The Deal About Smartwatches

Smartwatches. They’re a new breed of wearable technology, in the form of wristwatches, with features that go beyond what a simple watch can offer. It seems like a natural progression of things – as all industries need to keep up with the times and that entails embracing new watch technologies. All the while, keeping and developing what’s traditional is also imperative.

The Deal About Smartwatches

Smartwatches are defined as minicomputers that are worn on the wrist. In today’s landscape, any watch that can monitor your heartbeat can count the breaths you take and can assess how many calories you burn on an exercise is considered a smartwatch. 

There are those which give you these basic features, while the most top of the line smartwatches carries apps on them, can deliver and reply to your messages and can field calls. Simply put: smartwatches are extensions to smartphones. They deliver important notifications from your phone, all the while recording vital signs and monitoring your overall health.

While the prevalence of smartwatches is a general indicator that the watch industry is growing, it’s presence is also a threat to traditional watches that use in house movements. Not only it cannibalizes the sales of these watches that precede it, but it also makes the market think that these watches are out of date, and therefore, obsolete and unfashionable.

In fact, this is not true at all. Mechanical watches are still one of the most accurate time tellers on this planet. New watch technologies like HAQ (high accuracy quartz) takes the once-revolutionary quartz movement to greater heights with higher precision and lesser seconds loss per year. These watches are as relevant today as ever.


The first iterations of smartwatches were digital watches, those which tell the time in direct numbers, not with an hour, minute, and second hands. In the 19th century, the first digital pocket watches were made, and it was in fashion then for wealthy men. It wasn’t until 1920 that the first digital wristwatches followed suit.

In 1972, Hamilton revealed the first line of commercial electronic digital wristwatches, to a lukewarm response. A few years prior, the Quartz movement was introduced by Seiko, and the battery-powered movement gained quite the following after its reveal. Digital watches were novelties at the time, so there is quite a polarizing opinion on them.

Since then, the evolution of the digital watch started. At the time, it seemed like watch companies wanted to squeeze out every high-tech feature to be included in their iterations of a digital watch. This era was also the rise in interest for Sci-Fi films and so the demand for tech-forward watches were at an all-time high.

After the initial Pulsar P1 by Hamilton in 1972, Seiko released the first LCD-screen digital watch later that year. The Seiko 06LC maybe the father of the modern digital watch design – with an iconic rectangular- and oval-shaped face with physical buttons underneath it. Just a few years after that, Hamilton answered back with one of the first digital watches that features a calculator.

Texas Instruments (TI) banked on the popularity of Star Wars and released maybe the first-ever under $20 wristwatch dubbed as the TI Star Wars Watch. At this point in time, digital watches were household items and they were so commercialized that you can get one dirt cheap. 

Soon enough, Japanese brand Casio, in conjunction with Nintendo Games released Game-10, a digital watch where you can play mini versions of Zelda and Mario Bros. It wasn’t until 2010 that tech companies looked into watches as the next frontier for their businesses. 

Pebble may truly be the first smartwatch, and it wasn’t without its fault. At the time, Pebble was a small company, and it doesn’t have enough funding to make the smartwatch they are envisioning.

They went to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to present their case, and as history would tell it, it soon became a success story. The initial campaign raised record amounts of funding and went on to sell at least 1 million units. A slew of Android Wear smartwatches followed suit, with different levels of features and integration. 

But in 2015, Apple changed the game by releasing the Apple Watch, a fully-functional smartwatch that’s fully integrated with the iPhone. It has the ability to extend notifications from the phone, and its style wasn’t compromised for function. Today, the Apple Watch is the quintessential smartwatch, with its Android counterparts are trying to keep up with.

What Can Smartwatches Do?

Unlike mechanical watches with heritage and a storied past like the classic Omega Speedmaster, smartwatches can do many things at once. Of course, they can tell the time – that’s the basic requirement. A good smartwatch though should be a part of an ecosystem of sorts and needs to be able to adapt to its wearer’s needs and tech on hand.

Most smartwatches are developed proprietarily by big tech brands. The Apple Watch is part of the Apple ecosystem comprising of iOS, macOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS. For Android devices, the basic operating system used is Google’s Wear suite. Original equipment manufacturers then differ on how they make the smartwatch. 

Samsung, on the other hand, uses its own Tizen OS. Alongside these 3 major brands are a slew of smartwatches intended for specific uses such as hiking, diving, flying, etc. Some smartwatches are standalone pieces and greatly focuses on fitness tracking.

A modern smartwatch’s basic features include but are not limited to: media management, notification delivery, vital signs, and fitness tracking, GPS or GLONASS, applications and a dedicated store to download additional ones, voice dictation, call answering, and great battery life. 

Some other features include calendar integration, the ability to measure distances and track routes for jogging, Map navigation, voice recognition, and early detection of some diseases. In some modern iterations of smartwatches, the ability to check heart rate and identify if its too fast or slow has also been integrated. 

Smartphone manufacturers are always improving upon their own lines of smartwatches and it’s guaranteed that the next iteration is a massive improvement upon its predecessors. This is a piece of great news to end-users, as stiff competition means better products for consumption.


The era of smartwatches is here, and whether you like it or not, it’s going to be a mainstay moving forward. While there is direct competition between classic watches and their modern counterparts, the market seems to have a place to accommodate both. Which ultimately, is good for the industry and the market.

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Article Author Details

Rosie Harman

Rosie Harman has 10 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. Currently she is working for contour tv and writing Pet Blogs.