Who Still Wears Watches Anyway?

My mother finds it completely incomprehensible that there are people who go through life without owning a watch. Given that this is a woman who doesn't understand that mobile phones only work if you do, in fact, turn them on, it is hardly surprising that she also doesn't understand how a phone can replace a timepiece.

She has it in her head that she wants to buy me a watch. I don't wear a watch. I have had this conversation with her about 17 times but she is irretrievably convinced that if I HAD a watch, I would wear a watch. So.

Watches - anyone? Do you go for timeless classic on the assumption that you are probably never going to fork out cash for a watch ever again - or do you go for something fashionable you might actually wear?

She is bound and determined to buy it from here (because my brother's watch came from there - some sort of sibling equality issue - who knows) so that limits choices a little bit - though they certainly have a mind boggling range of watches.  

I am particularly loving white straps - This Marc Jacobs number is gorgeous and I also like this Michael Kors - but... white. I am basically a dirt magnet. Unfailingly, if there is mud/dirt/grime I WILL attract it. And pen. Within 10 minutes (literally) of buying a gorgeous new bag from Accessorise I had marked it with blue biro. All the more baffling is the fact that I had not touched a blue biro. So white. Not the best idea.

So probably something with a metal strap is better. But they all remind me of my Nan. And while I am all about the vintage (as mentioned on here previously) my Nan is not exactly my fashion icon.

Help? No really... help. Whatever I choose I WILL have to wear it - at least whenever mum might pop round. Which is usually unannounced. 


This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Aziraphale replied 9 years ago

    Pick a watch your really like, and think of it as a stylish bracelet that also happens to tell the time. Don't get a 'timeless classic' that you think is boring, because it will annoy you every time you wear it. :-)

    I started a thread a while ago entitled 'Are watches over?', and it triggered an avalanche of bristly responses, particularly from older women.

    I asked the question out of simple curiosity, since I myself have not worn a watch for years -- probably since I got an iPhone -- and I find it quite freeing not to have anything on my wrist. (Mind you, I'm on a minimal-accessory kick in general). Anyway, my suggestion that perhaps watches are becoming irrelevant was met with hostility from those who like them and find it easier to check the time by glancing at their wrist. On this forum at least, watches are popular. 

    I think of watches as a relic of a bygone era, but they nevertheless can be a handsome piece of jewellery, and useful, to boot -- they do, after all, tell time. If I ever start wearing a watch again, it will be for the look of the thing. There are indeed some gorgeous watches out there.

    ETA I am 42.

  • Jeanie replied 9 years ago

    It's funny you mention this.  I do still wear my watches but none of them actually work!!  I still like the look of a watch as a simple piece of statement jewelry but I tired of having to gets batteries when I don't really need them for the time.  If someone ever asks me for the time, I will be pulling out my phone!  I would get something classic like this Marc Jacobs with a gold band.  It will go with everything.  Or you could do silver if you prefer silver jewelry.
    If you get something visually appealing to you, you can just think of it as cool jewelry and your mom will be happy too!

  • Thistle replied 9 years ago

    I am not yet 40. I started wearing a watch a few years ago for the fashion element AND because it is rude to check your phone in a meeting, even if just to check the time. Especially if there are executives in the meeting.

    I have two watches that I wear a lot. A silver Burburry and a gold Movodo. Both are larger, more like bracelets. I took my time choosing them as they were pretty expensive for me, but as I wear one almost every work day, my cost per wear has already become quite low.

  • Aziraphale replied 9 years ago

    Thistle -- yes, if I worked in an environment where I had to sit in meetings, I'd probably get a watch for just that reason -- i.e. being able to surreptitiously check the time! ;-)

  • rachylou replied 9 years ago

    Lol, I still wear a watch - although there's a plot against me to stop (jewelry is a safety hazard). I like the classic look of the "tank watch" personally. I find metal watches get heavy and clank around.

    I love the silence and the quickness of the watch. You don't have to wait for a watch to "wake-up." You also don't have to see how many people are texting you and leaving voicemails, promising to suck your time up in a black hole of 1) going through all their stupid messages and 2) responding to them..."I'm 10 minutes a way... I'm around the corner... I'm pulling up in front of your house... I'm here"...

