Rolex and the Apple Watch, Heirlooms and Value

Recently I saw an ad for Patek Phillipe , which got me thinking about their brilliant ad campaign: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”

With that is all the energy around smartwatches, with the most iconic: the Apple Watch. Consider, though: that last thing my son will want to inherit from is an old smartwatch, even an Apple one, which is probably the most interesting one. My current Fitbit Blaze will be an amusing relic in another few months. Even the loveliest smartwatch will have no value within a few years.

An heirloom watch, though, still has value and will be cherished for generations. Even in this age of techophilia. Tech stuff (watches, phones and whatnot) are slaves to Moore’s law and the inevitability of obsolescence. Timelessness doesn’t exist in this space at all.

The emotional connection with a piece of quality craftsmanship, owned by a loved one has a richness not considered by the tech world. We focus so terribly much on “the Next Thing” and lose track of quality, of richer value, of intergenerational connection. Perhaps exempting stock portfolios.

I wonder if tech can ever capture that element of fine living. Will there ever be a smartwatch/phone, what-have-you that will mean more to the next generation than it does to this one?

Somehow I doubt that. I expect, for tech items at least, that obsolescence will remain as fatal as it’s always been.

“Son, here’s my Palm Treo. It was handed down from my grandfather to my father, to me and now to you.”

I truly believe that, eventually (soon?), we’ll recapture of love with our history. Then we’ll again value quality and craftsmanship; these things that embrace what’s truly timeless. And it will be a good thing.