quoting each other to better substantiate their theories. To me, they are like tourists sitting on the beach and gazing at the sea each morning while repeating "A storm is coming".

So, one day the storm obviously comes and proves them right and they are thrilled at their foresight. But that is no big deal because storms at sea occasionally happen and technological progress will always bring something new to watchmaking. And yes, along the way, there will be some hard knocks, some violent bumps that will even throw passengers off. Nevertheless, my left wrist will always be reserved for my watch.

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