    Why do people have to text me that they're here when I can see them out the window? Hello! I have all the YouTube videos to watch that they sent me. I'm busy.

  • replied 9 years ago

    I've been wearing a watch since the dawn of time, and feel naked without one on my wrist. Even though I have a cell phone, I think of a wristwatch as a piece of jewelry as much as a time piece.

  • Alexandra replied 9 years ago

    I wear mine all the time. The phone may be in another room, in my purse, or whatnot. The watch is right there. Mine is metal so, as Aziraphale said, it's more like a bracelet that also tells the time.

  • Janet replied 9 years ago

    Uh yeah, I'm old. Because I wear and like my watches. I like Az's suggestion to think of it as a cool bracelet that tells time.

  • Angela K replied 9 years ago

    I went through a "no watch" phase, but I find that I really like the look of a nice watch.  IMO it adds a classic finishing touch to any outfit and I do feel rather naked without my watch.  I have many but find I gravitate toward the most recent one that was a gift from my mother.  I enjoy wearing it and I think of her whenever I check the time 

  • Gaylene replied 9 years ago

    If you really don't think you'd ever wear a watch, maybe you need to sit down with your mom and tell her why you'd prefer a beautiful bracelet or pair of earrings as your "sibling-equivalent" gift. Your mom might be stubborn enough to continue thinking you ought to wear a watch, but, if you use some tact and sensitivity In explaining why you'd prefer something you'll wear constantly and think of her love and generosity every time you put it on, she might see the wisdom of not giving you a gift that you'll leave in the drawer.

    As a member of the pre-computer/smartphone generations, I still wear a watch even though I use my phone to check the time. It's a combination of habit, memories of the person who bought it for me, and, less important, functionality. Your mom might want to give something that is an enduring symbol of her love for you--and, traditionally, that often meant a very good watch. Maybe you could help her see another piece of jewelry as an equivilent?

  • rabbit replied 9 years ago

    Lol, I'm a relic at 42 in that I still don't have a smart phone. (Call me when the plans get below 15$ per month, until then I borrow my DH's when needed and have a basic cell). I work with my hands and they are often messy, so having a bombproof watch that can get regularly coated with clay or plunged into water is much easier for me than messing around with unlocking a phone.  I don't want to have to hold something in my hand and check the time at the same time because I'm usually either muddy, driving, excercising, or carrying bags when I check it.   I say pick something that you like the look of as an accessory, but is pretty tough and won't pick up stains if possible.

    ETA: or what Gaylene says, see if you could direct her toward something that would be both useful and beautiful for you.

  • jackiec replied 9 years ago

    I absolutely still wear a watch, and love it. I stopped wearing watches when my boys were babies/toddlers because I was so paranoid about somehow clipping their little heads with my watch. But my DH got me a beautiful watch on a significant bday and I jumped right back on board wearing a watch. It's habit for me and I feel naked without it on. I still use my smartphone, but honestly, I still check my wrist even if I've forgotten to put on my watch.

  • Liz replied 9 years ago

    I'd recommend a generous kindness toward your mother. Let her give you a watch. 

  • AviaMariah replied 9 years ago

    I am 40 and it drives me crazy not to have a watch on.  I find that my phone is not always readily available like a watch.  And yes the subtle factor in work can play a part too.  I just bought my 2 yr old DD a watch for her bday because she is obsessed with "momma's clock" so future generations may still wear them!!

  • PalmFronds replied 9 years ago

    Oh my , I LOVE watches and I am in my 30's. I think of them as jewelry, arm accessories but also ofcourse functional. I prob own 6 of them, link, leather and sport. Double strap. Open gold bracelet watch for going out. Single strap. You name it! I personally hate seeing people or myself looking at their phones for the time avd these days I am one of those people because I don't wear watches when holding my baby( which is a lot of the time). I really miss my watches! There are so many styles out there I am sure you could fine one( or more!) that work for you, even if it's a dress up watch :-)

  • approprio replied 9 years ago

    Who wears watches? That's an interesting question. Many watch enthusiasts are actually much more interested in aesthetics and technology than in simply telling the time.

