As a right below elbow amputee, my choice of what I feel is a good wristwatch interestingly didn't change from beforehand. After always being a great fan of CASIO or INVICTA watches, that funnily remained so.
And it was never a smartwatch and it was never a luxury brand watch.
It's become an issue these days - seemingly, apparently, ostensibly it is a thing and everyone talks about it. Some envy others' brand choices, others believe having the latest gadget is necessary, but there really is almost no way around wrist watches as a subject, much more so than "what mouse", "what keyboard" or "what cell phone" - but the excess visuals and gagdetry are not a part of a real man* world performing real work** - there is no energy or time for such idiocy.
In particular, these points stand out as objectionable or problematic when naming the quintessential "Apple Watch" or another type of smartwatch, particularly in the context of discussing modern options with other people, under the aspect of a particular type of disability (I am almost sure you did forget - but, do check the blog title, will you?):
- smartwatches usually do not offer anything in excess that is super useful for an average user (unless you use it to monitor real-time aspects of a great urgent matter, such as may be epilepsy monitoring and then sending automated messages to a caregiver, or, oxygen saturation in certain conditions);
- smartwatch operation, according to repeated discussion on support groups, may have to be performed using the nose, or tongue by an arm amputee; if you find that particularly hygienic especially given this year and the last two years, go for it - for me, that is one more reason to not use one of these;
- smartwatch wristbands have been reported to be particularly difficult to put on or take off from the view of an arm amputee (so if you read this sitting on two hands, how would you relate?);
- a smartwatch typically is tied to a cell phone; so I had an Apple salesperson walk me through the motions with the Apple Watch, one needs to have an iPhone to run the Apple Watch and that of course is a no-go per se; similarly, other smartwatches seem to be tied to particular cell phone "ecosystems".
So, it was never about you, was it. It was always about me, and people with similar restrictions. Even if you did not keep track. Many years ago, I played around with a Pebble smartwatch, and I was astonished at how little quality it added to a few days of my life experience. It also was really bad at counting swim strokes - not that anyone needed these. But, granted, if there was a smartwatch that would count freestyle, breast, butterfly, backstroke, with obsessive precision, why not - but they do not. None of them do. And then, swim training is fine without any watch on at all - in fact it is a lot better actually, ever tried accidentally banging hands/wrists against someone that wore a watch? When lane swimming? Along the same lines, why would you use paddles? (...) There are therefore very distinct reasons for a no-nonsense choice here.
Real men* never wore any of that type of nonsense - nor did real men* with a unilateral below-elbow amputation ever truly prefer myoelectric arm junk [link], particularly if real work** was at stake. - That much? That much was clear from the get-go, decades ago.
But, what do we wear?
The wristwatch clearly has to...:
1) run a long time without me having to take it off and put it back on all time, so either it's a solar-powered or mechanic automatic watch, and its band is super comfortable; quartz seems ok, but batteries are a hassle and since there are better options there seems no true need;
2) show the time always, also at night, either with a motion sensor activated light or with luminous hands, but without any fiddling,
3) be sufficiently precise so I don't have to set it all the time, so it's either a good automatic movement, or it's radio-controlled,
4) be sufficiently waterproof to survive cleaning with a brush and showering every day,
5) be cheap enough to allow for drama free replacement,
6) really elegant -- from a real work real men* view though, as a robust industrial design, not as a design catastrophe.
* Obviously, "real men" is a tongue-in-cheek term and denotes a hard-working and healthy attitude, not primarily the male sex. The opposite of "real men" is "quiche eaters" [link].
** Maybe also "real work" is a term you do not relate to. That is fine. It was reworded as "physically demanding work", whereas I still look into some better specifications with that regard. Usually, if you wear a stock part prosthesis and it breaks, or breaks soon, then we may be looking at real work [link, link].
A few things won't work:
- A smartwatch violates 1, 2 (it requires fiddling), 5, and for the most part, 6. If I command it using nose and tongue, it will be super gory no matter what.
- A typical Swiss brand luxury watch violates 3, and clearly 5, often also 6. Then I have to set the time every 1-2 days, how unpractical.
- A manual winding watch may be nice but violates 1.
- A quartz watch requires battery replacement, so I think it's dodgy with regard to 1. Quartz watch battery replacement is a great finger / prosthetic arm / extreme cyborging exercise, and as that it is a super nice benchmark, but as far as I know Cybathlon has so far not recognized the beauty of extreme cyborging microworks. So probably to the rest of the world, it may seem irrelevant to see arm amputees racing to swap watch batteries. But I digress.
So, my experience is that these brands work, for real men* doing real work**:
- CASIO solar-powered radio controlled model; particularly the G-Shock series seems a perfect fit for the criteria;
- HEIMDALLR automatic watch (NH35 or NH36); a perfect fit of the criteria;
- INVICTA, PÖTGER-PIETRI, BERGMANN, AEROMATIC, STEINHART automatic watch; they tend to be a bit less precise, maybe, but in return, some models also may be found cheaper;
- BELL&ROSS, SINN, as well as LUMINOX automatic watches, are nice looking and robust but a bit too expensive; they aren't too precise either.
Here's my HEIMDALLR Chinese microbrand watch from Shenzhen, also super luminous, after heavy garden work before, keeping time well over ~4-6 weeks (NH36 movement):
So, if you get yourself a silly brand, such as IWC, Tissot, Rado, Omega, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith, TAG Heuer, or Rolex, an Apple watch or other silly dress parade junk, you may as well wear earrings and other bling. I'm not saying there's anything wrong if that's your choice and you like that style - but it's what one may also wear to show off that one can get by doing just symbolic "work" instead of real work [link], and by and large show off how one manages to live life with long fingernails and wearing e.g. a Hero Arm [link]. So that's not what real men* wear for real work**. It's a style thing too, like, I also don't wear a wig - and that's not because I find something intrinsically "wrong" with that. Nonono - if wearing an Apple watch, earrings or a wig is what you stand for, by all means. It is just obstructive to hot sweat generating physical work, and we may agree that when you cut hedges for two hours at 30 degrees C ambient temperature then you go for gear that suits that environment - and it is the "real men" paradigm that also appears to have programmers were hiking shoes at all times when they are at work (in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of the machine room). There are also people that pour millions into what I see as utterly useless junk level research [link], and what can I say - as long it's their own money, who cares.
But I don't think any of that's what I need as a real man* fixing to do real work**. And maybe, it's also a captain thing that you wouldn't understand.