Is it OK to Love a Smartwatch? An In-Depth Review of the Apple Watch Series 5

Is it OK to Love a Smartwatch? An In-Depth Review of the Apple Watch Series 5

I Have a Secret. 

I am a hard-core mechanical watch enthusiast and I have a secret. It’s something that I tend to keep to myself, and in the past I have tried to hide it in conversation, photos, and Instagram posts. It’s not that I am ashamed of it, per se, it’s just that it’s something that has never really been accepted into the niche watch world where I frequently engage with other watch enthusiasts.

In a world full of gleaming Rolexes, Pateks, and Tudors, I worry that my secret will discredit me-- or at the bare minimum brand me not a “real” watch enthusiast. For years I pushed off the desire, but then one day, I just caved. Will my peers accept me if they know my secret? It’s time to find out. Here it goes.

I have an Apple Watch, and to be honest, I love it.


apple watch



The Great Debate

Let me start by first saying that there is great debate over whether or not an Apple Watch is actually a “watch.” According to an independent and highly scientific study done by me on Instagram, 64% of watch guys voted that the Apple watch is in fact, not a watch. It is a piece of technology that is worn on the wrist and tells time, and while we aren’t saying it’s a “watch,” it is technically called the “Apple Watch” so that is what we will call it.

A Hot Take

So here is my hot take on the topic: In today’s modern world (and yes, even in the watch world), it’s OK to wear and enjoy an Apple Watch. You have permission (not that you need it) to love both a useful and aesthetic piece of horological wrist technology AND a classic Rolex Explorer simultaneously. It is not only OK, but actually really useful.

apple watch

Apple Watch vs Mechanical Watch

An Apple Watch can track your heartbeat, pick up a call from your wife while you’re working out, keep track of meetings and events, and even order a pizza if you want. There’s not a Rolex in the world that can do that. On the other hand, today’s Apple Watch will be absolutely worthless and valueless in 5 years, whereas most Rolexes will still look incredible AND have increased in value at least 25%.

The Apple Watch brings functionality to your everyday life. It allows you to text friends, track your steps, and will even perform an actual ECG on you by simply pressing the crown for a mere 30 seconds! 

The built-in GPS will allow you to find your way to the closest Red Bar Crew Event.  But does it look incredible sitting in your Italian leather watch roll or make a good first impression at a job interview? No. Is it something you will pass down to future generations that will increase in value year after year? Definitely no. Is it a historically-rooted masterpiece of horological ingenuity and precision that somehow only the Swiss can achieve? Not even close.

Top 5 Benefits of the Apple Watch Series 5

apple watch

All of this being said, there are a lot of really innovative and interesting features of the newest Apple Watch (Series 5) that you should know about. At this point, you have hopefully accepted my secret and can get on board with learning more about the Apple Watch. Even if you cannot qualify the Apple Watch as a “watch,” you can certainly see it for the technological benefits that it provides.

Benefit 1: A Focus On Health and Sport

apple watch

The Apple Watch Series 5 is perfect for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellness. It will help you to keep track of calories burned, monitor your heart rate, and can even perform an ECG (electrocardiogram) and detect cardiac irregularities. It comes loaded with a tremendous amount of exercise choices from hiking to rowing to yoga and each one is custom-calibrated to help maximize and track your workouts. With the new “always-on” display you can view the time and your data at any time by just quickly glancing over at your wrist.

apple watch band

One other lesser-advertised feature of the Apple Watch Series 5 is its water-resistance. It is resistant to 50 meters and you can wear it swimming! While swimming it will track your calories, laps, and is even sophisticated enough to keep track of what stroke you are using while swimming and count those strokes for you. On an open water swim, it will track your swim on a map, while also keeping track of strokes, heart rate and calories burned. It also has a cool vibrating feature that allows any additional water or sweat to shake out of your watch if necessary by turning the digital crown.

According to Reuter’s another unusual health benefit is that an Apple Watch or other smartwatches like Fitbits have even been known to detect Covid days sooner than other symptoms show up. Talk about some impressive technology! The best we could do with a mechanical watch in this area is estimate how long Covid might live on your watch

apple watch band

The last feature in the health and sport category that I personally love is the motivation of “closing your rings.” Every day you start fresh with 3 rings: standing, exercise, and movement. Constantly on your wrist, you are gently reminded to stand up, breathe, and get some exercise. It makes you feel good when you close those rings and the watch will send you an abundance of compliments when you do. For personal accountability, you can also share your rings with friends and set up friendly “competitions” among peers if you’re into that sort of thing.

Benefit #2: Increased Connectivity to Others

apple watch band

Whether we like it or not, in this day and age we are constantly connected and plugged in. The Apple Watch Series 5 makes texting, calling, emailing, and connecting simple. Instead of going to your phone you can get the notifications right on your wrist and can respond either by voice, or writing a message with your finger as the pen. You can reply to comments on Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, and many other social media apps. 