    I have two watches which I wear regularly. One's a classic men's automatic, an heirloom piece which I wear most days, the other is a digital number with sports computer and satellite connection - in other words wearable tech. 

    I'm actually quite tempted by the Apple Watch just now, but only because I'm a huge nerd and I can't afford a Rolex. 

  • replied 9 years ago

    I love watches and always have. I wear my mom's old watch from the 1950s and have some newer ones and ones from over 30 years ago that I wear.

    My DD on the other hand does not own 1 single watch and does not want one even after asking perhaps she would like one for Christmas.

    So if she insists on buying you a watch you could consider a dressy one that you only wear for special occasions or a sports watch that again you would only wear at certain times.

    If getting a watch makes her happy let her do it. I have a drawer full of stuff that my mom gave me before her death that I have never worn or used. It is a nice way to remember her.

  • Linda replied 9 years ago

    Even though I have and use my I Phone, I still love wearing my watch.  However, I am of the "older" generation.  I don't wear very much jewelry, but I almost always wear my watch.  My current one is a classic gold and stainless Baume & Mercier Rivierra.  My husband bought it for me for an anniversary present  five years ago, and it makes me happy everytime I look at it!  It's not too exciting, but classic and timeless.  The watches on the page that you linked to are mostly "fashion" watches, except for the reconditioned Rolexes. I'd go for the white band if that's what you think you would like and wear. I don't know what your relationship with your mother is, but as a mother of two 30 something watch-wearing adult children, I would appreciate their honesty, as I want to buy them gifts that they really want, not something that would make me happy.  If you are only buying it to please your mother, something is really wrong with the gift!  My daughter wears a Tag Heuer and my son currently wears an orange plastic $5 digital watch.  Go figure!

  • Simone replied 9 years ago

    I'm 34 and always wear a watch. I only have two, one in gold and one stainless steel. I've had both for well over a decade and still love them. I have to admit I have a smart phone but am generally unaware of it's exact position, I just leave it lying around everywhere...

    Nevertheless, if you can't see yourself wearing it, I agree with the poster who suggested a bracelet or earrings instead. Wouldn't something of roughly the same value be just as okay, sibling equality wise? That would seem a more important factor than the store?

  • replied 9 years ago

    I won't get into the wear-or-not debate here - doesn't really matter what we all do anyways . You're the one who has to wear it!  But I will answer this:  I have a white banded watch with a big silver and white face and I absolutely LOVE it. I wear it only in the summer months sort of as a way to save the strap from getting too grungy looking. It've worn it now for 2 summers, and it still is in perfect condition. It didn't get as dirty as I expected it to, which could also be because it's a faux-alligator stamped leather band.  I find the white can go from dressy to sporty, and also enhances a tanned arm :)   I am so glad I bought it and ignored my inner voice telling me it was impractical.  It's pictured below - and mine has silver hardware instead of the gold.  

  • gryffin replied 9 years ago

    I love a watch but I consider it, as others have said, a functional piece of jewelry.  The first is actually my everyday watch - I know very fine and dressy but it's a signature and with my white gold and diamond wedding/engagement rings and diamond studs I always feel polished.  Also I don't carry my phone with me at work and I like to check the time.  The second is a fun piece - it's a self winding, working skeleton watch and oversized.  I always thought they were cool, I wear it instead of a statement bracelet.  I do like things from bygone eras - antique furniture, porcelains, silver, vintage jewelry, gracious entertaining - things were made to be beautiful with great attention to craftsmanship and made to last.  I think there is a graciousness that has been lost in our time- that makes me sad.  That being said Rhea - I do agree with Gaylene that your mom probably wants to get you exactly that, something beautiful, crafted that you will enjoy for a life time.  I would see if you can find a compromise.  Also there used to be watch bracelets where you needed to flip a hinged lid to see the watch - that might be something to explore.  Also men's pocket watches can be worn on a chain as a large pendant and they are really beautiful.  Most have decorative covers so you'd get hidden watch as gorgeous pendant and who does not need a gorgeous long pendant on ocassion?  Just some thoughts for you!!

