The Smart Pocket Watch

iWatch Perspective

At the turn of the twentieth century the pocket watch was an essential item for men, the wristwatch existed but was considered quite feminine due in part to the fact that the technology had not quite caught up to the form factor making them fragile or extremely bulky, and also I think largely due to cultural perceptions at the time. During the course of the first world war everything changed, and a number of products (like the trench coat) found their inception in that event which retain the brand today. Through the course of the war the wrist watch became an appealing option for men because it was perceived as harder to lose and easier to check. This rise in popularity caused the pocket watch to fall from favour, it now exists as a niche product, never having regained its throne as king of timepieces.

iWatch Perspective

This Smart Pocket Watch is a diegetic prototype which examines an alternate history, a world in where the pocket watch never went out of style leaving its form factor as the ideal vehicle for the proliferation of smart objects. The smart phone was adapted from handheld phones through countless iterations, and the telephones of 40 years ago look nothing like the smart phones of today, however the pocket watch bears an uncanny resemblance to these objects we are constantly staring at, a ready made form for the current state of the technology.

iWatch Orthographic

I chose to riff on the design of the iPhone 6 in my diegetic prototype, because it has a distinctive design language and an aesthetic which I admire. I worked from blueprints Apple provides to case designers and tried to reimagine the design considerations of the smart phone in the context of this alternative form factor. I reasoned that buttons on the face of a phone are a skeuomorphic relic of the buttons which existed on the face of the phones preceding them; any button functionality on the smart pocket watch is relegated to the familiar dial or the edges of the device.

iWatch Orthographic

Another interesting question was how exactly the phone's traditional capability would be integrated, would this have been a pivotal feature in the nascent stages of the smart watch revolution? I liked to imagine a closer relationship to PDA's than to phones, leaving voice capability an extrinsic gesture relegated to an attached pair of headphones or headset, and with the watch in our pockets or on a chain most of the time. Phones began their evolution in our hands, what if they had found their inception in our pockets, securely tethered to our person? Would it have occurred to us to keep them there and spend more time in the moment than inside the abstraction represented in their screen?