This next feature is not new to the Apple Watch,  but it’s something a lot of people do not know about. The watch has a built-in, extremely long range walkie talkie feature. I was able to use the walkie talkie feature with my friend who lives in Champaign IL which is over 200 miles from me! It was cool to be able to “talk” and hear each other’s voices without actually being on a phone call.

apple watch band

Lastly, for all of us instagram and photography lovers out there, the watch can also be used as a remote shutter for photographs, allowing way more flexibility in your wrist shots and other watch photography endeavours! Can’t wait to play around more with this feature!

Benefit #3: Increased Productivity

apple watch band

On the Apple Watch you can access your calendar, set alerts, invites, timers, send emails, organize your meetings, and much more. The Siri feature will look up things for you online, set reminders, call or text friends, make reservations, and all of the other traditional Siri features. Lost your Apple remote in the couch cushions again (seriously why is it so small)? Your Apple Watch can also serve as a remote control for your TV which will come in handy!


One of the most useful features to me is the “find my phone” function which you can see in the top right corner of the watch face below. If you misplace your phone (which happens to me 437 times a day) you can simply press the button on your watch and a loud, sharp “ding” will help you locate your phone! A very small feature that has made a huge impact on my day to day life.

apple watch

 Benefit #4: Endless Color / Strap Combinations and Dial Customizations

apple watch band

As a company who specializes in custom watch straps and looks, this is one of our favorite benefits of the watch. I personally wear the silicone strap and find it to be extremely soft, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. The Apple Watch offers multiple watch strap options from a soft flexible silicone, to metal, fabric, nylon, and leather watch straps. It even has a luxury Hermes line for the most discerning wearers.

apple watch band

The watch case is also available in many materials and finishes. You can choose between stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, and even ceramic. Within those case materials, you can choose between metal finishings as well. Silver, Space Gray and Space Black, Gold (which is definitely much more of a rose gold than yellow gold), Titanium, and White.

apple watch band

Within the watch itself, there are endless customizable dial options, and you can even keep a few favorites set and ready to swap out with the swipe of a finger. You can choose between infographics (my favorite) that give your watch face a bit of a chronograph look, sleek and simple looks with no numbers or indices (just hands), digital looks, character dials like Mickey Mouse, and even custom photo dials. There are currently 34 different watch faces with hundreds of possible variations.

apple watch band

The best part about the infographic dial is that within the infographic, the ability to customize is nearly endless. You can choose which applications and features are important to you and put those right on the dial for easy access. For my daily wear I keep things like the weather, texts, exercise rings, calendar and battery life up front and center. But on my dial for exercise I keep my rings, podcasts, music, and exercise tracker. 

Benefit #5: Other Random Things


So what else can the Apple Watch do? In a review by Digital Trends they noted: It works with Apple Pay, you can store music on it locally (or use Spotify/Apple Music), listen to audiobooks, pair Bluetooth headphones with it, make calls and leave your phone at home with the cellular model, chat with Siri, use a compass, check the weather, use it as a remote camera shutter button, and even practice mindfulness with the Breathe feature. As they reported, “It’s no exaggeration to call the Apple Watch the most fully-rounded, feature-packed, everyday-usable smartwatch you can wear.”

In Conclusion

apple watch band

 As watch guys and as a company in general, we are always supportive of innovation. True “watch” or not, we celebrate time on the wrist, and we absolutely love watch strap combos and custom looks. We love watches not just for their value but also because they enhance our lives in some way. Whether your daily beater is an Apple Watch or an Audemars Piguet, and whether you just wear one, or both at the same time, we support it.

While an Apple Watch certainly makes life easier, it will never replace the pride and joy of owning a real luxury watch. As a company that makes custom watch straps and accessories exclusively for luxury watches, they are truly our passion. We have been asked numerous times to design straps for Apple watches, but we have declined because it’s just not our thing. 

As much as we cherish and adore our Rolexes, Tudors, Panerais, and other mechanical watches, we also love the incredible functionality of the Apple Watch. In today’s modern world, and yes, even in the watch world, we are here to say that it is OK to love both. 

afpple watch band

Technical Specs and Features- Apple Watch Series 5

Finishes: Aluminum (silver, space gray, gold), Stainless Steel (steel, black DLC, Gold PVD), Titanium (titanium, space black), Ceramic (white)

Size: 44mm / 40mm

Display: 977 sq mm / 759 sq mm

Thickness: 10.7mm

Processor: 64-bit dual-core S5 processor

Capacity: 32GB

Display: LTPO OLED Always-On Retina display with Force Touch, 1000 nits brightness, Sapphire Crystal Glass, 3D Touch Display

Bluetooth: 5.0

WiFi: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz

Battery Life: Approx 18 hours

Time to Full Charge: Approx 1 hour


  • Compass
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Water resistant
    50 meters
  • Electrical heart sensor
  • Second-generation optical heart sensor
  • International emergency calling
  • Emergency SOS2
  • Accelerometer
    up to 32 g-forces with fall detection
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Apple Pay
  • GymKit
  • Capacity 32GB

Starting Prices (prices can increase based on strap choice and other features)

  • $399 for base model with aluminum case (GPS), $499 (GPS plus Cellular)
  • $699 Stainless Steel case
  • $799 Titanium case
  • $1249 Hermes line
  • $1299 Ceramic case

Any other Apple Watch owners out there? Leave a comment to let us know we aren’t alone!

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