  • Diana replied 9 years ago

    I wear one every day.  If I forget it, I find myself looking at my bare arm all the time!  And yes, I have a smart phone too, but I still like to wear (and use!) the watch. 

    Mine all have leather bands, since I do not find the big metal bands comfortable. 

    My husband has a pocket watch that he wears on occasion.  It's a really fun statement, especially since he has taken to wearing vests a lot.  If I wore clothing that had appropriate pockets for pocket watches, I would consider it too! 

  • Aziraphale replied 9 years ago

    Side note -- want to hear something funny? I recently made the alarming discovery that my eleven-year-old does not know how to tell the time. From an analog clock face, that is. I was initially astonished, but when I thought about it, I realized that there are literally no working analog clocks in the house. None of us wears a watch. We have digital clocks everywhere -- on the computer, on the oven, on the microwave, on our handheld devices. The kids both have bedside alarm clocks, but they are digital too. We do have one beautiful antique mantlepiece clock that I inherited from my grandmother, but since it has a loud, irritating tick-tock, I never run it. 

    Once I'm done this semester, I'm going to sit down with both kids for half an hour and teach them how to read an analog clock face. But I think this anecdote speaks volumes about the the growing quaintness of analog anything in this rapidly modernizing culture!

  • Marilyn replied 9 years ago

    My husband would whole-heartedly agree with you.  But I never leave the house without my watch.....I feel lost without it.  Like Diana, if I forget it I find myself constantly checking a bare wrist.  Mine is a silver Fossil watch.

    That said, I don't love the idea of people forcing things on you that THEY think you need.  My mother-in-law is like that and she has wasted a tremendous amount of money on things I'll never use. 

  • abc replied 9 years ago

    I always wear a watch.  Under 40.  I travel a lot and until recently you couldn't have electronics on in the airplane.  It drove me nuts to be sitting at 35,000 feet and not know (A) what time it was or (B) how much time we had until we landed (yes I am one of those people that calculates it on every flight).

    I have two - a white rubber banded one with gold accents and a metal band with diamond face.  Both are Michele brand and I love them and hope to wear them until they die (hopefully no time soon).  Having two suits my lifestyle well, the white being more casual and the metal band one dressier.

    I like the suggestion to look at it as a bracelet that happens to tell you the time.

    And total LOL Rachy

  • Aida replied 9 years ago

    33 here, I wear a watch daily and am definitely a tech person (I'm a computer programmer); though I will say that I personally do not enjoy having my cel phone constantly on my person, which means it's usually in my purse (and I don't want to fiddle with taking it out to check the time) or on a table somewhere at home (and I don't want to get up and look for it to check the time). For my style I prefer larger oversized watches and metal bands in particular. I have a few, but the one I wear most is a rose gold from Fossil (see below).

    I think you've gotten great advice above regarding what to do, and would echo the sentiment to either 1) Try to convince your mum to get you some other form of well-crafted jewelry that you'd get more wear out of, and if that doesn't work then 2) Pick a watch that you like that you wouldn't mind wearing, even if it's just around your mum. The two watches you linked are quite nice, and I'm sure you could find something similar through the store your mum is interested in purchasing from. They also both have some classic elements to them that won't date quickly, so if down the line you suddenly find that you want to start wearing a watch more often, it'll still be plenty current looking.

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 9 years ago

    I agree with Gaylene and Aida; if you really don't want a watch, level with your mom and propose an alternative. Or pick one out that you like aesthetically and have it around for the odd occasion (but don't wear it only when your mom comes to visit; that's just weird. You're an adult I presume, you're allowed to have boundaries and choose what you want to wear irrespective of whether it was a gift from someone you care about.)

    I wear a watch but I know a lot of folks who don't anymore. For me it's a combination of a habit and the distraction effect rachylou describes - if I have to use my phone to check the time I'll only get distracted by texts or emails or what-have-you. And I do still think it's rude when people use their phone to check the time because they aren't paying attention to you anymore. I suppose that when wristwatches were first trendy, they were thought of as rude as well.

