Ben Clymer is Anna Wintour of the Watch World, an editor of immaculate taste and deep understanding of the watches and their relationship with culture. He is also the founder of Hodinkee (a True Ventures-backed company), that is at the center of all things watches. So it doesn’t surprise me that he got to sit down with Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive to talk about watches in general and Apple Watch in specific. Watch, it seems to me was a Jony Ive Joint.
BC: Did you and Steve discuss watches, and did he have an interest in them?
JI: No, we didn’t talk about watches, or us making a watch. I don’t remember him wearing one either.
Ive, who likes Omega Speedmasters and has been fascinated with watches from early days, explained to Ben, how and why Apple Watch came about. You should read the entire interview, but here are my favorite bits from the conversation:
I don’t look at watches for their relationship to popular culture, which I know is so much of the fun – but rather as somehow the distillation of craft, ingenuity, miniaturization, and of the art of making…..I think the liberty that the Apple Watch has given us is astonishing. And because of that – it’s a little sad – but I don’t find myself wearing many of the watches I’ve collected over the years.
The Apple Watch is part of my life now and it’s hard to live without it, but the one watch that I do find myself admiring is my Nautilus. It’s a bizarre, bizarre object that I have huge affection for. The more you look at it, you struggle with comprehension of its geometry. I do not wear it as much anymore, but it’s a beautiful watch, I think.
Also, I wouldn’t presume to speak for others, but I have so much respect for many of those other brands – Rolex, Omega – because there is the remarkable longevity combined with such an obvious and clear understanding of their own unique identity. It’s rare but inspiring when you see the humble self-assurance of a company that ignores short-term market pressures to pursue their own path, their own vision. Their products seem to testify to their expertise, confidence, and quiet resolve. Their quality and consistency is rightly legendary.
I love this interview, as it explains the exquisite nature of the physical product. It also gives us hints to why the Watch hasn’t been as exciting a platform for app-developers as the iPhone.