I divorced with… Apple Watch [ENG 🇬🇧]

🇬🇧->🇵🇱 Przejdź do polskiej wersji tego wpisu / Go to polish version of this post

On February 2, 2024, my official relationship with the Apple Watch SE (2nd gen.) came to an end. As I write this post, my new love has already arrived and permanently settled on my wrist, while the ex hasn’t even started looking for a new home. Okay, enough of this low-level comedy. The point is, I decided to replace the aforementioned smartwatch with the apple logo with the Casio G-Shock, specifically the model labeled GBX-100NS-1ER.

What bothered me about the Apple Watch

Now as I think about it, there are quite a few things. First and foremost, the battery that lasted about 2 days. It’s not a terrible disaster, but I had to remember to charge it at the right time. Some charge it at night and don’t have this problem, but I sleep with it because it’s my alarm clock and also monitors the quality of my sleep as a side effect. Secondly, the durability. This annoyed me even more than the battery. Apple boasts about using some space-age glass to protect the screens of their watches, but in practice, it’s as easy as pie to create a scratch that will annoy you relentlessly. I don’t know about the durability of the Ultra series, but I haven’t fallen on my head to spend so much money on a watch that is not an investment but just a product that will become electronic waste in a few years. My durability comment refers to the standard series and even the one for poor (or maybe just sensible?) people like me, namely the SE. Third and last of the main complaints, the Apple Watch does everything except what a watch is created for, which is showing the time. This is partially related to the battery because nothing has annoyed me lately as much as the black screen on a discharged watch just when I don’t have my phone with me and need to check the time, and I forgot to charge it. I realize I sound like a total old fogey now, but when did we forget that the main function of a watch is to measure time? Here’s a little easter egg, pay attention to the featured image I prepared for this post – Apple Watch displaying only the time, and G-Shock packed with information on the dial. At this point, I’m winking 😉

In summary, my grievances against the Apple Watch are the fact that it lacks the essence of a watch. I also feel that all the available features in it were somehow not for me, and I couldn’t see any use for them, so I simply didn’t use them. All of this led to the time for changes and opening up to other options.

What I expect from a watch

We’ve already established that I want to read the time for a watch. It would be nice to also know the date and day of the week. The battery should ensure that I won’t have to worry every day (or even every other day) whether I have enough energy to survive until the next charge. Additionally, the appearance matters to me, focusing more on the image rather than elegance. Watches from the G-Shock series can’t really be called elegant, yet it’s a brand that is respected. Maybe it’s not suitable for a suit (although I wouldn’t have a problem wearing a sporty G-Shock with a suit), but wearing it certainly doesn’t bring shame. Add to that a reasonable price and excellent durability, making it a paradise for every gadget enthusiast, for whom a one-time expense on equipment that will last for years is the ideal situation.

All the above requirements don’t seem extravagant. However, I have a somewhat specific requirement. I need a watch that, firstly, has an alarm function and, secondly, this function will be realized through vibrational signals, not auditory ones. It all comes down to the fact that I wake up every day between 5:00-5:30, and there’s no need for me to wake up the rest of the household, especially my wife, during this time. Too bad she doesn’t read this; maybe she would finally appreciate how I care about her comfort. Choosing the functions of a watch to ensure comfort for a partner is probably the highest sacrifice I can imagine at the moment. A heroic act, without a doubt! 😉

How about a mechanical watch

Mechanical watches, alongside vinyl records, are the biggest revelation of the decade, experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Or maybe they never stopped being popular? I’m not sure because I’m not that deep into the topic, but one thing I know for sure – mechanical watches have a huge and very loyal fan base. It seems to me that in some cases, it may even be a kind of cult. A decent mechanical watch is a status symbol. Prestige and wealth represented by a device placed on the wrist. Of course, everything depends on life priorities, but it’s not surprising that it is so, considering that some watches of this type cost even hundreds of thousands of euros… Sometimes when I browse through watch offers/collections, I wonder if there is a price limit above which you can’t buy a watch anymore. If there is, I can’t determine how much it is. However, not only the price is essential. For a true collector, the soul of the watch matters, maybe accompanied by some sentiment (e.g., an old watch from a grandfather) or a connection to an event for which a limited edition was released. The heart of such a watch is a miniature mechanism, which in the case of some models is a true work of art.

Returning to the topic, it seems that a mechanical watch should meet all my modest requirements:
✅ displays the time,
✅ most models have a date display, which may not show the day of the week, month, or year (although some watches do), but it indicates the day of the month (1-31), which is sufficient for me,
✅ the battery is not a problem because such watches don’t have one; they operate based on a spring and a mechanism that is manually wound every two days (hand winding) or automatically through energy harvested during hand movement (automatic self-winding),
✅ despite the complex construction and miniaturization of the mechanism, mechanical watches are generally more durable than a typical smartwatch,
✅ appearance is a matter of taste, so I’ll leave that without comment, but it’s certainly easier to find an elegant mechanical watch than a smartwatch,
✅ for the price of an Apple Watch, you can buy a very cool mechanical watch.

But what about my requirement for a vibrating alarm? Unfortunately, it’s not something popular in mechanical watches, although some of them have it. Such additional features beyond the basic capabilities of a watch are called complications. This term perfectly fits my situation because the need for this function significantly complicated the process of finding the right mechanical watch, limiting my choices and thereby raising the price I would have to pay for such a gadget. The outcome was that when I finally found a model with a vibrating alarm, either I didn’t like it visually, or it was horrendously expensive. At that moment, I realized that I needed to change my approach.