    I can't remember where I first read about it but did you know that wristwatches were only the domain of women for a long time, and men carried pocket watches? Then watches got more precise and wristwatches were worn a lot by troops during the wars at the turn of the 20th century - the Boer war, the Spanish-American War, then WWI - and became a masculine artifact, so much so that a lot of women of my grandmother's generation had brooch watches or no watches at all.

  • L'Abeille replied 9 years ago

    Re: Aziraphale's comment: My kids are all in their 20s and I realized they never really "thought" in analog time either, due to so many digital readouts. Now (I think!) they can all actually tell time from a clock face, but they don't really THINK that way--so, for example, I have to say "come at 9:40" because "20 to 10" may not ring any bells, or the wrong ones. (They had to explain this to me.)

    As for me, I even sleep with my watch on. If I leave it off by mistake, I sleep in because my subconscious thinks I must be on vacation. I pilfered DH's watch when we were on a canoe trip as newlyweds, and we spent the next week going "what time do you think it is? Should we ask those people in that canoe?"

    As for your dilemma--I'm not sure. I like to think that for my own kids, I would choose the gift they would actually use. But for your mom, a watch may have different resonance than jewellery--"You are an adult now" vs "Here's a pretty bauble for a pretty girl".

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 9 years ago

    I wear a watch most days but like others, my watches are a piece of jewellery for me.  I also have both an android and blackberry.  I don't take them with me to meetings.  I find it a bit inappropriate for people to check their messages during a meeting.  I feel the same way about friends checking messages during dinner.  :)  

    I have the same rose golf fossil that Aida has as well as a man-sized square stainless with gold accents and a le mer.  I am thinking about getting a teal green nixon for a hit of color.

    No one should wear something they don't choose to wear so if you are truly opposed to a watch, perhaps your mom could get you earrings or a bracelet instead.

  • Staysfit replied 9 years ago

    I love my watch.  I still  use it.  I have my cell phone with me all the time, but for time and date, I use the watch.  Old habits die hard I guess.  Mine is a Buluva mixed metal watch with, date and a second hand.  It's the longest lasting watch I've ever owned. I've had more expensive watches, but this one has been the best.  Oh, I just noticed, it's doing that double click thing when the seconds go by which means it's time for a new battery!  Good thing you posted, or I might not have looked so closely!  I have to head to the jeweler tomorrow!!

  • MsMary replied 9 years ago

    I wear a watch and love it, but I'm old.

    I'm so old, in fact, that I remember my second-grade math workbook with "time pages" in which there were pictures of clocks and we had to tell the time, and also, I think, calculate, for example, how many minutes between the time on Clock A and the time on Clock B.  (Ha!  They still exist!)

  • Meredith replied 9 years ago

    Are you able to be honest with her that you will wear the watch only once a month or so? So that you don't feel like you HAVE to wear it all the time? If she's okay with that I do think you'd find a reason to wear it. I'm 31 and find a watch to be much more discrete for checking the time in my work setting. But if you think you can convince her to buy a bracelet or something more desirable, go for it. But back to watches...I like the two that you picked and maybe the white isn't such big deal if you don't wear it often? Have you ever tried a magic eraser to touch up white leather? Also, straps are pretty easy to replace. Or, is there an option in rose gold? I seem to recall you posting on that subject in the past.

  • shiny replied 9 years ago

    49 years old and I stopped wearing watches in my late 20s, long before iPhones and laptops. Why? Because I was that anxious kid growing up, the one that got a stomach ache when the school bus was late. I stopped wearing a watch when my kids were born and who needed a watch then - they cried when they wanted to be fed or go to bed and that's all I needed to know what general time it was. 

    Flash forward and because of YLF I can totally see the fashion sense in wearing a watch, something fashionable and more like jewelry. So I do, every now and then, try on a watch as a fashion accessory. But it doesn't last all that long and I am cheap about it and don't invest a lot of $ in it, since fashion whims change so fast. Chunky watch would be great (fashionably) but hard to find the right size when you are 5'0 tall with small wrists -- has to be to scale.

    If I need to know the time I am already surrounded by clocks. Car clocks. Laptop. iPhone. Everyone else's iPhones.

