Stats: The End for the Everyday Wristwatch?

Mr.Ben Strickland will wear a showy watch to a dressy dinner party. A little bling isn't bad if it's 'manly jewelry,' the Brookfield 20-year-old says. But when he wants to catch the time, Mr.Strickland's main dial is his cell phone. His pal, Mr.Nick Wiera, 21, follows the same code. He has several watches collecting dust at his Brookfield home.
'Ever since I was little, I've gotten watches as gifts, but I just don't like them on my wrist,' Mr.Wiera said during a last-minute Christmas shopping trip with friends at Brookfield Square on Friday. 'I usually look at my cell phone, and that's how I tell the time.'
The usefulness of wristwatches -- once a staple gift at holidays, birthdays and graduations -- could be ticking away as young consumers rely more on their arsenal of electronic devices for the correct time. Cellular telephones, MP3 players and iPods all provide the time of day, along with Internet access, cameras, games and an almost endless choice of other bells and whistles.
'I have the cell phone, and it's all I use to look at time,' said Mr.Nathan Hoeppner, 21, of Sussex. 'It would be a duplication of time devices if I would wear a watch.'
Mr.Justin Nahin, 15, of Hartland, said he lost his watch a while ago and hasn't replaced it.
'I found that any electronic device I can get at a store, like an iPod or MP3 player, Game Boy, pretty much has a watch in it,' he said. 'It's common to include a watch in almost any electronic device. It makes watches seem a bit obsolete.'
Mr.Chuck Reardon, manager of the Time Square watch stand at Brookfield Square, said his business has suffered from what he sees as a trend of using cell phones to tell the time.
'I see our business going down because of it,' Mr.Reardon said. 'But I do see a lot more kids buying the fashion watches like 'Fossil'. They're doing that as a fashion statement more than anything, more than a need for a timepiece. 'We sell a lot with the diamonds in them, or the one's that are flashy. 'We don't sell a lot of watches with dull finishes.'
Ms.Allison Nahin, 17, of Hartland, agrees:
'It's more of a fashion thing than to know what time it is.'
Portable timepieces have evolved for more than a century. From quaint gold-plated pocket watches to tough timepieces that endure high altitudes and deep oceans, the product has adapted to consumer demands, until recently. But Mr.Reardon said watches 'will always be around' because manufacturers will find a market by upgrading their uses.
'I'm hoping someday that there will be phones in watches, like "Dick Tracy",' he said.
But that could be a good definition of cell phones. Comic-strip detective 'Tracy' would voice commands to police colleagues by speaking into a watch that was strapped to his wrist. That was about 50 years ago. Today, about 200 million cell phones are in use in the United State of America. Not every young consumer has abandoned tradition.
'I've worn a wristwatch since I was 13 years old, and I feel naked without one,' said Mr.Nick Aliota, 21, of Brookfield. 'I just need to know what the time is.'
But Mr.Aliota's pal, Mr.Ben Strickland, implied that everyday wristwatch wearers are stigmatized as 'uncool'.
'I'm not a "dork" like him,' Mr.Strickland joked. 'I normally check my phone or my iPod. 'I don't need to wear a watch if I've got the time on my cell phone.'
'Is time up for the watch? Young clock watchers turn to cell phones, iPods', DARRYL ENRIQUEZ, Sentinel.com, 2005-12-23


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