I’ve always wanted a G-Shock

I was born in ’92, so during my childhood, there was a craze for Casio watches, specifically the G-Shock family. Such a watch, alongside a Gameboy, was what every young boy dreamed of. Unfortunately, it was a challenging period in Poland, and not many could afford such a luxury. Now, with better times, being an adult and starting to earn my own money, the teenager from those years woke up in me. I decided it was the perfect time to fulfill my childhood dream. Is this already a midlife crisis? I found an incredibly useful knowledge base called Shockbase – Casio G-Shock Database. Using such a tool is a necessity because there are plenty of G-Shock watches on the market, and models often differ only in subtle nuances. I started filtering the database by selecting the criteria Function: Vibration. This already narrowed down the search results significantly. The second criterion was the battery life. After clicking through several entries and examining what I could expect, I concluded that I was looking for a model that runs on a CR2032 battery, and its cataloged battery life on one such cell is approximately 2 years. I’m aware that the actual result won’t be that spectacular, but even if it’s about 1 year of operation, as suggested by the opinions of people who own such a watch, it will still be more than a satisfactory achievement for me. The search results were narrowed down to only a few options, from which it was easy for me to choose based on what I liked visually. The choice fell on the aforementioned model GBX-100NS-1.

First impressions

I think I’ll write a separate post in which I’ll delve more into the watch I bought and compare it to the Apple Watch. I don’t want to do it in this post because it would be too long. At this moment, after a few days of using the G-Shock, I can already say that I’m satisfied with the decision I made. It meets all my requirements and even a bit more than I need. Additionally, although I somewhat escaped from the golden cage of the Apple ecosystem, in which I am quite deeply embedded. It’s a refreshing experience. BTW, so far, I can’t explain to my (almost) two-year-old daughter that this watch doesn’t have a touchscreen. It just doesn’t fit in her head! 😉

Questions to the Audience

I know that in my little bubble (mainly on Mastodon), there are many watch enthusiasts. I honestly admit that I’ve become somewhat interested in the topic of watches, and it’s very intriguing. On the other hand, I’m a bit afraid to delve into it because I know it can end for me in very quick bankruptcy. Nevertheless, I’m extremely curious about your opinion regarding my switch, as well as what watches you have, would like to have, or find interesting. I’d love to read about it in the comments here or on Mastodon, or even by email if someone prefers to write to me more privately through the contact form of this blog.

If you liked this post then you can support me! 🙂

Tomasz Dunia

🇵🇱 Z wykształcenia Mechatronik. Z zawodu Główny Konstruktor w PAK-PCE Polski Autobus Wodorowy (Neso Bus). Po pracy Ojciec Roku. W nocy Wannabe Programista. Wszystko to daje przepis na zwykłego nerda :) 🇬🇧 Mechatronics by education. By profession Chief Constructor in PAK-PCE Polish Hydrogen Bus (Neso Bus). After work Father of the Year. At night Wannabe Programmer. All this gives a recipe for an ordinary nerd :)


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9 komentarzy

  • john fink ok!! :goat:

    14 lutego, 2024 / at 4:05 pm

    @to3k I liked your post! I've never owned a smart watch, let alone an Apple, so I can't really speak to your particular problems with it but I think I would be *really irritated* by the 2 day charge thing and also, yes, uh, telling the time? on a watch? Is important?

    I have a g-shock — the GWM5610U-1, so not quite as fancy as yours, but it is absolutely my favourite digital watch. They're just terrific.

  • Maciej Maciejewski :verified:

    14 lutego, 2024 / at 4:33 pm

    @to3k fajny wpis. Ja dochodzę do wniosku, że trochę uzależniłem się od funkcji garminoeych i grywalizacji. Jak nie założę Garmina to nie zrobię kroków, nie podołam wyzwaniu, itp. Trochę znalazłem rozwiązanie gdyż po za Fenixem, mam hybrydę Vivomove czyli zegarek do garnituru ze smart.

    Ale Citizen od 2 lat leży z tarczą skierowaną w słońce co by się nie rozładował, bo kondziorek będzie do wymiany. Leży też gdzieś mechaniczny Seiko i jakiś G-Shock.

    Właśnie doszedłem do miejsca gdzie uzależnienie od smart kroków i wyzwań sprawiło że ciężko założyć coś innego.

  • FediGauff

    14 lutego, 2024 / at 5:53 pm

    @to3k So fun! A few weeks ago I stopped using my #AppleWatch , and since yesterday I'm in love with my new #Casio (GBD-200, very close from your model)!

  • PPN

    27 lutego, 2024 / at 8:14 pm

    @to3k interesting read. I am also thinking about ditching the Apple Watch but my perspective and dilemma are very different from yours. I used to wear watches but stopped when I started wearing smartwatches instead 10 years ago. I went through OG Pebble, Pebble Time, OG Apple Watch, AW Series 3 and now AW Series 8. My main issues are that I find the AW kind of ugly but it is so versatile and useful that my watches don’t get much wrist time anymore.

    • PPN

      27 lutego, 2024 / at 8:28 pm

      @to3k The 2 days battery life of an Apple Watch is also weirdly anxiety-inducing despite my knowing that I will never really be affected by that issue since I don’t use it for sleep tracking and charge it everyday on one of those bedside wireless charging stations. But an AW battery life never feels quite as reassuring as the 5 days battery life of a Pebble smartwatch, the self-winding of my mechanical automatic watches or my solar-powered Citizen watch.


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    I divorced with… Apple Watch [ENG 🇬🇧]