  • Dee replied 9 years ago

    I'm in my early thirties and I always wear a watch. I always feel a little lost without it and keep checking my (empty) wrist. I like being able to know what time it is in meetings or on transit without having to dig out my iPhone.

    I have two Fossil watches. Both are stainless steel. One is chunky with a pink face and the other has an oversized white face. I treat them as jewelry, inasmuch as I don't wear the pink face with crazy colors but goes well with neutrals and I think the oversized one adds a bit of drama to my daily outfits.

  • Aubergine replied 9 years ago

    Rhea, do we have the same mother? Mine always completely means well, but gets oddly stubborn and specific about Things She Thinks I Need.

    I'm in my 30s and have always worn a watch every day for basically the same reasons people have mentioned. I don't always have my phone right with me and, even if I do, it's easier to just look at my wrist than drag the phone out. I like how a nice watch looks as an accessory and, since putting one on is so automatic for me, it's a really low-effort way to look a little more put-together. And Thistle's point about meetings is key! Same thing for any situation where you're counting down the minutes until it's over, but are too polite to want to make it obvious.

    I have two watches I wear regularly. One's a delicate two-tone metal one that I coincidentally got a few years ago when my parents (by which I mean mostly my mom) gave me money to use towards a nice, "adult" watch for my birthday. The other is a chunky rose gold Michael Kors one with a very similar face to the second one you linked. It turns out that, once I had one nice watch I enjoyed wearing, I wanted another one I could wear when I felt like something a little more statement-y. 

    If you really don't think you'll wear a watch, I like the idea people have suggested of gently seeing if your mom might be open to getting you another piece of special jewelry that you'd wear and appreciate more instead.

  • Karie replied 9 years ago

    I'm an old fashioned gal, I tell time by my watch, not my cell phone. I wear a watch 24/7, the only time I have it off is when I'm in the shower! I have a nice little collection, all trendy/fashionable with one vintage wind-up that was my mother's. 

    I like the first white one the best, but since you don't have good experiences with white, you might want to see if it comes in black!

  • Jaime replied 9 years ago

    Another watch wearer - I don't feel like pulling out my phone to check the time in a lot of circumstances, and, maybe more importantly, I am one of those compulsively on time people that needs to know what time it is! Regardless, it is a shame to accept a gift that you won't use, but I will leave the family dynamics up to you.

  • PromOutfitters replied 9 years ago

    I still wear watches. I think watches are one of the most classic accessory.

  • Astrid replied 9 years ago

    I wear a watch almost everyday and I do it to look at the time. I'm seeing my watch as a watch first, an accessory second. I do have a smartphone, but honestly I'm not looking at it 24/7. Often my phone is somewhere in my bag and digging it out just to look at the time would make me crazy.  That said, if you wouldn't want to wear a watch, be honest and tell your mum. I think there's nothing wrong with being honest about which present you would like (or not) and why. Just do it in a tactful way. Getting a nice watch you won't wear is a waste of money.

  • chadya replied 9 years ago

    Tell you Mother that buying this "present" will be a waste of money and that if she wants to buy you something you would like _____ instead.
     I have learned there is no purpose served in buying something for someone that you want to give them but they don't want. 

    Consider how much space is devoted here to purging unworn, unused and unwanted things.

  • Quietgirl replied 9 years ago

    I am older too.Nonetheless, I have a very large silver DKNY watch (5 years old!) that I am still wearing and loving. The shiny cream leather band that came with it wore out and I replaced it with a metal band last spring. I also have a large gold watch with a black leather band for when I am wearing gold hardware.

    A watch is a fashion staple for me but it sounds like not for you.

    I am wondering if there something under the surface with this ongoing "discussion" with your mom? Aubergine and Meredith are also asking you a similar question. Just something to consider!

  • replied 9 years ago

    I own two watches.  I don't wear them and both of their batteries have been dead for a long, long time.  I still have them though so if I ever get around to replacing the batteries, I might wear them.  

  • deb replied 9 years ago

    60+ here and I stopped wearing watches years ago before mobile phones could tell time. I always considered them jewelry when I did wear them, though. Here is a pictorial of the history of the mobile phone.


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