Which Watch to Watch

I do love my gadgets, it must be said. I try to keep my gadgets to things that I use frequently, and the best gadgets for me are those that have a long life span, such as my NAS boxes that I use for backup and streaming films to TV: yes, they are old but they still work fine and do what I need them to do.

At the end of 2018 I bought myself an Apple Watch 4. I had dallied with smart watches a few years ago but didn’t really feel they were ready for me. I don’t mind being an early adopter but only if the stuff I adopt early fulfils a requirement, and in 2013 they didn’t. But I was intoxicated by the heart monitoring capabilities of Watch 4, along with its ability to track my cycling and swimming efforts and so I got one. Very impressive.

Early in 2019 I broke it. I took a nasty fall on my bike (front wheel caught in tram lines – not fun) which damaged the display on my beautiful Apple watch. The watch noted I had taken a fall and, after checking I hadn’t died or was in need of medical assistance, it continued to work ok. Apple’s repair policy isn’t that great with their watches: if you are stupid enough to buy one without Apple Care then you option is essentially to throw it away and buy a new one. Well, I didn’t do that because the watch still worked, it just wasn’t as shiny as before. Then I went swimming with it…

Bit stupid really, but there you go, and the upshot was that the watch was properly dead. What to do? Obviously I could buy a new one, or wait until the Watch 5 came along a few months later, or think different. I chose the latter option and bought an Omega Seamaster Professional. I love it. The quality is superb and it is a beautiful piece of jewellery but let’s not kid ourselves: jewellery is all it is. Sure, it keeps great time being accurate to a second per day, but if I need to know the time I can glance at the computer screen that is usually in front of me, or my phone that is always with me: I don’t need a watch. But the Seamaster is a mechanical piece of luxury that looks stunning and feels right.

The problem is that my Omega doesn’t monitor my heart rate, doesn’t check my bike routes and doesn’t count laps in the pool (though it is water resistant to a faintly ridiculous 300m). And having had an Apple Watch I kind of like the idea of having my movements checked, to make sure I am closing my rings or whatever the incentive is. Sure, I could buy an Apple Watch 5 – but then what? I’d look silly wearing two watches and if I wore the Apple in place of the Omega, what would I do with this beautiful jewellery? Never wear it? No point having it.

So my current solution is to wear a wrist band on my right wrist to perform the health monitoring duties and keep the Omega on my left wrist. That way it won’t look like I’m so obviously wearing two watches. Actually I don’t really even need a screen with it, if I can use my phone to collect and visualise the data it collects. The question is which gadget? Something like the Garmin Vivosmart looks like the right sort of thing: it is a bracelet and can track heart rate and cycling distances, but though it is waterproof it won’t track swimming. Shame, but it is the closest I have seen to my needs so far. The Fitbit Charge 3 looks good too but I hear the device quality isn’t great and customer service shocking.

I’m finalising my choices now and the Garmin looks to be the best solution for me. If so, I’ll report back on my findings once I’ve used it for a while. But one thing is pretty certain.

I won’t cycle with my Omega!

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